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The short-term trip participants for our church-sponsored mission trips are given a goal for the funds to raise for the church. For the most recent trip, the funding goal was $1,000 each. Some participants met the goal, some exceeded the goal, and some fell short. We used some of the excess funds to cover the funding needs of those who fell short. Was this appropriate?

Absolutely! In applying excess funds raised to assist those who did not meet their funding goal the church demonstrated it had discretion and control over the funds. This is an important principle in handling funds raised for mission trips.

Dan Busby is a certified public accountant, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and the author of the Zondervan Clergy Tax & Financial Guide.