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Why I Give
Looking Ahead to Being Together Again
What a year this has been! One year ago, we were preparing for our Mission Fund Drive and the year ahead. Plans were made for BBQs, coffee hours, events and worship all in person on our beautiful campus. Then, in the middle of our campaign, we closed the buildings to keep our beloved community safe. We quickly transitioned online and continuing to find ways to connect via Zoom, phone calls, and even some small, outdoor in-person events (with masks and social distancing!).
This year, we have come together in a new way, strengthening many relationships and building new ones. We love the daily check-ins led by members and the small coffee-hour rooms with a different group each Sunday. East Shore came together in large numbers for the flash stances following the death of George Floyd, and made efforts to call and send postcards to each and every member. Thanks to East Shore members and friends, more than 20,000 voters in battleground states were reminded of the democratic process and encouraged to vote in the presidential election and Georgia Senate run-off election. We surpassed a new record in collections to the auction Fund-A-Need and were able to start up our COVID Food Relief Project with a bang. East Shore has shown each of us and the world that we are a strong, beloved community.
Now, looking forward, we can’t help but think of HOW we will transition to this new way of being in community. As more and more of us are able to get vaccinated and buildings are allowed to open, we can’t help but get excited for the idea of East Shore once again opening its doors. While we may not be able to know when we will be back, we can plan for how it will look like and what we will need. What would it look like to have hybrid meetings with some members in person, while others can call in from home or away? This idea would increase accessibility to groups and classes, allowing more members, visitors, and friends to participate. Members would no longer need to skip services when out of town, if they are ill, or just don’t want to get out of their cozy pajamas. What does returning to campus look like? We want to make sure the building can be safe, with clean surfaces and new procedures to help keep our beloved community healthy for years to come. We want YOU to be healthy and feel welcomed for years to come.
These changes will help East Shore continue to grow both in numbers and in love. Increasing accessibility, inclusivity, and visibility will take us into the future. As you think about your pledge this year, we hope you will think about what YOU want for the future of East Shore and that you are inspired to give generously. We want to encourage you to sign up for automatic withdrawal and to consider becoming a Sustainable Member. Each year, your donations will increase by a percent you choose, to help keep up with increase in costs. East Shore is stronger now in new ways and will continue to grow stronger in the future.
With love for our beloved East Shore community,
John Chmaj & Barb Clagett
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What Should I Give?
As members, we have a shared responsibility for the financial support of our church. Your pledge is a personal choice you must decide based on your current life and financial circumstances. For many, a pledge of 5% can be easily reached or surpassed. For others, such a goal may be difficult. If so, please consider making an initial pledge of 2% or 3% and increasing it, as your circumstances permit. If you can afford to pledge more, you will help others who are unable to do so. Use the following chart of monthly payments to help choose the amount right for you:
When you model generosity, you light a path for others to follow. By matching your values with your dollars, you benefit yourself as well as others because your actions match your aspirations. Giving feels good, and generous giving feels even better! ESUC needs and appreciates your generous giving. If you have any questions or concerns, or need a waiver from pledging, please talk to our Director of Membership Development, Nicole Duff.
Sustainable Giving helps East Shore sustain church operations for the foreseeable future. As our operating costs increase, Sustainable Giving has an option for annual percentage increases in giving. A small increase can make a huge difference in our five to ten year financial plan. We are asking everyone who is comfortable with sustained giving to become a Sustainable Giver starting this year.
You simply pledge as normal, and indicate you’d like to become a Sustainable Giver and how much you’d like your pledge to increase in subsequent years. For example, if you are giving $200 a month and sign up for a 5% increase, the following year you would give $210 a month.
Questions? Talk Director of Membership Development, Nicole Duff.
How Can I Pay My Pledge?
There are many pledge payment options: Automatic Bank Withdrawal (ACH), Bill Pay, Credit Card, Check, Cash and others. However you choose to pay, we very much value your contribution!
- For cost efficiency, we urge every member to sign up for monthly Automatic Bank Withdrawals. Payments will be made effortlessly until you decide to change or stop them. The easiest way to set up an automatic bank withdrawal is to attach a voided check to your updated pledge form.
- Other payment methods are much less efficient or cost the church money. Credit cards charge 2-4% fees.
- Weekly or monthly cash or checks require significant manual bookkeeping effort.
Special Methods to Consider
The new tax law makes it more likely people will benefit from taking a now higher standard deduction on their tax return. There are a few ways you may be able to maximize the impact of your giving, and your deduction! Please consult your tax advisor first before using these methods.
- Donor Advised Funds (DAF) – Donors make a bulk donation to their account (and benefit from high itemized deductions), and distribute the money to non-profit organizations over several years.
- Payroll Deductions and Employer Matching Gifts: Some members have opted to utilize incentive programs at their place of employment to fulfill their pledge. If your employer excludes religious organizations, you may be able to utilize a third-party workplace giving application such as Benevity.
- IRA Distributions – If you are receiving income from an Individual Retirement Account, you may be able to use pre-tax IRA distributions to pay East Shore, saving you taxes on that portion of your income.
If you have questions on any of these types of methods, please reach out to Director of Membership Development, Nicole Duff and she can put you in contact with a member already doing this!
However you choose to pay, we very much value your contribution! Please contact Vanessa, East Shore’s Bookkeeper for any issues related to your payments.