Neighbors in Need Offering FAQS

Learn more about Neighbors in Need special mission offering (SMO), including who receives grants and the various levels of UCC’s support.


Bentley deBardelaben-Phillips
Executive Associate Justice & Local Church Ministries

What is the “Neighbors in Need” special mission offering?

Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice.

Who participates in Neighbors in Need Special Mission Offering? 

Anyone can give a donation by contributing to the Neighbors in Need Special Mission Offering (NIN SMO) either through their congregation’s annual collection drive or anytime online at

How is the offering used? 

Through this offering we express our deep commitment to reaching out and touching our neighbors with justice and compassion. This allows us to speak prophetically to those in power and to advocate for a society where all people have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. In the spirit of Christ, we will seek to confront evil in the world and to alleviate suffering. We will do this through direct service as well as advocacy.

Where and how are the funds dispersed? 

Not only are NIN funds shared with CAIM, they are utilized by staff to develop curated and created social justice resources, i.e. webinars, bible studies, curriculums, advocacy tools, etc. within the program areas of environmental justice, racial justice, LGBTQ justice, economic justice, women’s justice, immigration justice, and more. Additionally, a portion of the monies collected are used to fund grants at the following levels and needs: 

  • Direct Service ($1,000 – $3,000) – provides funding to meet the immediate needs of an individual or group (i.e. food, clothing, utilities).
  • Advocacy ($3,001 – $5,000) – offers funding to assist communities who wish to change policy on a state or federal level via an advocacy campaign.
  • Grass Top ($5,001 – $10,000) – is a highly competitive tier which seeks to award uniquely innovative programs which can be replicated in other settings.

How much money is raised during the NIN SMO on an annual basis? 

On average, this vital offering annually collects around a million dollars* with one third going to CAIM (the Council for American Indian Ministry). *link for actual annual data past 3-5 years.

What percentage of NIN donations are used directly to fund our commitment to service and mission? 

At present, we are pleased to state that nearly 100% of the monies raised from NIN SMO is used to fund our mission projects and programs which include our largest commitments to NIN grants and CAIM.

How are the decisions made to fund various projects and/or programs? 

Decisions on which much of our programs and projects are based on resolutions that have been passed at our General Synod biennial meeting.

How can I contribute to NIN SMO? 

Contributions to the Neighbors in Need Special Mission Offering (NIN SMO) can be managed through their congregation’s annual collection or anytime online at

Neighbors in Need: Stories of Faith & Transformation

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