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 July 2021 Issue

Issue 77 of Administration Matters

Why a church plan makes good sense

At this time of year, many organizations are reviewing their budgets — and the price of their benefits. Watch this short video conversation between an ELCA pastor and the president of Portico Benefits to understand how Portico’s approach to pricing supports the ELCA’s national community of congregations ‒ financially and biblically.

Records retention information

It is important to know which records and information a congregation should keep and which can be tossed. Some records need to be maintained permanently, whereas others can be discarded periodically. More

Safety outside your worship center

Your worship center is an invaluable property, monetarily and spiritually, and its protection and upkeep are an important obligation. >More

Amending or ending gift restrictions

From time to time, restricted gift purposes cannot be fulfilled as expected. When this occurs, charitable organizations should take all proper steps to repurpose or amend restricted gifts. >More

Prevent and eradicate vandalism

Every year, churches incur significant losses due to vandalism. Vandals often act impulsively. In other cases, vandals are seeking an easy target for their mischief, such as a building often empty at night. >More


Index of the May 2021 Issue

Issue 76 of Administration Matters

Organizing insurance policies and records

Insurance records take up space and are rarely used. Why, then, is it so important to keep your insurance records on hand? The truth is that sometimes, to protect your organization, you’ll need to produce insurance records — even from years past – with very little notice. >More

Tornado safety

Tornadoes are violent; they can destroy well-made structures, uproot trees and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles. Although severe tornadoes are most common in the Plains States, they can happen anywhere. Learn how to stay safe during a tornado.>More

A mental health reminder from Portico

Living through a pandemic has stretched us past our normal limits. During Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Portico Benefit Services is offering the two-minute video “Get Yourself Some People,” in which ELCA pastor Melissa Pohlman talks candidly about the support system she relies on to keep her centered and resilient. Portico is offering other mental health resources this month on its Facebook page and encourages you to follow the page and share these tools with your ministry team.

Tips for virtual audits

We received a question regarding tips for remote audits. We recognize this article is from the United Kingdom, but thought it was the most helpful.
During the pandemic, office workers have been required to work from home when possible, and this has had an impact on audit work, which has been carried out remotely. For organizations planning to reopen their premises to their workforces in the near future, accommodating an audit team could be a challenge, meaning that, for many, remote arrangements are likely to continue. >More

Stay safe using social media

You can promote your organization in a number of ways, but one method you shouldn’t ignore is using social media. This is an excellent and cost-effective way to reach a wide audience. However, there are several do’s and don’ts you must keep in mind. >More

Hurricane season starts May 15

Plan for hurricane season and be ready to take action. Today you can determine your hurricane risk and review and update your insurance policies, make a list of emergency supplies and prepare your facilities. >More


Index of the March 2021 Issue

Issue 75 of Administration Matters

2020 tax guide now available

Portico Benefit Services offers a set of annually updated Richard R. Hammar tax guides at no cost to pastors and congregations participating in the ELCA benefit program. Both 2020 editions address the tax-related impacts of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March 2020. Clergy and sponsoring organizations can access the guides through myPortico and EmployerLink.


New PPP guidance and loan application forms available

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Treasury have issued new guidance and application forms for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Here are the latest developments pertinent to nonprofit organizations, including churches, schools and private institutions of higher education. >More


Independent contractor or employee?

Correctly classifying employees and independent contractors is crucial for each congregation and church entity. The ELCA offers a checklist to help you review employment classification. >More


Information security

Identity and data theft, phishing, ransomware and malware are real and present risks for all organizations. The ELCA’s Information Security Webinar presentation will help you strengthen your controls, minimize your risks, and identify areas that may need to be addressed. >More


Why background checks matter

Performing a background check is a final step often taken by employers to verify the information provided by a job candidate. A background check is a reliable way of verifying claims made by job seekers during the hiring process. These reports promote a safe workplace and are a useful risk-management tool. >More


Winter weather roof hazards

We are in the middle of winter, and most of the country has already experienced harsh temperatures, snow and ice. A recent story in The Good Steward newsletter explains the weather conditions that can erode your roof and end in costly repairs. >More