In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, the members of a church own the building and everything in it and are responsible for providing financial support for all the operations and programs of the congregation.
So how do we—as an All Souls generation early in the 21st century—use our resources in a way that honors our 190-year old past and secures our future?
Every fall, our Annual Generosity Campaign calls us to commit our personal resources to the ongoing work of this church:
- Sunday worship—music, sermons, and education that stirs and nourishes our souls;
- social justice programs such as voting rights work in North Carolina, raising awareness of the implications of climate change, helping re-build the Lower 9th in New Orleans, and fair housing and immigrant rights in our own city;
- welcoming the congregation and community into our beautiful renovated building;
- employing a chief program officer to align our programs with our mission;
- staff that enables the work of the church, and the maintenance of our church home.
Our annual budget also includes support of the national and regional (Joseph Priestley District) UU offices, which provide important vision and programmatic and administrative support to all member churches.
All told, our annual budget is $1.5 million, of which 78% comes from our pledges.
While we can’t all pledge the same amount, we can ALL pledge SOMETHING to the church that nurtures and sustains us.
How much does All Souls mean to you?If you’re new to pledging or earn less than $10,000/year, why not start with 2%–3% of your income? As your commitment to the church grows, so can your pledge. Tithing, familiar to those from more traditional church backgrounds, calls for a full 10%. It is obviously your decision to make, but we hope you will live out your spiritual principles by giving generously. Feel free to use the following Fair Share Guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a gift and a pledge?
Our financial gifts to All Souls make up the vast majority of the church’s annual revenue. Without our support, the church can’t function.
A pledge is simply a promise to make a gift; it is not the gift itself.
The reason the church uses pledges is that they make it possible to plan next year’s budget. If we only gave gifts but didn’t pledge, the church couldn’t plan for the year ahead.
Pledges can be amended! If your circumstances change, simply contact Gary Penn (email@example.com; 202.517.1465), who can adjust your record.
How do I pledge?
You can pledge online here.
You can fill out a paper pledge form, which is found in the Annual Giving brochures. You’ll find those brochures in the pews, at the Generosity Table on Sundays, and at the front desk.
When should I pledge?
Now!! Seriously, go do it. We’ll wait.
Here’s the link: www.all-souls.org/generosity/2019-pledge-form.
Can I confirm that my pledge has been submitted?
After submitting the online form, you should receive an automatic email sharing thanks from the Generosity Team and confirming that your pledge was received.
If you need additional confirmation of pledging or amounts, please contact Gary Penn (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.517.1465).
How can I make gifts to fulfill my pledge?
You can make gifts throughout the year: quarterly, monthly, weekly, or all at once. It’s up to you. The church sends quarterly statements to let you know how much progress you’ve made towards fulfilling your pledge.
Gifts you put in the plate count towards your pledge only if you mark them, by making a note on a check or putting cash in a blue pew envelope with your name on it.
You can set up automatic bill pay through your own bank’s online system. The only information you need is the church’s name (All Souls Church Unitarian) and address (1500 Harvard St NW, Washington DC 20009). The church pays no fees on automatic payments from your bank (a great help, as the church currently pays about $25,000 in credit card processing fees each year).
You can set up automatic payments using a credit card or bank account number through the church’s database system. The church does pay fees on these automatic payments (and is very happy to do so if this is the most convenient payment method for you).
How can I learn more specifics about the All Souls budget?
Creating the budget is a months-long process that concludes in December. There is a congregation-wide information session typically scheduled in in mid-November.
What is the Third Century Campaign (TCC) and how is it different from Annual Giving?
The TCC was the way our church financed a large part of our recent renovations. Through the extraordinary generosity of our members and friends, we have this beautiful and fully-functioning facility! Many of us continue to fulfill our TCC pledges to complete the renovation loan, and the five-year window on most pledges closes in the next year.
Annual pledging and gifts are different because they support the day-to-day work of the church. Approximately 65% of the church’s annual revenue comes from donations, supporting our ministries, music program, social justice work, and much more.
Do existing recurring gifts continue into 2019 or will they need to be renewed?
If you set up automatic payments through your bank, they will probably continue into 2019. Please confirm with your financial institution.
But regardless, you do need to make a new pledge for 2019 so the church knows what your intention is.
Fair Share Guidelines
Download All Souls' Gift Acceptance Policy.
Download All Souls' Stock Donation Form.