Tithing paid through United Way

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sparksjessed
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Tithing paid through United Way

Postby sparksjessed » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:24 pm

There is a member in my unit who wishes to route their tithing payments through the United Way. The situation is the member's employer will match 50% of whatever they donate to the United Way.

So the member will donate money to the United Way, and the United Way will then send that money on to the Church.

My questions are:
  1. The member needs the Church's 501(c)(3) number to pass on to the United Way.
  2. Should United Way forward the tithing payments on to the local ward address or to some other address?
Thanks!

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:56 pm

You should probably take this up directly with the church's finance department and/or tax department. I don't have a direct number, but you could always start with 801-240-1000.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:59 pm

Ok, see this post for the tax administration contact info and this one for more on 501(c)(3).

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mlh78
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Postby mlh78 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:19 pm

I tried to count the number of ways this is going to cause problems, but ran out of fingers.

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:43 pm

What mlh78 said. I don't understand how this is supposed to work. If it's a donation to the United Way then why would the United Way turn around and give it to the church? Furthermore, the "paper trail" wouldn't show the ward member as a tithing donor but only as someone who donated to the United Way. Plus, this makes it sound like the employer is being tricked into donating to the church when they really only offered to donate to the United Way. I wouldn't expect the church to be happy about being a part of this deception.

allenjpl
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Postby allenjpl » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:15 pm

It seems like the donor only wants to give to UW so that his employer will match the donation. Then, after the employer has matched, he wants to take his donation back and give it to the Church, leaving UW with the employer's donation. It sounds suspiciously like defrauding his employer. Also, as this forum has mentioned many times, if you can control your donation after you've made the donation, it isn't a true charitable donation.

This is such a bad idea.

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:41 pm

The United Way will allow a donor to specify a recipient. In this case, it appears that the member would like to designate the Church. After the UW gives money to the specified donors, it gives the rest of the unspecified donations to the other agencies based on a schedule of its own design. (A common misconception is that giving a specified donation keeps other agencies from receiving funds, but this is not true. The unspecified agencies just get more of the unspecified funds to make up for it.)

So the donation, in and of itself, is legit.

As for the practical matter, my company knows what a normal donation is, and they would not match more than about one of my tithing payments if I were to try and do this.

And as for another practical matter, the United Way intends to benefit local agencies. Paying tithing through the United Way, whether the member gives the local bishop's address (which could change) or the Salt Lake Address, either way tithing money does not stay local. (Yes, I know, technically some comes back through budget allocation.)

A number of years ago, our local United Way stopped allowing designation of contributions. There were too many of these types of contributions to make it worth the effort.

But to answer the question, Church headquarters can provide the number and the address. That way they will also provide the receipts and accounting and the local bishop will not have to deal with all of that after the contribution is made.

greggo
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Postby greggo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:40 am

mrrad wrote:... Furthermore, the "paper trail" wouldn't show the ward member as a tithing donor but only as someone who donated to the United Way...


This reminds me of a story about a bishop noticing during tithing settlement that a member's tithing contribution was suspiciously low. When asked if it represented 10% of his income, the member responded that it was only a portion of the 10% he donated. The rest he donated to a different charitable organization. The bishop's response was, "you're being very generous with the Lord's funds."

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:20 am

Okay, I'm being a little slow-witted here but let me just understand the original premise. Let's say the ward member wants to pay $100 tithing. They give that to the United Way and the United Way passes it directly to the church in that donor's name. Then the employer "matches" $50 as a donation to the United Way. The United Way is okay with the arrangement because, at least, they get to keep $50. And I'm led to believe that, somehow, there is paperwork to show that the donor gave $100 in tithing to the church. (Did I understand it correctly this time?)

But there's still a major problem. The employer's participation seems to be based on his understanding that the United Way would keep all of the $150. If the employer is not fully informed about what's going on then I can't endorse this plan.

jhashton
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Postby jhashton » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:34 pm

My company does this same thing. The company is not being tricked or deceived in any way. They are simply encouraging their employees to be charitable and donate to any non-profit/charitable organization of their own choice. In fact, the lady in charge of the campaign specifically said that some people use this to pay their tithing or donations to their church (yes, she specifically said "tithing", and this is California, not Utah).

The company will only match if you do it through United Way because United Way will verify to them that it is a non-profit/charitable organization. The company then puts their match to a general United Way Fund trusting that United Way will spread it to a number of non-profits based on specific community needs. United Way will pass on 100% of your donation to the organization you request because in return they get the match from the company.

The only question is whether the LDS Church is OK with this method. I don't see why not...I just searched through the database of organizations and I see several specific wards listed throughout the country (of where other donors have given), so the best would probably be to direct it to the ward rather than the Church in general...but this last part is just my opinion.


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