You’ve heard me talk about “connecting the dots” for your church – helping your people see how their giving is making a difference in other people’s lives.
Because many people tend to think of giving only as a means to fund a budget, helping them connect the dots to ministry impact is critical! In fact, it encourages them to continue giving. It shows them the fruits of their efforts, that their generosity is hard at work making a difference.
I thought you would value seeing a video from one of my clients in the St. Louis area. They created this video as part of a series of videos they are showing as part of their one-year anniversary for their One Fund initiative. Wisely, they are intentionally playing the clip just prior to the offering time during the service. While it’s a bit longer than I would typically recommend, what a great way to connect the dots between giving and progress, between generosity and making a difference!
Looking for an in-depth look at how you can design communication to impact giving? Check out my e-book called Generosity Speaks!
Legacy giving can have an amazing impact on your ministry. According to my friends at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), there are many reasons for someone to consider giving a legacy gift from an institutional perspective as it may provide an opportunity to give with income and estate tax deduction.
- It may offer the opportunity to give with income and estate tax deduction.
- It may offer the opportunity to enjoy either a fixed or variable income or even supplement retirement income.
- If highly appreciated assets are contributed, it may avoid or lessen capital-gains tax liabilities.
- It may offer opportunity for increased income compared to other investments.
- It may allow competent management of assets transferred as gifts.
- It may allow donor to pass an asset to an heir after an established period of organizational use.
It was 2001 when Andrea and I first revised our wills and created a basic estate plan.
At that time, we were doing what every young parent should do—put a will in place so that we could determine what would happen to our children and our belongings upon our deaths. If you don’t have a will when you die, then the State determines what happens to your children and your belongings. If you don’t have a will, make one now!
But I have a confession to make. When we executed those documents, charitable giving was not on our minds. I had never been approached by anyone to consider a charitable gift in my will. It wasn’t that I was unwilling to do it, but obviously I didn’t have a clue.
He sat quietly at a side table; dignified salt and pepper hair. Conversation buzzed around him.
The discussion in the room centered around the success of a recent generosity initiative. The next step involved planning appropriate follow-up strategies for the fulfillment phase.
Of the numerous suggestions that came, one involved legacy giving. So he waited for an opportunity before speaking as he had an important story to tell.
How often does the topic of legacy giving come up at your church? Once a quarter? Twice a year? Better yet, what is legacy giving? Legacy giving involves a “deferred gift.” It is a gift one decides to give at a future date, either years from now or at death. It is a present decision to make a future gift.
Most people leave or bequeath these types of gifts through their will or estate plan. Unfortunately, gift planning is rarely discussed in churches across America. Why? Check the list below and tell me if your reason is somewhere on this list.
I just returned, blessed after the 2014 UnEarth Conference in Jacksonville on March 31, and was also able to share information with church leaders from across the country about the topic of generosity. This time I spoke about three specific keys that can impact the giving culture in your church.
Giving in the US (as a percentage of GDP) is lower today than it was during the great depression of the early 1930s. Why is that? Could it be that people don’t have a giving problem, but a giving-to-your-church problem?
Could it be that people aren’t seeing the results of their giving to your church? They want to give where they know their gift will make the greatest impact. Could it be a decrease in loyalty? The “that’s my church” mentality is on the decline.
It happens every weekend. Well, I’m guessing you at least pray for it to happen every weekend. A family who has never been to your church walks in the front door. You identify them by the “I’m-not-sure-where-to-go” confusion on their faces. Your friendly greeter welcome them. You introduce yourself and thank them for coming. You offer them directions to the children’s ministry for the kiddos. You encourage them to get free coffee in the guest area.
We’ve become very good at this part. It’s almost natural, isn’t it? Offering a bit of warmth and hospitality just feels good!
Did you ever get one of those tee shirts from your parents after their amazing vacation trip to Hawaii? Well, I had that same kind of feeling after opening my mail early this year.
It was the feeling of “I gave to your ministry and all I got was this lousy statement.”
Yes, the IRS requires churches and other nonprofit organizations to provide a statement of giving to its donors each year.
But your giving statement doesn’t have to look like it came from the pages of a legal handbook. Quite the contrary, this is yet another opportunity to connect giving to ministry impact!
An interesting shift has happened in our social landscape over the last few years. When people are made to wait—at the doctor’s office, restaurant, coffee shop, or even stoplights (unfortunately)—they rarely just sit and twiddle their thumbs. Instead, you’ll see these waiting areas filled with people with their heads bowed and attention focused entirely on their screens.
You’ve done it, right? Checked sport scores and movie times. Cleared Facebook and Twitter notifications. Browsed Craigslist. Played solitaire. Searched for directions. Checked email. Googled some random question about something or other. Maybe even caught up on the latest episode of your favorite sitcom.