Ward missionary funds
Ward Missionary Funds are used primarily for supporting full-time single missionaries serving from a local unit (there is an exception for missionary couples in need)..
In many countries the Church has equalized the contribution required for serving missionaries. Where this is the case, every month the equalized contribution is deducted from the ward missionary fund of the full-time missionary's home unit. Ward missionary funds may not be used in any way for the direct support of missionaries who are supported through equalized contributions.
The equalized contribution does not apply to full-time missionary couples, non-proselyting missionaries or Church service missionaries.
On the missionary application, the missionary is required to declare the source of funds for the mission (self, family, others, or a combination). However, there is no direct link between the donations any of these people may make and the funds used to actually support the missionary. Regardless of the amount of the donations, the equalized amount will be deducted from the ward missionary account, and the missionary will receive funds through the mission office.
It is important for donors to understand that any missionary funds they supply are purely donations. As with any other donations, once the money is given to the Church, it is not refundable under any circumstances. Donors may also not direct what happens with any donated funds. If the mission ends prematurely for any reason, any donations made to that point, even if they may amount to the full 18-24 months of support for the missionary, may not be returned to the donors.
Tracking missionary funds in MLS
Although there is no direct link between the donations and expenses associated with a particular missionary, it is generally helpful to track the donations and expenses per missionary to help the family and the bishop to stay aware of the progress in meeting the funding commitment made in the mission application.
To do this in MLS:
- The Missionary Department will set up a subcategory of the Ward Missionary account for each missionary
- Record donations and expenses in the appropriate subcategory
- Just before the end of year when the missionary returns, zero out the subcategory by transferring funds to or from the parent Ward Missionary category
- At the first of the next year, inactivate the subcategory
Remitting surplus missionary funds
The funds in the Ward Missionary account may accumulate through donations and interest added on the Unit Financial Statement. It is suggested that a unit only have 2 - 3 months of payment surplus in the Ward Missionary fund for each missionary in the field. When reviewing Ward Missionary funds for surplus make sure that funds donated in advance for a missionary are not sent in as surplus funds.
After reviewing the Ward Missionary funds, if you have more money than is needed to fund your current ward missionaries, please remit the surplus to the stake.
To do this:
- write a check from the Ward Missionary account making the stake the payee.
The stake will then deposit this money as a donation into their Ward Missionary account. The stake will review the needs of the units in the stake and determine the amount of funds to hold in the stake's Ward Missionary account. Money held in the stake's Ward Missionary account can be used to help other units in the stake in need of additional funds to support their missionaries.
To do this:
- write a check from the stake's Ward Missionary account making the ward/branch that funds are being sent to the payee. The unit will then deposit this money as a donation into their Ward Missionary account.
Once the stake has reviewed the needs of each unit they should remit any remaining funds as surplus to Church Headquarters. Do not simply deposit the funds in General Missionary; Church Headquarters treats surplus ward missionary funds and general missionary funds differently, so you should follow the instructions for sending the surplus funds to CHQ.
To do this:
- write a check from the stake's Ward Missionary account payable to Corporation of the President; indicate the purpose is Surplus Ward Missionary
- mail to Church headquarters:
- Disbursing Office
- 50 East North Temple Street Rm. 1521
- Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3612
Transferring missionary funding to another ward
When the family of a currently serving missionary moves to a different ward or branch, financial responsibility for the missionary is not automatically transferred to the new ward.
The bishops of the wards involved need to talk over the transfer of financial responsibility. Note that the bishop of the former ward cannot transfer financial responsibility for the missionary's support to the new ward unless the bishop of the new ward agrees and willingly accepts responsibility for the support. Once they have agreed on the transfer of support and the timing, either one of the bishops or their designated representative who knows the necessary details should contact the Church to make the arrangements.
To transfer financial responsibility:
- The Missionary Department will need the new contact information for the missionary's parents so they can keep their records up to date. Call the Missionary Department (801-240-2222 or 800-453-3860 x22222) and they will update the unit and address for the missionary. They will also create a Ward Missionary subcategory for the missionary in the new ward's MLS.
- Contact Local Unit Support about the transfer of financial responsibility through a phone call (the Missionary Department can transfer the phone call for you) or an MLS message and provide the following information:
- Full name of the missionary
- Unit number and name of the new unit
- Effective date of the change (may be a past date)
- Indication that the two bishops have agreed upon the change
Support for missionary couples in need
Missionaries who provide their own support (full-time missionary couples, sisters age 40 and older who are not in proselyting or mission office assignments, and Church-service missionaries) may not contribute to the ward missionary fund for their own use.
However, the ward missionary fund may be used to assist such missionaries financially if funds are available, the missionary and his/her/their family do not have adequate means to provide support, and the ward is in a country that participates in the equalized contribution program.
The monthly disbursements to the couple from the ward should not exceed the allowed amount specified for that mission (consult the chart of costs per mission). So if the estimated monthly cost for the couple's mission was going to be $1700.00, then the ward or branch should cut them a check for no more than that amount per month, and only if they need the funds as stated in the handbook.