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.
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
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
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
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
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
Grow giving through the ELCA’s Congregational Financial Assessment
Through the Resourceful Servants Congregational Financial Assessment, your congregation can help grow its benefactors’ confidence by proactively engaging in a review of its financial systems relative to best practices and healthy behaviors. Carrying out these activities signals to donors that your congregation is worthy of donations and conveys that accountability, transparency, professionalism and impact are taken seriously. To learn more about this free resource from the ELCA, visit resourcefulservants.org/congregations. You can also watch this video demonstration of the site and its tools.
ELCA Federal Credit Union increases ministry loans to $100K, offers ministry credit cards
The ELCA Federal Credit Union now offers ministry loans of up to $100,000 to congregations — doubling the previous maximum amount. Ministry loans at favorable interest rates can be used for building repairs, vehicle purchases, small projects and supplemental operating income. The credit union also offers a ministry credit card. With unique benefits, the cost-effective card has no annual fee and is an alternative to standard business cards. Ministry loans and credit cards are another way the credit union assists congregations financially, allowing you to focus on your ministry. Find out more about these financial opportunities at https://www.elcafcu.org/personal/ministry-solutions under “Credit Cards and Loans.”
Journi — reveal your path to leadership
When someone feels God is calling them to make a difference in the world, the sheer number of
questions and options can be overwhelming. Coming in early 2021, Journi is a digital tool for everyone who feels called to leadership in this church. Journi will equip future leaders with tools to discover their gifts, practical resources to learn more about opportunities within the church and next steps to move them forward in their leadership journey. Watch this video to learn more about our vision for Journi, which we are hard at work making a reality. Be among the first to learn how it’s going — sign up for updates at Journi.faith.
Stories of Faith in Action new digital platform
We’re delighted to unveil a brand-new digital platform for Stories of Faith in Action, housed at livinglutheran.org. The new website features content from this annual publication in a modern, dynamic format, mixing video and visual elements with stories to take you further into the work of Mission Support. This site is a fantastic tool to include in your next stewardship communication or as part of your annual meeting materials. Visit now to learn how your offering sustains and enhances ministries that support and lift up God’s people.
2020 IRS mileage allowance
The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is:
• 56 cents per mile driven for business use, down 1.5 cents from the rate for 2020,
• 16 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active duty members of the Armed Forces, down 1 cent from the rate for 2020, and
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged 2020.
The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. For more information, visit the IRS website.
Avoid frozen pipes this winter
For most of the country, winter brings plummeting temperatures. As the leaves begin to fall, the countdown to the first snow begins. Freezing and bursting pipes are a common and expensive frustration of the winter, but there are steps you can take to prevent ice blockages and freezing pipes as well as protect your water systems. >More
Portico’s new mental health services support members during pandemic
COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on our emotional health, disrupting the way we live, work, connect, worship and care for our loved ones. In this blog post, Josh Smith, leader of Portico’s products unit, describes how new 2020 online mental health support services are playing a critical role. Jeff Thiemann, Portico’s president and CEO, underscored the broad need for this kind of support in his recent two-minute video message to the ELCA Church Council. If you provide ELCA-Primary health benefits, remind your members that, right now, we all need to take extra care of our health and that their benefits can help.
Online giving solutions
Tithe.ly is an ELCA preferred vendor offering a family of online tools to help increase giving, manage congregational membership data and engage members throughout the week. Featuring online, mobile and text giving options, Tithe.ly has expanded its product line to offer low-cost websites, church management software and apps to ELCA congregations. Is your congregation paying for several technology solutions every month? Tithe.ly’s new “All-access” plan includes a giving platform, a church website template, church management software and an app, all for one flat rate. Take advantage of special prices available exclusively for ELCA congregations at get.tithe.ly/elca.
Reducing legal liabilities
America is more litigious than ever before. Knowing where your organization stands in terms of its legal liabilities will help you prepare for potential pitfalls. While you may not be able to avoid all legal risk or anticipate every legal threat, there are steps you can take to reduce liability. >More
How to identify church leaders
If a church is to grow, it needs to identify good leaders. Finding new leaders is as critical as the quality of the leaders being discovered. But where do you find these people? It helps to look for certain qualities that all good leaders need or that, consistently over time, seem to make good leaders. >More
Dell computers purchase program
The ELCA continues to partner with Dell computers and its Corporate Affiliate Purchase Program, which extends to ELCA synods and congregations. Here is information regarding current specials being offered to us: Dell’s Member Purchase Program is announcing a new discount percentage on Dell and Alienware electronics and accessories. Members can now save 10% on top tech accessories, including monitors. Doorbuster weekly events start Nov. 5, and the main sale starts on Nov. 16. Complete sale and purchasing information is available in this flyer.