Almsgiving may not be an outwardly visible part of the Mormon Church, but it is an important part of Mormon doctrine. Members of the Mormon Church are taught to follow Jesus Christ, who said, “I would that ye should do alms unto the poor, but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1–2). Mormon congregations do not pass around collection plates during their services, but each member who wishes to donate money to the church or to the poor can privately submit an envelope to one of the congregation leaders with their donation money and a donation slip. The donation slip lists the following categories for donations: tithing, fast offering, ward missionary fund, general missionary fund, Book of Mormon fund, humanitarian aid, temple construction, Perpetual Education Fund, and "other."
Mormons generally donate money for two purposes—supporting the Church and providing for the poor. The first type of donation is tithing (10% of one's income), which is used to build churches and temples, print church manuals and hymn books, support the Church's educational institutions, and otherwise care for the needs of the Lord's church. One unique thing about the Mormon Church and almsgiving is that Mormon leaders do not receive any money from the members of their congregation. Nearly all church leaders work on a volunteer basis and are not paid. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles receive a modest income, and Mission Presidents receive some modest support during their three years of service in the mission field.
Mormons also pay fast offerings in addition to tithing. This offering accompanies a monthly 24-hour fast. All the money that would have been spent to buy food during those 24 hours is donated to the Church for the purpose of feeding the hungry and caring for the needy.
Attendance at a Mormon church service never requires a monetary donation; however, Jesus Christ said, “I would that ye should do alms unto the poor” (3 Nephi 13:1) and Mormons believe that this is an important part of their service to God. Service to family, church, and community is encouraged by Mormon Church leaders at all times, but especially in times of particular need. The Mormon Church itself has an extensive humanitarian organization that assists members and non-members in many different countries. According to http://www.LDS.org, “from 1985 to 2006, the Mormon Church has shipped 54,905 tons of food and 107,061 tons of other supplies to more than 150 countries. In 2006, the Church provided $14.9 million (USD) in cash and materials in response to the conflict in Lebanon, the earthquake in Indonesia, for refugees in Burundi, Sudan and Uganda, and 76 other disasters.”
“In addition to providing materials, the Church also helps with funds and volunteers. Volunteers often make the most difference in restoring hope in the lives of those in crisis. A recent example is the more than 10,000 days of labor donated by Church members to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and surrounding states.”
The Mormon Church also has a welfare program that provides needy families with assistance while also teaching them to be self-sufficient in any way possible.