the shape of leadership

FAQ: How can we create a church benevolence fund?

Doug Clay answers frequently asked questions concerning church business practices.

Doug Clay on May 23, 2017

As a part of its mission to assist the needy, a church may wish to create a benevolence fund to which donors can contribute.

As noted under the discussion of gifts designated to individuals in the church, donors are not permitted to receive charitable contribution credit for amounts given to the church that designate that those gifts be given to a certain individual. Churches may, however, create benevolence funds that donors may contribute to and receive charitable contribution credit.

Still, donors may not in any way (by spoken word or written request) designate that their contribution be used to assist certain individuals. Individuals may make recommendations (apart from contributions) to the church concerning individuals they feel need assistance, and the church can consider these suggestions in proper course.

Individuals who receive assistance from a church benevolence fund (or any other monetary or tangible assistance from a church) should be individuals who could be categorized as “needy” and, therefore, individuals who are legitimate candidates for assistance from the church in line with church’s mission and reason for being.

This article was originally published on and has been adapted with permission. The purpose of this FAQ is to provide basic information regarding church administration. Information contained within is generic in nature and is intended as a guide, not a substitute for seeking professional advice specific to your church or any state laws. If you have explicit concerns, please consult a professional.

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