Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

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chriswoodut
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#11

Post by chriswoodut »

russellhltn wrote:I think the Handbook puts a serious crimp in anything like this. From 34.6.1 - Receiving Tithing and Other Offerings:
Only the bishop and his counselors may receive tithes and other offerings. Under no circumstances should their wives, other members of their families, clerks, or other ward members receive these contributions. The only exception is when Aaronic Priesthood holders are assigned to collect fast offerings (see 34.4.2).
I'm not seeing any exception for fundraisers. Not even checking the fundraising section 20.6.8.
As attorneys often say, you can't write a contract so tightly that some other creative attorney can't find an angle it doesn't cover. e.g. The handbook can't be so extensively written as to cover every possible scenario and fundraisers open a Pandora's box of variations. "Friends of Scouting" is an example of one where a non-bishopric member collected donations (though given in the name of the local scout council and not the church). Given this Venmo question is going to keep coming up, I'm surprised there hasn't been any direction proactively offered from HQ. I'm guessing these decisions must be happening locally at the stake level when they do come up.
mdguymons wrote:... Were you able to figure out a way to use Venmo that was within the Handbook guidelines? I was contemplating the same thing for our fundraiser but couldn't figure out how to do it. After reading this thread (which was very helpful; thank you to all), the only thing that I could come up with is that any youth whose parent(s) have a Venmo account could offer that option to their "buyers" for payment. Then the parent(s) of that youth could write a check to the ward's "other" account set up for the fundraiser. That would provide a cleaner trail than simply paying with cash. To all, any thoughts?
Multiple Venmo accounts out of the control of a bishopric member collecting funds is a scary thought. The church does have solid guidelines on handling funds as @russellhltn points out and deviating so drastically from them... ack.
russellhltn
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#12

Post by russellhltn »

As conventional checks become more and more passé, I have little doubt that something will be happening. But I'm reminded of a rumored quote that came from a General Authority who allegedly said "The Church moves slowly, if at all."
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barkeraj
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#13

Post by barkeraj »

This came up in our stake recently as well and I bumped into this thread. Anyone had any further insight?

It looks like the handbook for this portion says the same thing, but moved to 34.5.2
jimlaudie
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#14

Post by jimlaudie »

Hi AJ, we didn't get any further. I'm hoping someone from the church is seeing this. It's still an issue from my angle.

I'm a little surprised that we're not hearing something about this from the church. People just don't do cash/check anymore and there's got to be some way to roll this into 2022.
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#15

Post by jimlaudie »

Maybe just churning this thread once more will invite some other comments if folks have found a way to do this that works. And let me know if you come across anything. We'll probably have the same question come up again in a few months.
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barkeraj
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#16

Post by barkeraj »

In our discussions we came up with something along the lines of this
  • A Bishop or counselor uses their venmo to accept the payments. This keeps the spirit of the law that only a bishopric member receives the funds (spirit in that yes, venmo is in the mix)
  • A log of payments made is kept outside of venmo
  • The venmo holder prints out a list of all the submissions he received
  • Two finance-worthy priesthood holders review the log of payments and the venmo submissions to make sure they match
  • The venmo holder pays out the equivalent amount via cash/check that is submitted like any other donation via a donation slip
This was a loose discussion around how to stay as close as possible to the cash/check donation. This doesn't address other valid questions of legality of using venmo (or others), etc.

As was mentioned by someone else relative to friends of scouting, there does seem to be times when others collect money when it isn't specifically tithing or fast offering. Pretty much any other fund raising activity (yard sale, car wash, service auction, etc) will have a "cash box" type collection of small payments of services where I doubt a bishopric member is making every collection (naturally this is personal opinion/experience).

We definitely wish there was better official direction, but are trying to accommodate those who would donate when it is convenient (venmo) but wouldn't otherwise. Or getting into an IOU situation where something is given and you have to keep hounding people to pay via an offering slip for weeks after.

Anyway, far from anything official... but is where our discussion went.
jimlaudie
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#17

Post by jimlaudie »

I like it. I think that sticks to the spirit of it. The only thing that looks less desirable is they're donating to @bishopric-member on Venmo instead of @wardname. But if folks are not concerned about that, seems like this accomplishes what we're after.

The other key thing is that non-tithing/FO donations are already regularly handled by others (non-bishopric) in practice so there's a precedent to allow a Venmo (cashbox and non-bishopric) to be a means of getting it to the bishopric member for accountability purposes.

I think you guys were right on. Seems like it checks the boxes to me.
russellhltn
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#18

Post by russellhltn »

jimlaudie wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:08 pm The other key thing is that non-tithing/FO donations are already regularly handled by others (non-bishopric) in practice so there's a precedent to allow a Venmo (cashbox and non-bishopric) to be a means of getting it to the bishopric member for accountability purposes.
But can you show anything in the Handbook that indicates that's acceptable? Otherwise, it appears to be a case of justifying wrongdoing because of other wrongdoing.
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eblood66
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#19

Post by eblood66 »

barkeraj wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 2:38 pm In our discussions we came up with something along the lines of this
I would be very careful about actually doing this. This process involves putting what is supposed to be money for the church into a personal account. I understand that you've tried to put your own controls on it to make it safe and that's certainly better than just winging it but it still seems risky.

I would at very least consult with your stake president before going through with this and he should probably consult with the assistant area auditor. An audit exception due to depositing church funds into a personal account would look very bad. It would probably be looked at closely at least by the area auditor.
jimlaudie
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Re: Ward Youth Fundraiser: Using Venmo

#20

Post by jimlaudie »

Fair points. I certainly get the need to be cautious. Would be nice if we didn't have to tread softly and if we could get some direction on it. I'm pretty certain that there are wards already doing this.

Thanks for all the feedback, though. I was really curious at what others are doing.
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