Annual Giving: Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pledge?
A pledge is a financial commitment to give a certain amount for the upcoming year, in this case 2021. You decide how much to give. It is a personal decision. All pledges are confidential.
What is the Annual Giving Campaign?
Our Annual Giving Campaign, September 13 - October 15, is a designated time to make your personal financial gift for the upcoming year. All gifts are welcome, in any amount, and may be made either weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Pledges represent over 80% of St. Thomas’ annual income.
Why so early?
Why so early? The Finance Committee and Vestry begin to prepare the budget for next year in mid-November. After receiving budget requests from ministry leaders, anticipating future expenses, and looking at available income from pledged gifts, decisions are made on how much to allocate and where it is most needed. Some ministries receive more than others. There are always tough decisions to make. By making a commitment in advance, you are making this process easier and the budget more accurate.
Why is my pledge important?
Pledging -- as opposed to plate giving -- allows the Vestry and Finance Committee to better prepare the church’s budget for the next year. Pledging provides a more predictable, projected income for the coming year by serving as a guideline on what monetary amounts can be spent on worship, music, and our many ministries, programs and events. This includes recurring expenses such as personnel, insurance, building maintenance and utilities.
How do I make my pledge?
Please return your completed pledge card in the offering plate by October 15, or mail to church c/o Christi McFadden, St. Thomas’ Financial Secretary. You can also email your name, telephone number and pledge amount to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much should I pledge?
The amount you pledge is strictly up to you. It is a personal decision. All gifts are confidential, and we are very thankful for each pledge we receive. Many have asked for guidelines to aid in their discernment about how much to give. The Episcopal Church encourages proportionate giving. If interested, an information sheet is in our pledge packets.
What if my financial situation changes?
You can change your pledge at any time during the year by contacting the Church Treasurer.
Is the money I give used wisely?
Our Finance Committee works diligently to prioritize the needs of the church in accordance with the pledges received. Every budget expenditure is supported and approved by the Vestry. We work conscientiously to balance our budget, care for our buildings, support our ministries and plan strategically for the future within the annual budget. Our financial records are audited annually and are always open to scrutiny.
Can I prepay my pledge in this year for tax or other reasons but have it applied toward the next year 2021?
Yes, but please submit a note with your donation, directing us to apply it toward the 2021 budget.
Does the amount of my pledge or donation affect my standing at St. Thomas’?
No. St. Thomas’ is an open and affirming church, and neither membership nor opportunities to serve are conditioned upon your pledging any certain amount or at all.
What is the deadline for submitting my pledge card?
Our pledge campaign ends on Thursday, October 15. You may pledge sooner if you wish, but we ask that you submit pledge cards before December 1, 2020, at the latest. This will allow our Finance Committee and Vestry to finalize the 2021 budget prior to the end of the current year.
How do I pay or fulfill my pledge?
You can make periodic payments or pay a lump sum for the year.
Pay in person: Pledge payments may be placed in the Sunday offering plate. Make checks payable to “St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church” and be sure to write “pledge” in the memo space. Cash payments should be submitted inside an envelope that includes your name and specifies the purpose of the payment (“2021 pledge”).
Pay by mail: Be sure to make checks payable to “St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church” and write “2021 pledge” in the memo space. Do not send cash payments by mail. Pledge payments may be mailed to the following address:
St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church
c/o Treasurer’s Office
3602 Hawthorne Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
Pay by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): Automated withdrawal is easy to set up, and convenient for you and the church. Please contact our financial secretary at email@example.com.
Pay by PayPal: Payments may also be made online using the "Donate" button below. Be sure to put “pledge” in the notes when making online payments. If you use this payment option, please consider increasing your payment amount to cover any credit card and processing fees that are incurred by the church for each transaction.
Pay with Stock or RMD (required minimum distribution): If you wish to make a pledge payment with a donation of securities, please contact our financial secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.