First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Giving at First Parish

Giving Overview

First Parish in Needham is financially self-supporting and self-sustaining. We rely on our members and friends to raise our operating budget each year and to give generously to ensure the long-term financial health of the church.

We strive to be a congregation of generous givers, and recognize the joy and satisfaction that comes with being able to share our resources, financial and otherwise, to build our blessed community. Our financial contributions are an investment we make in living our values and creating a community where those values are nurtured and thrive.

“At the heart of Unitarian Universalism is the faith that every person can make a meaningful difference in our communities and in the world.

We have faith in generosity, a conviction that our shared gifts of love and labor can heal ourselves and others.

Spent one way, [money] can make us comfortable, boost our self-image, and make us feel secure. Spent another way, money becomes the tool of our faith and our commitment to the things that matter to us.”

~ Rev. Terry Sweetser

Annual Budget Drive

Overview

 

We’re excited to launch the First Parish 2024-2025 Annual Budget Drive as we embark on a year of purposeful growth with the guidance of our 5 Year Strategic Plan Task Force. Your steadfast support has been instrumental in guiding us through dynamic times, and together, we’ve emerged stronger and more connected as a spiritual family. Now, we invite you to partner with us once again as we invest in our future and continue cultivating a thriving sanctuary of faith and fellowship.

 

In this commitment to one another, we become difference-makers, weaving a tapestry of faith — one thread of generosity at a time — that extends beyond these walls, making a difference not only in our church, but in the wider community around us. In this spirit, we invite you to join, not just in supporting our beloved First Parish, but in Making A Difference that resonates, creating and leaving a legacy of love and action in our world. As difference-makers, we extend “the ripples of giving” far beyond the edges of our own lives in pursuit of our mission “to create a welcoming, diverse, and compassionate religious community that celebrates the sacredness of all living things, nurtures lifelong spiritual and ethical growth, and works for social and environmental justice locally and throughout the world.”

 

In years past, the resources that you have pledged to our church have helped us Make A Difference:

  • Empowering social justice: Reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, climate action, racial equity, and immigration reform remain central to our mission.
  • Nurturing leadership: Ensuring fair and equitable compensation for our dedicated minister and staff and supporting spiritual growth for First Parishioners of all ages, from toddlers to elders.
  • Inspiring youth: Empowering our Senior Youth Group to participate in service trips (this spring, for environmental justice in Virgin Islands National Park), putting UU values into action.
  • Connecting near and far: Bringing our spirit to life through live-streamed worship and fostering a vibrant online community that transcends physical distance through adult enrichment programs.
  • Open hearts, open doors and growing our membership: Welcoming new voices through meaningful outreach, nurturing faith across all ages, and enriching souls with music.

 

Your pledges make up the backbone of our annual income, about 75%. This year, we’re aiming for a $335,000 Budget Drive goal, and your participation is more crucial than ever as we emerge from the pandemic.

 

Everyone in the congregation is being asked to increase their pledges by a standard percentage to help us reach our goal. Many thanks if you’re able to increase or at least maintain last year’s pledge. It is our goal to collect your pledge plans as quickly and easily as possible with four convenient ways to pledge, as described on the included pledge form.

 

Please pledge as generously as you are able to our 2024-2025 Annual Budget Drive! Thank you for making a difference with your ongoing support of First Parish in Needham!

 

Four Ways to Make Your Pledge

It is our goal to collect your pledge plans as quickly and easily as possible with four convenient ways to pledge:

Please pledge as generously as you are able to our 2022-23 Annual Budget Drive!

Thank you!

How Much Should I Pledge?

We are asking each household to reflect on the role First Parish plays in making a difference in your life and helping you make a difference in the community, and to give generously with that in mind. The average household gave about $2,400 last year, and pledges ranged from under $100 to over $13,000. As we often say, “give until it feels good!” The science of happiness shows that generous giving increases our overall “happiness quotient,” especially to organizations to which we have a personal relationship and deeply believe in its mission.

 

Our national denomination, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Fair Share Giving Guide suggests an annual giving range of 2-10% of household income. As a starting point, we invite each First Parish household to consider giving at a level of 2.5% to 3.0%, or whatever percentage feels right to you. We know and celebrate that many First Parishioners give generously to First Parish and many other worthy non-profits. We’re asking for all our households to increase their pledges to First Parish by about 5% to reach our pledge goal.

