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Church Benevolence Fund Guidelines

by Dan Kimball

What are common guidelines when dealing with church benevolence funds? Let’s start by defining what church benevolence is.

What is a church benevolence fund?

Benevolence is defined quite simply as an act of kindness or generosity. Church benevolence programs provide folks in need with the basic necessities of life. The most common benevolence requests from church members and non-church members include:

  • Utilities
  • Rent
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Medical Expenses
  • Transportation
  • Funerals

What about giving cash?

A common church benevolence fund guideline is that the fund can be used to give cash to a needy person, but as with all other benevolent gifts, the purpose of the cash must be to help provide for the basic necessities of life. As an example, a church could provide a cash gift to a family who recently suffered the loss of their house due to a tornado or other natural disaster. The family could then utilize the funds for groceries, clothing, and other necessities.

In other cases where larger sums of benevolent payments are being made in the form of rent or utility bills, many churches wonder if they should be recording the payments they’re making to those individuals on a 1099.

The answer is no. Benevolence payments made to individuals are not taxable income. Not only do they NOT need to track it, they also do not need to ask them for a W-9—which means churches don’t have to report it on a 1099.

Does your church have a benevolence fund?

Did you know you can track benevolence funds in the Aplos Software Suite? That’s right, Aplos can help you set it up, track its activity, and even help you transfer various amounts in and out of it!

Be sure to give Aplos a try today, if you haven’t already. Our bookkeeping services team is waiting to help you with any issue you may have, including navigating church benevolence funds and their guidelines.

If you’d like to read more on the topic of church benevolence, check out this article from our friends at Foundation Group.

Make Your Church Financially Healthy

Sign up for this free webinar to learn some of the critical factors that make a church financially healthy.

We will discuss how to be good stewards of your church’s resources and explore some best practices for overseeing your finances.

This webinar will teach you how to:

  • Create and Implement a stewardship plan
  • Demonstrate accountability for managing your funds
  • Leverage reports so you can make strong financial choices for your church
  • Review and monitor giving trends within your congregation and membership

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3 comments

Automate Bookkeeping December 2, 2017 - 5:01 pm

Hi there, thanks for the great tips by the way.
However, I do have a question that I think you could answer for me.
I was wondering what is the best small business accounting software for Mac?
If you could give me some insight I would greatly appreciate it!

Reply
Eric Burgess December 6, 2017 - 10:48 am

Why, Aplos Accounting of course! 😉

Let us know if you have any questions or how we can help get you set up with a free trial!

Reply
Brian Combs August 5, 2019 - 10:09 am

Could you address issues to consider when providing benevolence to a current (w-2) employee? For instance, an employee’s house burns down and our church members collect funds to help cover some emergency expenses. What’s the best way to get those funds to him and are they taxable to him?

Reply

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