Allowing others to use empty church facilities seems like an easy call—especially when you can recoup some of the cost of maintaining the facilities. It raises issues of security, damages, and liability that you need to consider carefully before you open your doors. We can help you build a facility use policy with our simple tips.
Building Your Policy
- Know the tax implications. Consider federal and state tax laws when building your policy. The type of organization requesting use and the nature of the event both play into whether you can lend your facilities and whether you can charge fees without jeopardizing your tax-exempt status.
- Establish a fee schedule. Determine under what conditions you will charge for building use. Create a fee schedule that clearly defines the fees for different rooms and different activities.
- Avoid scheduling conflicts. Limit conflicts over scheduling priorities by defining your reservation policy. Decide whether ministry events and congregant requests have preferential scheduling over outside party requests and community events.
- Sweat the small stuff. Include details in your building use policy on what activities and decorations are allowed, whether furniture can be moved, and what to do with dirty dishes. If you don't address an item in your policy, you can't hold people accountable for it.
- Who's in charge? Appoint a facilities manager to track building scheduling and use. The manager should approve building request forms and maintain a centralized scheduling calendar.