How Do I Pay My Pledge?

You can use any of the following methods:

 

  • Pay online using Realm (please give to “Annual Budget Drive 24-25”). You can follow along with our ministerial intern Darrah Bryans in this step-by-step “how to” video).
  • Mail or bring checks to the office (Please put “Pledge 24-25” in the memo line)
  • Set up electronic fund transfers (EFTs) from your bank directly to the First Parish bank account.
  • If you are receiving RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) from your retirement funds, you can transfer the pledge amount from that retirement account directly to First Parish. This will also save on federal income tax, because the pledge amount will not be taxable.  Please contact Kevin McCormick (mc.sail@verizon.net) if you want more information on this.
  • You also may pay by donating stock and other securities. To arrange successful EFTs or stock transfers, please contact parish administrator Susanna Whitman in the office (office@uuneedham.org or 781-444-0823) ahead of time.

When Do I Pay My Pledge?

You can pay anytime from the time that you make your pledge until the end of the 2024-2025 congregational year on June 30, 2025.

You can pay in one lump sum, quarterly, monthly, or any schedule that works for you.

Legacy Giving

What is Legacy Giving?

Legacy Giving (or Planned Giving) can transform the future of First Parish and ensure that it thrives well into the lives of future generations. By making a Legacy Gift to our endowment fund, your support of First Parish will last beyond your lifetime.

The typical person who makes a legacy gift isn’t a millionaire or independently wealthy. Rather, most legacy givers are simply members who want to make a commitment to the future of our liberal faith.

Thank you to the more than twenty members of First Parish who have already made commitments, resulting in over $30,000 in challenge funding!

Leaving a legacy to First Parish only takes a little planning. It can be as simple as including a bequest to First Parish in your will or trust, or naming First Parish a beneficiary on your retirement plan or insurance policy. See below for more information.

Types of Legacy Gifts: Overview

There are various options for making legacy gifts to the parish. We encourage you to work with your attorney and/or financial advisor to select the approach that is right for you.

Four basic options are outlined below:

  • bequests;
  • retirement plan beneficiary designations;
  • life insurance beneficiary designations; and
  • charitable gift annuities.

There are additional options you may wish to consider under certain circumstances, including pooled income funds, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts, that will not be discussed further here. Pooled income funds are more attractive in a higher interest rate environment. Charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts are more complex and individualized vehicles better discussed with your professional advisors.

Bequests

A bequest is a provision in your will or revocable trust designating a fixed dollar amount, a percentage of your assets, or the remainder of your estate will be given to First Parish in Needham, upon settlement of your estate. Most bequests are fully revocable while you are alive.

Language for Wills

You may add a simple codicil to your will to create a bequest for First Parish. You can make a specific bequest by identifying a block of stock or bonds, a specific parcel of real estate, or other clearly identified marketable asset. Or, you can make a cash bequest in a specific amount or as a percentage of your estate. You can also make a residual bequest from the remaining assets in your estate after all other specific bequests and settlement costs are satisfied.

Most bequests are undesignated which makes them available for general use as part of the General Endowment Fund. This fund exists in perpetuity and generates annual income for First Parish. If you wish to designate a bequest for a particular program or other purpose at First Parish, please contact the parish administrator to ensure your bequest can be accepted.

The following sample language can be used to fulfill your charitable objectives:

Specific Amount: I give, devise, and bequeath $ ______________ to First Parish in Needham.

Percentage Bequest: I give, devise, and bequeath __________ % of my gross estate to First Parish in Needham.

Residuary Bequest: I give, devise and bequeath the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to First Parish in Needham.

Language for Trusts

You may amend your revocable trust to create a bequest for First Parish in Needham. This can be done at any time or as part of a review and updating of your trust, which is recommended every 5-10 years as the relevant laws change. You can make a specific bequest by identifying a block of stock or bonds, a specific parcel of real estate, or other clearly identified item. Or, you can make a cash bequest in a specific amount or as a percentage of your estate. You can also make a residual bequest from the remaining assets in your estate after all other specific bequests and settlement costs are satisfied.

