Important Dates for Year-End Giving

Generosity // November 20, 2017

Year-end giving is a big deal. According to recent data, 31% of annual charitable giving occurs in December, with 12% of donations given during the last three days of the year. Why is that? Surely it’s because of your inspired preaching during the Advent season, right? Of course it is. 

However, it may also have something to do with a date far into the future—April 15, Tax Day. That’s right: In addition to being motivated by compassion and the “holiday spirit,” many of us want to maximize our charitable contributions before the year runs out.

As you plan your year-end giving strategy, be sure to communicate these important dates:

December 13: eChecks

For people who give via echeck, they’ll want to schedule their contributions by this date. Banks have up to 10 business days to approve or deny echecks. Scheduling by December 13 will ensure the gift counts for 2017.

December 15: Assets

Complicated, non-cash gifts should be initiated by December 15 to allow time for adequate documentation. This includes gifts such as business interests, real estate, and restricted securities.

December 28: ACH*

ACH transactions can’t be settled on weekends, so to count for 2017, ACH transactions must be settled by December 29, 2017. For that to happen, the transaction must be entered by 3 pm CT on December 28, 2017.

December 29: Checks

The date a check is postmarked determines the year in which it may be claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes. The last two days of 2017 fall on a weekend, so givers are wise to mail their checks no later than December 29—preferably by certified mail to have documentation of the date.

December 31: In-Person Gifts

December 31 falls on a Sunday this year, so anyone making a contribution via check or cash during your worship gathering that day can claim it in 2017.

December 31: Credit and Debit Card Transactions*

Donations made via credit card are deductible in the year the actual charge is initiated by the recipient. For credit/debit card transactions charged in real-time, any contribution made up to 11:59 pm CT on December 31, 2017 will count in 2017. For batch-processed credit/debit card transactions (which is likely what your online giving provider is using), the cut-off time is 3 pm CT. (Learn the difference between real-time and batch processing here.)

*Your payment processor may have slightly different requirements. To be certain of cutoff dates and times, contact your provider.

Have you checked out our 2017 Year-End Giving Guide? It’s packed with practical ideas for your church. Download it for free today.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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