XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, review form, applications and policies. Below is the 2012 Benevolence Policy and form from Southbridge Church.
Southbridge leadership desired to create a budget/fund for benevolent opportunities presented to our church after learning about needs in our church family and community. Southbridge recognizes that providing aid to relieve human suffering, whether caused by a natural or civil disaster or emergency hardship, is charity in its most basic form, and is a continuance of the mission of connecting people to Jesus for life change.
This designated fund will be run as a part of the general church budget and will be funded annually by the general budget funds. The administration of the fund, including all disbursements, is subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Shepherding Pastor, and persons called upon by the Shepherding Pastor aiding in making such decisions.
The purpose of the Benevolence Account is to minister to the financial, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the individuals and families that are victims of disasters or other emergency hardship situations. Emergency hardships may be caused by illness, accident, death, violent crime or other personal events.
Individuals and/or families of Southbridge Fellowship Church, our community, or any member or group of our society that the church congregation and church leadership (elders and pastors) desires to assist may receive aid from this account.
Funding for aid to be provided can come from individuals designating gifts to the church, restricted to the fund, and will be recognized as charitable contributions. Such gifts will be acknowledged collectively, annually, with other gifts to the church under IRS guidelines. Documentation of gifts will be maintained under the same methods as other contributions to the church.
If the Shepherding Pastor, Elders or Pastoral Staff collectively elects to provide aid to an individual or family under the established criteria and announces that in a public forum, funds oftentimes will be contributed to the church designated to that person/family, although the intention is to contribute to the fund and not to the individual. In this situation, the church will treat these donations as contributions to the fund, subject to all of the rules, authority and criteria established for the fund. An individual or family does not, nor will they ever, have a right to these funds, especially if the amount contributed or available exceeds the demonstrated need for assistance. If, at any time, the church becomes aware of a donor’s desire to control the use of disbursement of his contribution to the recipient, then the dontation will be treated as a gift for a specific individual under the rules established for such.
Full authority and control over all aspects of the benevolence application process, ministry and fund resides within the church.
Assistance can be in the form of funds, or services or goods paid for by the fund. The type of aid provided will be dependent upon the individual’s needs and resources. Length of time of assistance provided will also be dependent upon the individual’s needs and resources. Aid will be disbursed by the Shepherding Pastor or a church representative (administrative assistant), under criteria established by the Shepherding Pastor as approved by pastoral leadership. Authority and all decisions related to the ultimate use of the funds rests with the organization, not the donor.
Generally, a specific assessment of the recipient of the aid must be made to demonstrate financial or other need. The Shepherding Pastor has established criteria to apply consistently to evaluate request for aid. The Benevolence Request Form, as personally filled out by the person(s) in need, is one such example of criteria. Funds will not be distributed merely because individuals have experienced hardship or disaster, or simply because those individuals have filled out the Request Form. Aid must be granted only after an objective evaluation is complete. The scope of the assessment may vary, depending upon the circumstances of the disaster/emergency and the timeliness of the aid to be provided. An individual or family does not have to be made whole by the fund, even if funds exist to do so.
Those who receive assistance, in accordance with the above, in meeting personal needs are not subject to federal income tax on the value of the assistance. The church is not limited by the gift tax rules.
Gifts for Individuals
Gifts for specific individuals, received by/or given through the church, will be passed on to the individual recipient and will not be recognized by the church as a charitable contribution or an expense. Likewise, the gifts will not be included in annual acknowledgments of church contributions. Gift pass-throughs will only be permitted for individuals and families that meet criteria of need established by the Shepherding Pastor, and where anonymity is of utmost importance to the donor. Gifts that are in excess of the annual gift tax exclusion ($13,000 for 2012) will be subject to the federal gift tax rules. However, gift taxes are not the responsibility of the church. The church will notify both the donor and the recipient of potential tax consequences when a gift is passed through that meets the annual exclusion amount. Documentation of the gift, the needs of the recipients, the pass through and any correspondence related to potential gift tax must be maintained.
The assessment of aid must be maintained and documentation should include:
- Description of the aid to be provided
- Purpose for which it is given
- Objective criteria for disbursing assistance
- How the recipient was selected
- Name, address of recipient
- Amount of aid provided
- Any relationship between the recipient and the elders, pastoral staff, etc.
The documentation needs to correlate to the amount of length/time aid is to be provided.
Also, view Southbridge Church’s Benevolence Form in PDF: Benevolence Form