Hospitality or Benevolence

by Jan

What is the difference between hospitailty expenses and benevolence expenses? When groceries are brought with a church check to prepare a meal after a church service for the congregation, is that a hospitality expense? Our youth leader took a group to a restaurant for a leisure meal and paid with a church check, is that a hospitality expense?

Know the answer? Face the same situation? Please post your answer or comment by using the "comment" link below. Thank you!

Comments for Hospitality or Benevolence

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 20, 2010
Hospitality Expenses
by: Vickey

Usually a Benevolent fund is used to help members who are in financial need.

Hospitality expenses are usually expenses used to purchase or provide meals, refreshments or entertainment to promote your church. The exact purpose and definition of hospitality expenses are usually outlined in your church policy.

I believe both expenses you mentioned could be classified as hospitality expenses.

Aug 20, 2010
Benevolence or Hospitality
by: Rebecca

I agree with Vickey on the Benevolence part but the way I would handle the Youth director taking a group for a meal would be to use the Youth budget for that expense, because the purpose of the meal would have derived from that department.
In my opinion He (she) would be more careful about such expenses if they knew it would come from their budget.

Aug 20, 2010
Youth Fund
by: Vickey

I agree Rebecca. Our youth minister takes the young people out for pizza sometimes and it always comes out of their youth fund.

Aug 21, 2010
Hospitality or Benevolence
by: Anonymous

So does that mean a pastor, youth leader or other department leader can take a group to a restaurant and church funds pay for it? I thought that meals at a restaurant could only be covered if there was a business purpose, such as a meeting or if a pastor is entertaining a visiting minister, and not just a leisure meal?

I understand the benevolence part, but the hospitality area is somewhat unclear.

Aug 22, 2010
Meal Expenses
by: Vickey

Hospitality expenses are used mostly by nonprofit such as universities. The exact definition is usually included in the organization's policies and procedures. But it is expenses used to promote your organization.

You could not justify using church funds for a staff member or any other group to just enjoy a leisure meal at a restaurant, but there are other situations where it could be justified such as a pizza party for a youth group or a Valentine?s dinner for couples in the church.

These expenses would not necessarily need to be classified as hospitality expenses. Different churches uses different classifications and it would depend on the exact purpose of the expense.
Purpose being the key word here.

Aug 25, 2010
by: Rebecca

Well stated Vickey!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Church Accounting FAQs.

If you want to DIY your payroll, I highly recommend you look at using Gusto! It is very user friendly and their support is awesome! Plus they know how to set up and maintain payrolls for churches and nonprofit organizations.

Note: I am a "partner" of Gusto, but as I have told you before ... I never recommend anything that we or our clients have not tried and love =)

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.