Finances and Financial Responsibility

Philosophy:
All MVSA Unit funds are generated locally through agency stipends, through the pooling of funds from salaried positions, or through contributions and grants from congregations and other organizations. Each MVSA Unit should have at least one unit member and one person from local leadership who are authorized to do banking transactions.

Units are connected financially to the MVSA by monthly reporting. The MVSA's financial responsibility includes establishment of bookkeeping procedures, definition of allowable expenditures, and approval of the use of surplus monies for projects, additional personnel, or the general MVSA program. Audits of local unit treasuries should occur annually at the end of the VS tear. They may also be requested at any time.

Clothing:
Clothing is to be supplied by the volunteer during a two-year or shorter term. When special uniforms or a higher quality of clothing are required, the costs of these will be paid by the employer or the Unit. Volunteers serving longer than 24 months should discuss their long-term needs with the local leadership.

Education:
Volunteers may take advantage of educational resources for vocational and personal growth. Such involvements are, however, secondary to participation in unit life and effective time in one's position.

Special courses or seminars are the expense of the volunteer unless these are directly related to the performance in his/her position or service tasks. Payment for courses or seminars in the latter category can be arranged in several ways:

  • Position-related education should be financed by the sponsoring agency.
  • In some situations local resources, such as the congregation, might wish to underwrite costs for seminars or courses.

Use of Unit funds for education and training must be approved by the local leadership.

Educational/Recreational Allowance:
Each month, $14.50 per volunteer is available from Unit funds for group educational and/or recreational activities. Charges to this education/recreation fund should be a group decision and the majority of the group should participate in the activity. Other recreational activities are the expense of the volunteer and should come from their personal allowances. Under no circumstances should education/recreation money be given to an individual VSer to be spent as personal funds.

Educational Loan Assistance:
Special allowances or plans for school debt repayment will be considered on an individual basis for volunteers with student loans. The basic expectation is that volunteers will postpone payment on all loans while they are in MVS. If loans are deferred but interest continues to accrue, MVSA and local leadership will work with the volunteer in locating alternative methods for paying the interest during the term of service. In special situations where payment of principal cannot be postponed, MVSA will help locate assistance equal to the applicant's minimum loan repayment schedule. It is the intent of MVSA that a volunteer not leave MVS further in debt on student loans than when entering the program.

It is the volunteer's responsibility to care for and respond to deadlines for student loan related matters.

Food Spending Guidelines:
The MVSA programs view food as a justice issue and believe that how we eat and the dollars we spend for food affect the world around us. Volunteers should eat well while being conscious of how their food dollars are spent. For this reason, it is recommended that the Unit household's monthly spending for food should be in keeping with the following guidelines:
1-2 volunteers in unit: $90 per volunteer.
3-5 volunteer in unit: $80 per volunteer.
6 or more volunteers in unit: $65 per volunteer.

Personal Monthly Stipend:
Personal allowances paid to the volunteer from Unit funds should be used for personal expenses such as clothing, personal recreation, haircuts, shoe repair, repair of personal equipment, postage, and other expenses not covered by the Unit.

Monthly stipends may vary from Unit to Unit, according to local costs.

Special Costs:
Special costs for expenses such as nursing fees, license transfer fees, teacher fees, visa costs and other expenses that are incurred because of a volunteer's assignment will be reimbursed from Unit funds.

Supplemental Income:
MVSA calls people to identify with Jesus and stand with the poor and needy in the world. In the Canadian context this demands a move to a less consumptive life. With this in mind, MVSA challenges volunteers to commit to live within the monthly allowance guidelines provided by MVSA.

Independent Income:
Volunteers entering MVSA with income independent of MVSA are invited to share in their own support while in voluntary service. Since personal circumstances vary, such sharing is not mandatory. However, such income is not to be used to enhance the volunteer's lifestyle. It should be directed to savings until the end of the volunteer's term of service.

Volunteers who receive direct support from a congregation or group will have the money directed to the sponsoring congregation and designated for the specific volunteer unit.

Volunteers will not accept gifts of money from their church, friends or relatives. If such money is received, it will be given to the Unit, and if this creates an ongoing surplus or moves the unit outside of the MVSA monthly allowance guidelines, it will be turned over to the sponsoring congregation.

Performing services such as babysitting, speaking, house sitting, etc., are discouraged as this takes the volunteer away from community time with fellow volunteers. If income is received by the volunteer for performing such services, this becomes Unit income.

Transportation and moving: Travel to and from the assignment will be provided for the volunteer out of Unit funds if the length of service is one year or more.

Travel costs are to be at the least expensive mode available.

Volunteers travelling by car will receive 27 cents per kilometre, not exceeding alternative travel. (Please note that the mileage rate paid may fluctuate, as it is based on the standard mileage rate set by Tax Canada for business use of an automobile.) Reimbursement for volunteers who choose to travel by indirect routes or more expensive means will be limited to the cost of economical, direct transportation.

Return transportation costs for volunteers serving one year or more are paid according to the same pattern as travel to the assignment. Volunteers not returning to the location from which they entered service will be reimbursed for travel expenses to their new places of residence, not exceeding the amount spent for travel to the assignment.

Volunteers who go home after their assignments but intend to return to the city in which they served to live permanently will receive from the Unit up to one-half of the price of a round-trip ticket home, not exceeding the amount spent for travel to the assignment.

Persons who terminate their service assignments earlier than indicated on their Volunteer Covenants will NOT receive return transportation costs.

Moving expenses for household goods and personal possessions are not ordinarily covered by MVSA. Volunteers not living in Unit residences and for whom living essentials are not provided (e.g. linens, cookware, dishes, furniture) may be asked to bring personal items. In such cases volunteers may be reimbursed for the transportation of such items.

At times a prospective volunteer will be asked to make a Unit visit before placement. In this situations travel costs will be worked out among the local site, MVSA and the prospective volunteer.

Unit Finances:
In developing a new Unit, it is the responsibility of the local leadership to establish a minimum monthly cash balance to use as an operating fund, also called working cash balance.

Each MVS Unit will appoint a treasurer who will oversee finances, keep records and submit a monthly report of transactions to the local leadership. Bookkeeping procedures will be determined by the local leadership - computer program, traditional ledger, whatever.

Vacation and vacation allowances: Volunteers will receive two weeks of vacation per year. It is important that volunteers who have placements that allow them more flexibility of schedule or more vacation time than allowed by MVSA not take advantage of this. MVS expects the additional time to be spent on location, participating in MVS involvement in the community. The local neighbourhood/community is the primary home and focus for volunteers during a term of service. Lengthy times away from that environment can seriously detract from the fullness and integrity of the MVS experience.

For volunteers with a two-year or more commitment, an annual vacation allowance is paid from Unit funds, as follows:
- Second year: $130.
- Third and following years: $260.

Vacation allowances after the second year will be paid from Unit funds on a pro-rated basis when the final year of service encompasses less than 12 full months.

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 3:11
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