Most bequests are undesignated which makes them available for general use as part of the General Endowment Fund. This fund exists in perpetuity and generates annual income for First Parish. If you wish to designate a bequest for a particular program or other purpose at First Parish, please contact the parish administrator to ensure your bequest can be accepted.

The following sample language can be used to fulfill your charitable objectives:

Specific Amount: The Trustee shall distribute $ ______________ to First Parish in Needham.

Percentage Bequest: The Trustee shall distribute __________ % of my gross estate to First Parish in Needham.

Residuary Bequest: The Trustee shall distribute the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to First Parish in Needham.

Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations

You can designate First Parish as a beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) plan, for a specific amount or a percentage of total assets. Such gifts can save on income and estate taxes.

Leaving a portion of your retirement plan account to First Parish in Needham can help you get the most value from your estate and protect your heirs from taxes. These retirement assets are subject to income taxes when paid out to a taxable entity (i.e., most people, even your spouse or children), even when the estate is too small to owe estate taxes. These taxes can reduce the amount received by your heirs by up to 35 percent.

In contrast, nonprofit organizations such as First Parish are eligible to receive the full amount at your death without facing any income tax liability. Income taxes can be avoided or reduced through a carefully planned charitable gift. There are three common approaches:

  • Designate First Parish in Needham as a primary beneficiary for a percentage (1 to 100 percent) of your retirement plan account.
  • Designate a specific amount to be paid to First Parish in Needham before the remainder is directed to family or other individuals.
  • Make First Parish in Needham the contingent beneficiary to receive the balance only if a loved one, as primary beneficiary, doesn’t survive you.

To implement your wishes, please contact your plan administrator, then complete and sign whatever forms are required. This can often be done on-line. You may wish to contact your attorney to be sure you are using the correct language.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations

You can designate First Parish in Needham as a beneficiary of all or a portion of your life insurance benefits.

A traditional life insurance policy (with an accumulated cash value) can be a valuable asset. If the original purpose for the protection no longer applies—such as to educate children now grown or to provide financial security for a spouse now deceased—a life insurance policy can be redirected to help support a worthwhile cause such as First Parish in Needham.

To implement your wishes, please contact your life insurance agent or company and obtain and complete the needed change of beneficiary form. You may wish to contact your attorney to be sure you are using the correct language.

Charitable Gift Annuities

First Parish’s Charitable Gift Annuity program is professionally managed and administered by the Office of Legacy Gifts at the Unitarian Universalist Association and State Street Global Advisors. First Parish’s parish administrator can help connect you to the UUA to establish a charitable gift annuity.

A charitable gift annuity is a good arrangement for someone looking to augment their retirement income because it generates a fixed dollar income for the rest of your life. In exchange for your irrevocable gift of at least $10,000 in cash or publicly traded securities, the UUA will pay you a lifetime income based on your age (minimum 65) at the time of your gift. At the end of your life, money remaining in the annuity (the ultimate gift) is distributed to First Parish (and/or the UUA) as you specify. The gift annuity can be for one or two people, so a spouse or other loved one can also receive payments for life.

A portion of the initial gift is income tax–deductible based on IRS rules about the expected value of the ultimate gift. Charitable gift annuity payments are partially income tax–free throughout your estimated life expectancy. If you use appreciated stock to make a gift, you can usually eliminate capital gains tax on a portion of the gift and spread the rest of the gain over your life expectancy.

Legacy Gift Form, Giving Guide & Contacts

Thank you for your interest in making a Legacy Gift to First Parish in Needham.

To notify us of a legacy gift/record a bequest, complete our Legacy Giving Form  and return it to the church office.

For more information, download our Legacy Giving Guide.

UUA Planned Giving Information:

 

Tax Information/EIN

  • First Parish in Needham is an IRS-qualified tax-exempt organization.
  • We are a member in good standing of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
  • First Parish’s federal identification number (FEIN) is 04-2347461.
  • A completed IRS Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification is available upon request.
  • For tax purposes, bequests, legacies, devises, or transfers to the Church are deductible as they accord with the provision of the Internal Revenue Code.