Rise to the Challenge, The 2019 Pledge Drive

27 February 2019

Rise to the Challenge: The 2019 Pledge Drive
by the Pledge Committee

In the recent “Courageous Opportunities” series of conversations about the relevance of First Unitarian Church and its future, participants named shared values as one of their top reasons for coming to church week after week, year after year. Our shared values are the basis for our community. We come together with compassion for one another, with a commitment to truth, and with respect for the natural world. Our mission is to build a progressive and just world, even as—or perhaps because—the future looks so bleak right now. This we agree on.

We also agree that participation in First Unitarian Church adds meaning to our lives. Because it is important to us, we volunteer time and talent towards the mission of our church. But is it enough? To accommodate the steadily growing number of members—which in itself is a wonderful development—we hired a second minister and are expanding programs. These changes are invigorating. But they are also expensive, and income from pledges has not kept up with the increase in activity and membership. This imbalance presents us with a real challenge. Compared to climate change it seems immaterial, but if we want to slow global warming as part of this community, we have to invest into our church not only with time and talent, but also with treasure. We may not want to pay to maintain our church building, but if we are creating a progressive world from within its walls and we provide sanctuary, we need to have a safe and welcoming facility. As advocates for living wages and affordable health care, we need to start at home and make sure our growing church staff is paid fairly. We need to give money as generously as we can to balance the budget. Hopefully this, too, is something we agree on.

We bring our families here and trust that this beloved community takes care of them. The 2019 pledge drive challenges us to take care of our church and our congregation. Pledging is the intentional, purposeful act of giving generously to empower First Unitarian Church to fulfill its mission and continue as Salt Lake Valley’s beacon light for liberal religion. By combining our financial gifts, we will Rise to the Challenge. Please read on for FAQs.

How does pledging work?
Decide how much money you will contribute to First Unitarian Church during the next church year (July 2019-June 2020). You will pledge the total amount today and pay in one payment or in installments between now and the end of the church year. Many pledgers find monthly payments convenient. For instance, they may pledge $1,200 today and make twelve monthly payments of $100 starting in July. Make your pledge via a pledge card (available on Sundays after both services at the Pledge Table in Eliot Hall) or contact Church Administrator Carol Foster (801.582.8687 ext. 201).

I’m not a member; does this apply to me?
You don’t have to be a member to pledge. If you’re a friend of First Unitarian Church, if the mission speaks to you, if you attend service, if you feel like you belong here—please pledge. You are just as much part of the community. (And if you consider becoming a member, don’t be shy and reach out to Rev. Goldsmith or Rev. Dobbins.)

I’m a member; do I need to pledge?
Did raising that question just make you nod your head involuntarily? There, you have your answer. (No one will erase your name from the book if you don’t pledge. But the expectation of members is to contribute to the financial well-being of the church. Some members are able to pledge more, others less.)

How much should I pledge?
First Unitarian Church values socioeconomic diversity, and we support our church at individual financial levels. Plan to contribute a percentage of your annual income. The UUA Fair Share Contribution Guide suggests that you pledge between 2% and 10% of your adjusted annual income depending on your level of commitment and participation. Giving levels rise with income and capacity. Here is a simplified guide to proportional giving; the complete guide is online at: https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/fair_share_contribution_guide.pdf

contribution guildeline

What about the collection plate?

Collection plate dollars vary from week to week and do not provide a consistent stream of income. We rely on your pledge to draw a realistic budget for the next year and plan all activities accordingly.

What if my financial situation changes over the next year?
Life happens, and First Unitarian Church doesn’t want your pledged contribution to become a hardship. Or perhaps you’ve come into a windfall! Please contact Carol Foster if you need to adjust your pledge.

Who do I contact with questions?
Both ministers are happy to discuss the pledge drive with you, as are the members of the Pledge Committee: Rebecca Heal (Chair), Carol Blackwell, Melanie Steiner-Sherwood, and Henry Whiteside. If you have logistical question, please contact Carol Foster.