Stewardship FAQ

Questions and answers about DiscipleMakers' policy concerning unrestricted gifts and donor preferences.

    What standards does ECFA require that are above the minimum requirements of law?

    Please see ECFA's standards and best practices.

    What is the difference between preferenced/unrestricted and restricted gifts?

    From a layman's perspective, the practical difference between restricted and preferenced gifts is the amount of documentation required for DiscipleMakers, not typically how the gift is used. This is because we desire and are able to honor the donor's preference of the majority of gifts received.

    What constitutes a restricted gift?

    Please see the Statement of Accounting Standards No. 116 on "Accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made" for the governing accounting law on this issue.

    In what special cases are restricted gifts allowed?

    In the case of large gifts some restrictions may be allowed. Please contact us by email at info@dm.org or by phone at 814-234-7975 if you would like to give a restricted gift.

    What are the administration standards of restricted gifts? How much more work would it entail?

    We have estimated that our administrative and accounting procedures would triple if the majority of donations were restricted. Administrating restricted gifts would require us to document every financial appeal that resulted in a donation and then track that donation through our accounting system until it was spent on the purpose for which it was restricted. For most donations to DiscipleMakers, this kind of tracking would not only be tedious but also wasteful of scarce resources. In other words, classifying all gifts—no matter what the size—as restricted would push us into full "government style" accounting with high overhead costs.

    How much is DiscipleMakers' administrative fee?

    DiscipleMakers charges an administrative fee of 5% on all contributions received. This 5% of contributions is used for overhead costs of the ministry, such as supplies for donor receipting, mortgage and utilities for the DiscipleMakers Headquarters building, computer technology, etc.

    How does DiscipleMakers keep track of the preferences of donors in order to make every attempt to use the gifts in that way?

    DiscipleMakers uses fund accounting, which credits each contribution to a particular fund that is based on the preference of the donor. For example, a donor may preference a gift for a particular ministry within DiscipleMakers. DiscipleMakers will credit the gift to that ministry fund and it will be used for that ministry's expenses. This might include meeting and outreach expenses, Bible study materials, salary, benefits, ministry travel, etc.

    If a donation cannot be used as preferenced by the donor, how then will DiscipleMakers use the funds?

    DiscipleMakers makes every attempt to use a donor's gift in accordance with the donor's preference. This is what happens for the vast majority of preferenced gifts. However, in the rare cases where this is not feasible, DiscipleMakers then tries to use the gift in other ways similar to that donor's preference. For example, if a donor sent in a gift preferenced for student scholarships for our summer Focus event and we were unable to use all those funds effectively for Focus, they might then be used for the Fall Student Conference.

    How does DiscipleMakers view being a wise steward?

    DiscipleMakers seeks to view all areas of life, including stewardship, from God's perspective as given through the Scriptures. We know that God owns everything, and he has appointed each of us as stewards, calling us to wisely manage certain resources for His glory (Psalm 50:10-12). In stewarding the resources God entrusts to us, we should provide for our family's present and future needs (Prov. 13:22). We should also support the ministry of our local church. As the Lord entrusts us with additional resources, we also have the opportunity to invest in His work around the world. That is why we invite you to consider investing in the ministry of DiscipleMakers. We cannot carry out our mission of making disciples of Christ among college students without the generous giving of God's people. We work hard to wisely steward these gifts so that we can give the Lord and our donors the greatest possible return on their investment (Luke 12:42-44; Matt. 25:14-30).

    What happens when a missionary leaves DiscipleMakers? Will donors be notified?

    YES! When a missionary moves on from DiscipleMakers, donors will be notified in a timely manner. They will be informed when the last gifts preferenced for that missionary will be accepted and will be given the option to continue supporting DiscipleMakers if the Lord so leads.