This year was my 2nd tithing settlement as Executive Secretary in our ward, and I was bound and determined to make this year's tithing settlement better than last year's mess. I felt like we had an incredibly successful tithing settlement this year, and wanted to share some of the things we did that contributed to that success. I hope it helps any new Exec Secs in the future.
- We started tithing settlement on the FIRST sunday possible.
- My bishop told me he could do 10 minute appointments. Knowing my bishop, I scheduled 15 minute appointments, and he ran on time!
- We did NOT post sign ups. I created a schedule based on the following principles:
a) recent converts, people with mobility problems, people who rely on others for transportation, and other special considerations got the "prime" slots right after church (12:15 - 1:30)
b) singles, older couples, and people without small children got the time slots from 1:30 - 2:30. They don't mind hanging around in the foyer or in their car after church. Since we live 30 min from our building, it doesn't make sense to ask people to go and come back within this window of time.
c) all other families from about 2:30 - 5:30.
d) Not posting a list avoided the 'mad dash' for the list each week to get the 12:15 time slot. What I found last year was that people would look to see that first hour filled up, and then wait for the next list. People had little consideration for others when it comes to a sign up, including the Bishop, often scheduled large gaps. This went on until the last week of Tithing Settlement which would overflow with everyone who had procrastinated. Setting up appointments put everyone in the *right* place and decreased frustration overall because I didn't need to bump people to let other people go in front of them.
- I contacted each family in the ward and set up the time I had scheduled. If they could not come at that time, I immediately pinned them down on the next week. I did not shceudle more than 2 weeks out on my private schedule, though I had all of the member's appointments 'penciled' in for the duration of tithing settlement. Our sacrament meeting attendance is about 230, so it's not a tiny ward, either, but this made all the difference.
- I mailed or emailed them a reminder about their appointment during the week which included their donations summary to review BEFORE this tithing settlement.
- I knew (from last year) which members in our ward were sensitive to the timing of their declaration, and scheduled accordingly. I've found that some members really want to pay all their tithing before they declare, while others know they can declare tithing before paying all of their tithing.
Following this methodology, we were able to get all our TS for members who had contributed done by the 2nd week in December. This left valuable time for us with our families around the holidays, as well as gave us more opportunity to reach out to less actives and non-contributors who balk at at "tithing settlement" interview (why would you want to meet with me when I don't pay any tithing to your church), but who don't mind a year-end chat with the Bishop. Along these lines, though the training states that a tithing settlement appointment should be made with every family, I'd really discourage Exec Secs and Bishops from cold calling less-active members (especially ones they don't know well) to schedule a "Tithing Settlement" interview. Likely, this is the only contact from the church they've had in the year, and if it's perceived to be a year-end shakedown for money, it will be a negative experience for both of you. Focusing our efforts for "Tithing Settlement" on those who have contributed throughout the year, then leaves the extra time for reaching out to less actives to make sure they had what they needed for the holiday season and inviting them to Sunday services during the month of December.