Beth Jacob Congregation is changing how members pay Annual Sustaining Contributions (ASC) and Building Fund PledgesÂ
What are Annual Sustaining Contributions (ASC)?
If Beth Jacob were any other congregation, we might label these pledges “dues”. Beth Jacob members have a covenantal relationship with the congregation: ASC reflects the members’ pledge to help support our community.Â Beth Jacob relies on members’ Annual Sustaining Contributions to pay for about half of our unrestricted operating budget. Each year, by June 30th, all members are asked to set their own ASC pledges for the upcoming July-June fiscal year. We have guidelines for members who request guidance. Members are expected to pay their pledges. There are no financial barriers to membership at Beth Jacob.
What are Building Fund Pledges?
The Building Fund helps us pay our debt, make major repairs and updates. When members first join the congregation, they are asked to set a one-time Building Fund pledge, payable over a period of years. We have guidelines for members who request guidance. Members are expected to pay their Building Fund Pledges over several years, beginning no later than one year after they join the congregation.
How do members pay?
When members set their ASC and Building Fund Pledges, they will directly designate how often they will be paying money, choosing among one of 4 payment schedules.
Why do we use this payment approach?
- Money to pay bills and reduced interest cost: Beth Jacob is a full-service congregation; we have expenses all year long. When members forget or wait to pay their pledges, Beth Jacob is forced to borrow money to pay salaries and bills. Beth Jacob must pay interest on the borrowed money. Having a more predictable flow of funds from members across the entire year helps us pay our staff and our vendors while minimizing or eliminating the need for this type of “cash advance” from our bank.
- Convenience and reduced administrative cost: The new approach is designed to be more convenient for our members and for our staff. Periodic payments occur automatically without the need for staff to issue bills and without the need for members to write checks. The new policy continues our consistent approach to reduce our environmental footprint and to reduce our and your costs by eliminating paper, postage, and checks in favor of online electronic approaches.
What are the dates of the different payment schedules? When are my pledges due?
We understand that some people need more time to pay, and for those congregants, we will gladly accept payments throughout the fiscal year. We consider your ASC & the annual portion of your Building Fund pledge past due if not paid in full by June 30.
For every fiscal year, the following payment schedules are available:
- One-time annual payment in full between the 7th & the 15th of July
- 12 equal monthly payments between the 7th & the 15th of each month beginning on July 1
- 4 equal quarterly payments between the 7th & the 15th of July, October, January, and April
- 2 equal semi-annual payments between the 7th & the 15th of July and January (or December, per your instructions)
What options do I have for paying my ASC and Building Fund Pledges?
Beth Jacob would like to make paying as easy as possible. Three options are described below: (1) for donating appreciated assets, (2) for using Electronic Funds Transfer from your bank account, and (3) for using Credit Cards. Because accepting credit cards costs Beth Jacob 3% of the amount charged, members who select this option are encouraged to add an additional 3% to their pledges to cover these added costs. Existing members as of June 2012 may also choose to pay by check for up to two fiscal years through June 2014.
What payment method works best for Beth Jacob Congregation?
All 3 payment methods provide Beth Jacob with a flow of money during the year (or at the start of the year). If you have no preference, we strongly recommend Electronic Funds Transfer: it is free for our members and is the simplest and least expensive payment method for Beth Jacob. We are happy to help you to find your best solution: just call us.
How do I pay using the three different payment methods?
(1) How do I give appreciated assets?
Request the Stock Transfers Memo to find out how easy it is to donate appreciated assets such as stocks or bonds. This option can be done at any time during the year and can be used to pay for any pledges or balances.
(2) How can I pay my ASC & Building Fund pledges using Electronic Funds Transfer?
What is Electronic Funds Transfer and how does it work?
Electronic Funds Transfer is a safe and convenient method of paying your ASC & Building Fund pledges. Your money stays in your account until the day your pledges are due. You never need to worry again about remembering to make your payment or losing payments in the mail. In addition to the convenience, you save check postage and processing costs. Your Electronic Funds Transfer agreement can be modified each year with your new pledge. Simply fill out the appropriate section on the ASC and Building Fund pledge form, authorizing us to notify your bank to transfer the amount of your bill to our bank account on the specified dates listed in the payment schedule (Complete the form and return it to us along with a voided check from the bank and account you want charged for you payment). We can work with almost any bank or financial institution and it will cost you absolutely nothing.
How will I know the correct amount has been transferred each time?
For your records, the transfer will appear on your regular bank statement. Should you ever feel that the transfer amount is incorrect, notify us and a reversal can be made up to 15 days after you receive your statement. Remember: Your bank can only transfer the amount that you have authorized to be transferred. You can stop payment on a transfer just like checks drawn on your account.
Can I cancel Electronic Funds Transfer at anytime?
Yes. Just remember to give us enough time to process the cancellation.
(3) How can I pay my ASC & Building Fund pledges using my Credit Card?
Fill out the Credit Card section on the ASC & Building Fund pledge form. Because accepting credit cards costs Beth Jacob 3.5% of the amount charged, members who select this option are encouraged to add an additional 3.5% to their pledges to cover these added costs.
How will I know the correct amount has been charged each time?
For your records, the charge will appear on your credit card statement. Should you ever feel that the charge amount is incorrect, notify us and a reversal can be made up to 15 days after you receive your statement. Remember: Your credit card company will only charge the amount that you have authorized.
Can I cancel Credit Card charges at any time?
Yes. Just remember to give us enough time to process the cancellation.
What if I can’t pay all of my pledges today?
We prefer receiving some payment each month. If monthly payments are a problem, please call our Executive Director, Sean Murphy, to make arrangements. Accounts with regular, proportional payments are given until June to complete payment.
What if I have other questions or even special circumstances that do not let me follow the payments policy?
Beth Jacob remains a congregation with no financial barriers to membership. Any member who needs to temporarily suspend their automatic payments, to change their pledge, or a special arrangement toward ASC or Building Fund, is welcome to initiate a confidential conversation with Sean Murphy: Execdir@beth-jacob.org, Rabbi Adam Rubin: Rabbi@beth-jacob.org, or Rabbi Tamar Grimm: RabbiTamar@beth-jacob.org.