Important changes are now in effect for all congregations and individuals who make financial contributions to the Southeastern Synod. Treasurer Lee Smith describes the most important details below:
What has changed?
Lee: The most important change is that congregations cannot send their mission support and other contributions to the ELCA's Mission Investment Fund (MIF) for processing. Instead, contributions are to be sent directly to the Southeastern Synod, using either a paper check or an ACH (electronic) transfer.
Is this change in effect now?
Does it matter whether a congregation sends a paper check or gives via ACH?
Lee: I strongly encourage congregations to use ACH (which stands for Automated Clearing House) for all their financial remittances to the synod. ACH contributions to the Southeastern Synod are facilitated by the highly-regarded Vanco Payment Solutions. Vanco's involvement assures that congregations' ACH payments will be processed quickly and securely. Using ACH also eliminates postage expenses and the possibility of a check being lost in the mail. Many individuals routinely pay many of their own bills by ACH, and I'm pleased that the synod can now make this option available to our congregations.
How much extra will it cost to make ACH contributions?
Lee: Using ACH will not result in any additional expense for congregations, since all associated Vanco fees will be paid at the synod level. Thus, 100 percent of all gifts made via the ACH system will be credited to donors’ accounts.
How does a congregation begin making mission support and other designated contributions via ACH?
Lee: The first step is to create a congregational profile for ACH gifts, which includes specifying a password and the bank account from which payments will be made. After the profile is created, you can begin transmitting your ACH gifts immediately. All of the details to get started are available here.
Can a congregation register for ACH giving and still occasionally mail a paper check to the synod?
Lee: Yes, you can always mail a check to the synod. A new paper remittance form is available (click here) to enclose with your paper check. And be sure to use the synod's new mailing address that recently went into effect:
ELCA Southeastern Synod
Are the new procedures also relevant for individuals who wish to send contributions directly to the synod?
Lee: Yes. Individuals can create their own profiles and make online gifts using the same website that congregations use (click here). Individuals who prefer to write paper checks should mail them to the address shown above.