We get asked about Contribution Statements (AKA Giving Statements) on almost a daily basis. The question about whether or not ministries have to provide them comes up a lot.
Let's cover what a contribution statement is, why they are important, and if churches have to provide them to donors:
A contribution statement is a document generated by an organization after receiving a donation listing the details of the donation and given to the donor for their financial records.
Technically, no. According to IRS Publication 1771:
Churches are not required to produce giving statements unless there is an exchange of goods or services after receiving a donation of $75 or more. Outside of that scenario, there is no penalty for not providing a contribution statement in the US.
However, it is highly recommended that churches provide these statements to their donors for a few reasons:
Fun Fact: Providing giving statements for all donors also helps create and maintain a healthy, reciprocal relationship with your donors. A simple acknowledgment of their offering can go a long way in letting them know you appreciate them and their contribution. While such documentation may seem boring and bureaucratic, it can surprisingly foster a deeper connection between a donor and the organization. What’s not to like about that?
Watch this video we recorded covering why churches absolutely should send contribution statements:
Donations and accounting are crucial topics for any church, big or small. Despite their importance, most church leaders did not get into ministry because they really love fundraising or maintaining financial records in case of an IRS audit. I know, what a shock!
Maintaining clear financial records is one of the most important ways to secure the future of your church. Transparency is vital for maintaining trust with your congregation and your community.
Note: Churches should distribute these documents by January 31 so that donors have ample time to file their taxes. It also gives your supporters time to review their finances and ask questions.
There are more ways to create a contribution statement than there are to cook an egg!
You can type up a Word doc, download spreadsheet templates online, or use a church finance tool made specifically for generating statements. If you're providing statements to more than a handful of families, you'll find that a dedicated program geared towards church finance is going to save you a significant amount of time. The last thing you want to do is spend hours in Excel or MS Word copying and pasting every single donation given to your church...
If you're looking for an all-in-one church giving software that makes recording donations, tracking members, and church accounting as easy as it should be, look no further!
ChurchTrac makes it easy to record your donations and generate giving statements!
Are you a church planter and you're just beginning to sink your teeth into church giving statements? Are you a seasoned church leader who wants to help others on their team to learn more?
Here are some more articles that answer your questions about the importance of contribution statements:
Churches don't have to give out contribution statements. But they definitely should!
ChurchTrac makes it easy to import your church's giving and generate year-end statements for all of your donors. Start your free 30-Day trial and see why 10,000+ churches have already made the switch and simplified their ministries.