Setting a minimum pledge the wrong approach

Q. At our congregation we are working at establishing a minimum annual financial commitment policy for a voting member. I am wondering what other UU congregations have been doing in that regard?

A. Asking friends and members for just a minimum contribution is not a good idea, says Dr. Wayne Clark, the UUA’s Director of Congregational Stewardship Services. “Having a minimum financial commitment tends to lower the bar for congregants who might be able and willing to make larger commitments. It can lead them to expect that their congregation won’t ask much of them in any area. If you ask little of people, that’s usually what they will give. It’s often much less than what they would give if they’d been asked differently.”

Clark recommends giving people the UUA’s Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide as soon as they join or become involved on a regular basis. “That lets them create their own definition of a fair share gift by placing themselves on the guide,” he said. “Then it’s the congregant who defines fair share, not the minister or other leader.”