More and more congregations are sharing all or a portion of their cash or non-pledge offering received, weekly or monthly. The offering is then given by the congregation to a cause or organization with a mission that aligns with their faith principles and values. Many congregation leaders report that giving overall has increased, with thousands of dollars contributed to do good works in the wider community.
I have created a short poll for you to indicate your congregation’s decisions and practices around sharing offering plate contributions. I invite you to go respond to the poll question using the online poll below.
The responses will be visible in a graph and I will share what I learn in a future blog post. In the meantime, I am interested in any stories of how sharing in this way enhances the culture of generosity in a congregation
There is still time to respond to the “sharing the offering plate” poll on the Giving Speaks blog, if you haven’t already. There are many congregation leaders interested in what the overall giving trends were in your congregations before, during and after the economic recession. Did overall congregational giving go up? Down? Stay the same?
Thank you for your interest and participation!
For more information about sharing offering plate contributions, go to:
We’ve been giving away 50% of every collection plate for two years. It has been an unqualified success.
It’s very clear that when people are given an opportunity to be generous, they respond. Each month’s selected recipient is described by the minister at every service, with careful attention to why the mission of the selected organization is viewed as an extension of our own ministry. The 50% of the collection which is retained by the church is always greater than the 100% we collected before the program was instituted. But, more importantly, everyone is proud of the church, and we are making a real difference for these selected organizations. It is a genuine win/win.
Ours is a lay-led fellowship that only meets 10 times per year. We generally give two of our ten collections to causes selected by the executive committee. This year, since we were financially healthy, we were able to donate three service collections (to aid victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, for a UU church-building project in Burundi, and for Japan relief). Interestingly, our three highest collections of the year were the three we announced would be given away!
– Jennifer Flanigan
Treasurer, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris
At our church we found members were very interested in knowing that our plate was going to a good cause and made them feel good that we were reaching out to those in need. For example, we have been contributing 50% of our plate for UUA Tornado Relief. Our total plate has increased since we started doing this several years ago.
sharing the plate is an unfortunate development – people come to UU churches to share in a religion not in a foundation that disburses money in vague ways according to the fad of the moment – I give money to my church to support our religion – God knows it is fragile enough – I give other money to charities I feel a connection to – I don’t need others in my congregation to help me/tell me to what charity I should direct my money – do we have the death wish or what? – for a not for profit to give to another not for profit in our context does not make any sense – Kathleen Hunter
Kathleen, in most cases the funds donated by share the plate do not diminish the church income. I think that is one of your two points. The other seems to be our churches should not be in the business of helping others outside our walls? If so, you might consider a brush-up course on religion. As with all things that happen inside our walls, it is voluntary, so you may exercise your right not to participate, I question that as a spiritual path.