If you haven’t read the first part in this two part series please read it here first.
Do a little fact finding – A scenario may be a person asking the church to help them pay a bill like utilities, phone, or gas. It’s appropriate to call a company’s billing department and let them know who you are and your helping this person pay their bill. Majority of the time companies are more than happy to give the bill’s balance because they just want to get paid and they don’t care by who.
Once you know the bill’s balance, who should you give the money too? When possible, it is best for the church to pay the bill for the person instead of giving the benevolence seeker the cash. Is this an inconvenience for the church? Yes, however the church knows that it will go to where it is intended. This methods assures there’s is no mishandling of the money from the benevolence seeker is. This accountability is especially important when it is a large sum of money.
Developing ties with community businesses may be important to develop like gas stations and grocery stores. Why? If someone is passing through you can call ahead and advise the store to put the person’s purchase on the church’s tab (up to a certain limit). This process would keep you from making the trip to the store. Then you can pay the store over the phone or have a monthly bill sent to you. Some businesses will hold your debit card on file for purchases in the future. Keep in mind that cards expire and you may have to update it every so often with the business.
Documentation is a must when administering these funds for a Benevolence Ministry. You want to be held above reproach when it comes to documentation and those who are helped with the monies. This protects you from any type of questioning from others and builds a trust relationship.
Auditing is another strongly recommended suggestion. You should have a non-family person that reviews the records on an annual basis. The person should be someone that understand accounting, contributions, and various GAAP procedures and understands which compliant software to use for non-profits. Some example are a banker, CPA, investment firm, etc.
A Benevolence Ministry Committee or a group of confidants to bounce ideas off of is an added bonus. Sometimes the person in charge may need to ask the question – should we help this person? It’s always wise to seek council when needed. By having more eyes and ears on the case, it helps the person administering the money and keeps everything legit. Additionally, everyone has different backgrounds and they can chime in on the level of generosity.
image credit bobrusk