Administration Matters

A bimonthly e-newsletter for ELCA congregational and synodical leaders. It addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, tax, legal concerns and topics of interest about day to day operations and management in church settings.

Index of the March 2017 Issue

Issue 51 of Administration Matters

Updated tax guides now available through Portico

Portico Benefit Services provides pastors and congregations participating in the ELCA benefit program with no-cost access to Richard R. Hammar’s annual tax guides. Members can use their Portico login.
For pastors, “Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide” gives special attention to topics most relevant to ministers. >More
For congregations, “Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches” helps congregations understand their federal tax reporting requirements. >More

Buildings and grounds protection

Forty-five hundred churches are the victims of burglary each year, with the median burglary loss estimated at $2,000. >More

HR series – orientation

Few things in life are as exciting – or as harrowing ­– as starting a new job. It’s important that you make the new employee feel welcome and valued. Remember, first impressions last a long time and this is your opportunity to make it a good one. >More

Records retention information

It is important to know which records and information a congregation or synod should keep and which can be discarded. Some records need to be maintained permanently and others should be discarded periodically. Congregation records retention schedule. Synod records retention schedule.

Webinar for existing nonprofit users of QuickBooks

TechSoup provides donated products, services and educational resources for nonprofits, including webinars. A webinar on using QuickBooks for faith-based organizations is available for on-demand viewing. An upcoming webinar takes a deeper look for nonprofits already using QuickBooks for managing their accounting. The webinar, scheduled for March 22 at 1 p.m. Central time, covers these topics: best practices for list setup; different methods for entering income; using QuickBooks as a donor database; auto-allocating expenses to programs; reports for your board; tracking restricted grants; inputting in-kind gifts. Register online for this free webinar. >More

‘Here We Walk’ Lenten fitness challenge

Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa, is practicing healthy habits and teaching about the ELCA’s heritage this Lent. Parish nurse Becky Elsbernd shared Trinity’s resources with Portico for others to try. Members can use the Portico login. >More

Index of the January 2017 Issue

Issue 50 of Administration Matters

HR Series – checking references

Checking references is an important part of the hiring process. While it may feel like just one more step, checking applicants’ references can actually save time, money, effort and a lot of embarrassment. >More

Internal control weaknesses

Many ministries have questions about internal controls and how to effectively address or prevent vulnerabilities. Being willing to consider these issues is an important first step in addressing any weaknesses. >More

Emergency planning

Severe weather can happen anytime, in any part of the country and it may lead to hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail or flooding, as well as those associated to winter storms such as freezing rain, sleet and snow. Congregations should develop an emergency plan based on their local weather hazards and practice their plan. >More

Writing minutes like a pro

Do your hands cramp up at the thought of recording meeting minutes? When you’re writing out your notes, use some of the following tips to take effective minutes with confidence at each and every meeting! >More

Index of the November 2016 Issue

Issue 49 of Administration Matters

Mission support interpretation resources

The ministry of the ELCA is present around the corner and the globe. Financial resources shared from congregations, synods and churchwide, called Mission Support, are deployed across this church and work to transform God’s people and God’s world. Three new Mission Support interpretation resources are now available for use in ministries across the ELCA:

  • Stories of Faith in Action is a printed resource that shares stories about ELCA ministries and impact all around the globe.
  • Where does my offering go is a printed resource that shares how Mission Support financial resources are invested to support churchwide ministries around the globe.
  • Where does your offering go? is a video showing how congregational offerings support the ministries of the ELCA.

It’s annual enrollment season in the ELCA.

Congregations have already chosen a health benefit option, and the window for plan members to complete their benefit selections closes Nov. 16. If you sponsor people through Portico Benefit Services, it’s time to review their choices on EmployerLink. Then, in December, return to see how much to withhold from paychecks in January. >More.

HR Series – the job interview: asking the right questions

The hiring process can be daunting, but knowing how to conduct a successful interview can help you land the best employee. A job interview provides a valuable opportunity for you and the candidate to learn about each other and make an informed decision. >More.

Selecting management software for your congregation

Church Management Software (ChMS) can help with a range of administrative tasks in your congregation: member database, donation tracking, visitation logs, congregation finances, etc. If you are shopping for a new or replacement ChMS, the Congregational Resource Guide has an index of at least 11 articles, organizations or websites that can help in that selection process. >More.

About W-9 and 1099 IRS Forms

If you have independent contractors working in your congregation this year, it is important to ensure, before you make payment, that you have a completed IRS Form W-9 in your files for each of them. As the end of the fiscal year approaches, you want to confirm that all your documentation is in compliance with IRS rules which will also be helpful when completing and distributing IRS 1099 Forms for FY2016. >More.

Frozen pipes and sprinkler systems

Frozen pipes are a major wintertime problem. Contrary to what one might think, losses due to frozen pipes occur more frequently in climates that are not normally associated with cold weather, especially when unexpected cold fronts sweep through a region. >More.