Is the Fair Share Giving Guide Fair for Fixed Income Retirees?
In Beyond Fundraising, Wayne Clark introduced a revised Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide. (SFSGG). The guide is an adaptation and expansion of a model used at the Henry David Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Stafford, TX.
In my consultations with congregations, I often hear that the SFSGG is unfair to congregants who are retired and living on a fixed income. My response is that it’s pretty normal for these fixed income congregants to be among the highest annual donors.
Congregants have two pockets to give from: annual income and secured assets. For those with only annual giving pockets, I suggest that they make their financial commitment based on their adjusted gross income from their IRS forms. Once they have done that, I ask them to consider using the SFSGG to make a Fair Share commitment based on the percent that is suggested for that income level.
I have found that these UUs are smart enough to do just that and the good news is that one of two things occur: they look at the chart and decide that with just a little extra level of giving they can be a Fair Share donor. This is particularly true where the dollar value of the gifts is not that high.
At the other end of the scale are congregants who have a significant nest egg but haven’t been giving much to their congregation. By checking the SFSGG and their financial capabilities, many congregants are motivated to increase their giving levels.
I have found that the SFSGG helps many UUs consider a variety of ways in which they can become more generous to their congregations and feel better about themselves at the same time. Give it a try.