Frequently Asked Questions About Pledging
1. What is a pledge?
A pledge is a promise to donate a certain amount of money to the NSU congregation within our fiscal year (January 1 to December 31).
2. Why pledge and how is my pledge used?
Pledge payments are used for the yearly operation of NSUC. Pledges pay for the programs and work of the congregation, such as our Sunday services, children's program, youth program, adult lifespan learning programs, and music. Pledge income pays for the salaries of the minister and staff and for the operation and maintenance of our facilities.
When members and friends pledge, the congregation can establish a realistic operating budget for the coming year. Those who pledge receive written acknowledgement of contributions to use for their own budgets and tax purposes, and a tax receipt for all funds paid in on the pledge.
3. Do I need to be a member to pledge?
Anyone can make an annual pledge to NSUC, member or not. Those who pledge but do not choose formal membership are known as “friends.”
4. Do I have to pledge to be a member or friend of the congregation?
Everyone is welcome to attend our services, with no financial obligation. However, we believe that financial support is one of the responsibilities of all congregants, if they are able. We strongly encourage you to live your values by making a pledge consistent with your individual circumstances.
In keeping with the guidelines of the Canadian Unitarian Council we ask individuals to pledge 3% of their gross annual income. By way of example, a $1,500 pledge represents 3% of a $50,000 annual gross income.
Generally a “contribution of record” is required to maintain your membership in the congregation. However, if your financial situation precludes you from making a contribution, you may confidentially obtain a waiver. Please speak to the Minister.
5. When should I pledge?
Any time is fine, but the best time to pledge is during the fall canvass. New members can expect a call from a canvasser to discuss their pledging intentions.
6. Will I receive a bill or statement?
It would be most convenient if, when you pledge, you could provide us with up to 12 post-dated cheques. Regardless of how you pay your pledge, you will receive a quarterly statement indicating how much you have pledged for the year and how much of that pledge has been received.
However, if you have paid your pledge in full and have no other contributions during the quarter, no statement will be sent. Calendar year statements are sent out in January for tax purposes.
7. How does the pledge relate to the weekly collection during Sunday services?
Some people fulfill (or even make) their pledge by putting a cheque or cash in the weekly collection plate in an envelope marked “pledge”; or you can write this on the memo line of a cheque. Other funds collected during the services (cheques not marked “pledge” or undesignated cash) are donated in whole or in part to selected beneficent causes and organizations outside NSUC; each month we support a particular organization chosen by our Board of Trustees on recommendation from our Social Responsibility Ministry Team.
Pledges are very important relative to the weekly collection because the commitment you make at the beginning of the congregational year allows us to plan, whereas at least 50% or more of our weekly donations do not support the work of this congregation, but rather good works outside our NSU community.