Friday, April 25, 2008

FAQ's about missionary support

FAQ’s About Missionary Support

How are Home Office expenses funded?
The amount raised by the missionaries for the home office covers about 30% - 35% of the cost of home office services. TEAM seeks to raise the balance through contributions that are designated for TEAM, and from careful investment of fund balances and the "cash-flow."

What percentage of my contribution will be used for home office expenses?
TEAM does not “tax” contributions. Part of the support to be raised by missionaries is a fixed monthly amount that is used by TEAM to provide a number of services for the missionaries. Once this fixed amount is raised, every cent of every contribution goes into the missionaries' support account. The present amount to be raised is $2000 for a single and $400 for a couple.

Does the amount differ according to the field of service?
No. The cost of the services is much the same for each missionary so each one raises the same amount. When averaged over all of TEAM’s ministry areas, about 8% of contributions made to missionaries regular monthly support go towards running the home office.

If I occasionally add an extra $100 to my contribution for my missionary, how much do you deduct for the home office?
Not a cent! The entire gift goes into the ministry account of the missionary.

What if I send a birthday or Christmas gift for my missionary?
No problem. We’ll send the full amount on with the next remittance to the field. Personal gifts are acknowledged with a non-tax-deductible receipt.

How much of my contribution goes to salary?
Depending on the ministry, about 59¢ of every dollar is used for salary and housing. The balance is for non-salary items such as transportation, ministry expenses, etc.

How does TEAM demonstrate its accountability for money contributed?
TEAM is a member of the the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and complies with ECFA’s Standards Of Responsible Stewardship. We are audited annually by an independent audit firm. We are also members of the Interdenominational Foreign Missions Association (IFMA) and, among other requirements, must submit audited financial statements annually. TEAM’s financial statements are sent to individuals and churches on request.

What happens if the missionary receives support beyond the monthly requirement?
Some people contribute quarterly, some monthly and some annually. Over a year the support averages out. If there is “over support” it goes into the missionary’s ministry on the field.

How does TEAM care for health and retirement needs?
TEAM provides a healthcare plan that includes medical, dental and vision coverage as well as a small life insurance component. The annual deductible amount is $100. Single missionaries raise $225 the enable TEAM to fund this plan, plus pay $25 per month personally from their salary for this coverage. For couples the amounts are $450/$50 per month and for families the amounts are $675/$75 per month. TEAM also provides a retirement savings plan (a 403b plan) for which singles raise $80 per month ($160 per couple or family) to enable TEAM to provide a matching contribution to the amount saved by each missionary for retirement.

How are salaries set?
TEAM’s compensation package includes salary and housing. For the salary component, the annual base rate is adjusted each year to equal 75.0% of the average U.S. teacher salary listed by the American Federation of Teachers for the most recent year ( The salary for a single missionary will be 65% of the base rate, the combined living allowance for a couple will be 85% of the base rate and the living allowance for a family will be 100% of the base rate. The housing component is separate from this and is determined by actual need in the ministry area, rather than a centralized formula.

How do you adjust these salaries for the different ministry areas?
TEAM purchase a “goods and services index” for the countries where missionaries serve from a company that specializes in international compensation and has worked with mission groups for years. By applying this index we us a cost of living adjustment to ensure that buying power is similar for each missionary.

Are missionaries required to take full salary?
Any missionary may reduce their salary by as much as 30% of the recommended amount. Although missionaries may be able to live in their ministry area on less than full salary, we encourage saving for future needs or retirement and desire missionaries to draw the full allowed salary amount. TEAM has attempted to set the amount of missionary salary at a reasonable level: neither too-frugal to make life unnecessarily difficult, nor so high that we are not good stewards of God’s resources.

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