March/April Finance Newsletter


March/April 2021 Finance Newsletter

Is it time to take a breath and say we are catching up with all that has happened during the past year?  March flew by, so this is a combined March/April newsletter!  To everyone involved in church financial work, we offer a very big THANK YOU!
We realize the challenge of working remotely, getting donations electronically, completing new forms on-line and trying to do it all safely.  We also understand that many of you are doing it for the first time as long-time volunteers decided this was the year to retire.  There is a big learning curve to being involved in church finances and we appreciate that you are part of this ministry for your church and the wider denomination.

May we continue our work together, helping each other with our experience, knowledge and commitment.  We have much information to share.  As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or you may contact anyone in our Finance department for specific questions.  Here is a link to our home page. Finance & Administration - Wisconsin Conference of the UMC (

Sarah Sneider
Conference Treasurer & Director of Administration

On- line donations for local churches through Conference website stopping 6/30/21
In March 2020, when the state-wide mandate came out to close churches due to COVID, the Conference opened up its website and on-line giving program VANCO to all churches who wanted to offer this option to their members.  The first month there were 8 churches signed up who received a total of $1500 in donations. Throughout the past year, over 60 churches have signed up and over $170,000 came through our VANCO software and was disbursed to the churches.   Lisa Adler, Finance Office Manager, made sure we tracked this correctly and provided the necessary donor information to each church.

We intended this to be a short-term program in 2020, but continued to extend as COVID did.  We are now encouraging churches to set up their own electronic giving through VANCO or other software and we will be closing the local church giving option on June 30, 2021.
We have been working with VANCO to offer discounted rates and help with the conversion process.  Watch the recent VANCO webinar we held to see the new VANCO on-line.

Special rates from Vanco plus no monthly fees through August!
To help with this transition and to ensure that your e-giving is not interrupted, Vanco is offering a discounted rate plus no monthly fee through August. Please connect with Vanco directly to transition your account. Click here for more information.

With Vanco’s simple and secure eGiving and communication tools, you can offer your members an easy way to give and engage with your ministries. There are many new and enhanced features such as a website template and guide, events set-up, mobile giving, a new storytelling giving page, text-to-give, and more.  For congregations that transition their accounts between March 15 and August 31, 2020, the special rate will be 1.00% + $0.45 per transaction for ACH fees (bank transfers), and 2.75% for all debit/credit transactions + $0.45 per transaction. There will be no monthly fee through August, and after September it will be $5. Request a demo here to get your individual account started or call 866.533.4766.

For more information on the partnership between the UMC and Vanco, please visit: Denomination Outreach UMC | Vanco (

It’s Time for your Annual Audit – Due July 15
We understand that these are difficult times and we have extended the deadline to submit your 2020 Fund Balance Report to July 15, 2021. Please submit your reports via email to the district administrator Heidi at or Kristy at You will also have one last opportunity to submit your 2020 Fund Balance report during our 2021 Charge Conferences in the fall via the Charge Conference Forms Portal of your church. Thank you for all your work that goes into this report and submitting it promptly.
GCFA has updated the Local Church Audit Guidelines local-church-audit-guide-2020.pdf (  There is also an FAQ document. You can find this and many other helpful tools on our Finance page. 

2020 Statistical Reports
We are grateful to all who completed their church statistical reports by 2/28/21.  If you have not completed yours, PLEASE DO SO ASAP!  Don Cramer, our statistician must have all of the data reviewed and run reports by 4/30/21.  


100% Apportionments Paid Tags will be mailed by the end of April
Thank you for your apportionment payments for 2020! And a special thank you to the churches who committed to fulfilling 100% of their apportionments during a very difficult year.  We will be sending out your 2020 tag to add to your wall hanging.  Congratulations!

Groat Grants available to Rural churches

On April 8, the Conference Board of Trustees approved 10 grant application totaling $114,552 from the Groat Grant program. Grants were provided for indoor plumbing, ramps, heating and electrical, as well as worship technology and a wheelchair lift.
If you think your church may be eligible, please look over the 2 brochures and other information on our website - Grants - Wisconsin Conference of the UMC (
 The Board of Trustees meet quarterly and will review applications at each meeting January, April, July, and October.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

GCFA and Wespath have developed information related to the COVID relief efforts.  The new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is effective now and the legal teams for both agencies have created this documentation for your review During the past year, we have received very helpful information from GCFA and Wespath which we have distributed to churches related to PPP loans and various other programs.  Jacqueline Givens – Simmons is the Relationship Manager at GCFA who helps spearhead getting information and resources to Conferences and churches.

Discount for ACE Hardware

GCFA works with various vendors to provide discounts to United Methodist Churches. Ace Hardware is the newest
Nashville, Tennessee – The Connectional Relations team of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) is announcing that the newest vetted ministry partner is Ace Hardware. Ace, a national retailer, has more than 2,400 participating locations in the United States and will offer discounts for purchases made for the church. 
The partnership will allow churches to shop online and in local Ace Hardware stores and receive 10% off purchases, which can increase available funds for ministries. A local church or other United Methodist entity who sets up an account with Ace will receive the 10% discount on facility supplies, paint, cleaning, and maintenance supplies. With locations across the country, Ace offers accessibility in communities of all sizes, affording the church the opportunity to make purchases from the Ace Hardware broad product line of facility supplies and help churches reduce expenses. To learn more about the Ace Hardware program for churches, click here.
For more information on the Ministry Partner program, contact Kellie Schmeal, Relationship Director for GCFA at, or 615-369-2408. 


Helpful Information to Keep Handy

Ministry Financial - Electronic payment of Apportionments and Special Giving
As always, we encourage you to use online payment for your apportionments and special giving.  You may make any advance special donations or Special Sunday donations through Ministry Financial and the Conference will send these funds to the appropriate organization in the following month.  We send electronic payments to the General Conference on Finance & Administration and the General Board of Global Ministry monthly with the detail by churches. You can make these payments whenever you would like and for any amount that you want, or you may set up recurring payments.  Over half of our churches are now using Ministry Financials to make apportionment and special giving payments and are finding it easy to use. Here are instructions to set up payments from your checking account.

PPP Loan forgiveness and other resources
Wegner CPAs is our CPA firm and provides current information on PPP loans and various other COVID resources.  COVID-19 Resource Center | Wegner CPAs



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