Here are some questions most commonly asked of Mission:Dignity.
Can I designate the recipient of my gift?
For tax purposes, you cannot designate a recipient. If you know of someone who may need assistance, we’ll be glad to contact them and see if they might qualify for Mission:Dignity. Call us with their name and address and we'll contact them.
Can I find out the name of the person I am helping?
Gifts for Mission:Dignity go into a common fund from which payments are made and you don’t support a specific person. However, many of our recipients have given us permission to share their names by way of a prayer card. We will be glad to provide you with the name, address and birthday of a retired pastor or widow you can pray for and communicate with. You may even find an opportunity for a service project or meeting a particular need if the person is close by.
I’m concerned when I see a charity use a lot of color printing or slick paper. Is that good stewardship of the dollars people contribute?
First of all, none of the contributions pay for any of the printing costs. Even so, we are very cost-conscious and want to use our resources in the best way possible. We have found that our color pieces are more easily read and help communicate our story better. The higher quality paper usually costs about a penny a page more, holds ink better and feeds through printing and mailing equipment better. This means less waste and actually ends up costing us less overall than inferior grade materials.
How many people are currently helped by Mission:Dignity?
As of the end of 2015, about 1,800 households receive assistance each month. Approximately 60% of the recipients are widows. One out of four recipients is a pastor’s widow age 85 or older.
How much assistance is provided to recipients?
Individuals can qualify for $225 each month. Married couples are eligible for $300. For the neediest persons with at least 25 years of ministerial service and much lower (poverty-level) income limits, these amounts may be doubled to $450 and $600, respectively.
Couldn’t you save money by doing less mailings throughout the year and giving that money to the retirees?
Truthfully, we don’t send out that much mail each year. We usually publish two newsletters, a year-end appeal, and one other special promotion. Our aim is to provide enough information through the year without bombarding someone’s mailbox. Naturally, our monthly donors hear from us more because they get our monthly thank-you letter that contains recipient stories. If anyone wants to opt out of certain mailings, we can easily change the settings on their donor account. Additionally, mailing costs are paid from a different fund altogether and any savings would not be passed on to Mission:Dignity recipients.
I wish I could do more but I am on a modest income myself.
We appreciate your partnership and generosity. One of the ways you can increase your participation is to get others in your church or Sunday school class involved. We can provide you with an information packet that contains a DVD and brochures for everyone. Being a Mission:Dignitary in your church will enable you to multiply your influence and get more people involved in helping those in need.
You say that 100% of my gift goes to help people in need. How is this possible? Surely you have expenses to manage the program.
Years ago, an endowment was established that funds the operating expenses of Mission:Dignity. This covers staff salaries, printing, postage and other expenses. Every dollar of current Mission:Dignity annual gifts is used for monthly distributions to retired SBC ministers, workers and widows in need.
How are recipients selected for the program?
Prospective recipients must complete an application for assistance and provide basic personal and financial information. Applicants must have at least 10 years of paid Southern Baptist service, be 65 years of age or older and retired, plus meet guidelines for income and assets. The income cap is indexed to the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Where does the money come from to fund this assistance?
Mission:Dignity depends primarily on the direct gifts of individuals, businesses, Sunday school classes, groups and churches throughout the SBC. We also have some permanently endowed funds that produce income specifically for payouts to recipients. We will distribute more than $7 million in assistance this year.