At Westside, our three biggest sources of congregant-based income are:
- Your pledges
- Our yearly Auction
- Sunday Shared Offering contributions
Why are there three separate ways to give financial support to our community, instead of just one?
A pledge is what you believe you can commit to giving Westside in a given year, which makes it possible for us to build a budget for the upcoming year. It lets us know whether or not we can provide more benefits to our staff, expand congregational programs, or pay for anticipated building expenses.
Historically, pledges alone have not provided enough to cover our anticipated expenses, and we have hosted an annual fund-raising event, the Auction, to help us cover our expenses for the year. The money you spend at the Auction does not count toward your pledge. It is like money you would spend on art or shopping or vacations — but instead of giving your money to outside enterprises, you are giving it to the church when you buy items like this at the Auction!
The third source of income comes from the Shared Offering. Each month, one-third of our Shared Offering (formerly called Sunday Plate) for the month is donated to a community organization that is aligned with our values. A donation to the Shared Offering does not count toward your pledge. For November, it was the Ingersoll Gender Center, a Seattle organization by and for transgender and gender-nonconforming people that provides mutual support through peer-led support groups, advocacy in navigating resources, community organizing, and education. The Shared Offering gives us a chance to collectively make a difference in our community.
Think of contributing to the Shared Offering as a part of Sunday morning worship. Sing, listen, contemplate, give. Even if it is just $3, the minimum amount (text 888-530-9056, enter $ (amount). Text “edit” to update payment info.). I once heard a congregant say they gave in the offering as much as they spent at a movie theater – the service lasts about as long and is just as entertaining!
People’s perceptions of the Shared Offering will vary, but consider this – money contributed to the Shared Offering is not a pledge or an auction item. Money contributed to the Shared Offering is an expression of gratitude, of saying, “Yes, it’s Sunday morning, and I am with this community, and we are going to exercise an act of gratitude together by giving both to the church as well as to the larger community.” It is truly an act of We.
Our congregation is self-sufficient based on what we give. These giving opportunities provide ways to recognize that we all generously contribute what we can so that our congregation can be financially secure and continue to thrive, as we support one another, expand our minds, and build a more just world.