Why Should We Support the Region and the UUA?
In 2012, the UUA and the Southern Region embarked on a new course to improve how we share our resources. GIFT, Generously Investing For Tomorrow, is intended to be a simpler and more equitable program for providing the resources that enable our UUA and Southern Region team to serve our congregations and to represent our values and priorities at levels we could not do as individual congregations.
To provide information and to encourage reflection on GIFT, the Southern Region has provided a number of GIFT information tools on its web site, including most recently a set of GIFT FAQs. This blog will, from time to time, focus on one of those FAQs in an expanded discussion. Today we are examining this question:
Q: How are the expenditures calculated against which the 7% gifts are applied? Is this applied to the entire congregational budget?
A: This is a topic that comes up often, and it’s an important one. Try as the UUA has to keep things simple and clear, developing a formula to fit us all is a complex task, and so its not surprising that there is some confusion from time to time as to what the formula means. Let’s break it down.
First and foremost, the 7% calculation is not based on the entire budget of a congregation, but on those elements common to just about all congregations. The number to which the 7% is applied is know as The Certified Operating Expenditures, as reported by each congregation every year – we tell the UUA what that number is, using terms and definitions established by the UUA in accordance with standard accounting procedures and terminology.
Certified Operating Expenses common to all congregations are included in the calculation base. Congregations begin with their Operating Expenses, which may include:
- Personnel expenses (salaries, amounts paid to contract employees, wages, housing allowances for ordained ministers)
- Benefits (medical, dental, disability, life insurance, pension, employer retirement savings contributions, employer portion of Social Security and Medicare)
- Mortgage interest expense
- Utilities (electric, gas, telephone, internet, water/sewer, municipal waste fees, heating oil)
- Other costs of operating and maintaining the property (ongoing non-capital expenses such as lawn maintenance, annual contributions to major maintenance or restoration fund, repair of normal wear and tear)
- Program expenses (religious education supplies and materials, social action programming)
- Fundraising and administration expenses
From these expenses, the following are then DEDUCTED:
- Contributions to GIFT program
- Prior Year Total Capital Expenditures (which varies, but could include mortgage principle or other capital expenditures not related to regular maintenance)
A full definition and a calculation tool may be found on the UUA web site at http://www.uua.org/giving/apf/apf-gift-resources/operating-expenditures-calculator
Here you will find definitions, exceptions, and a point of contact for related questions.
The whole process is based upon a system of mutual trust, starting with our certified expenditures we send to the UUA. No one asks for proof of records: This is a mutual relationship, with trust flowing both ways. If you have a question about how to figure out your calculations that the link above does not answer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss it.
- Contact your Southern Region Primary Contact (if you do not know who serves as your Primary Contact, identify them at http://www.uuasouthernregion.org/staff/primarycontact.html
- Contact the UUA Congregational Giving Director, Rev. Vail Weller at email@example.com
- Utilize the dedicated GIFT inquiry email address at firstname.lastname@example.org