6 Reasons Your Church Needs a Planned Giving Program

Living a generous life and giving generously are directly tied to the health of a person’s relationship with God. Weekly giving during Sunday morning worship focuses on the importance of giving 10% of what God has entrusted to us, but what about the other 90%? The 90% often includes accumulated assets, savings, homes, cars, retirement funds, life insurance, etc., which are often given to churches and ministries with a planned giving program and proper policies.

When considering the adoption of a planned giving program, we have heard a few concerns about its effects on weekly giving and overall congregational interest in one; however, we have found through surveys, workshops, and conversations with churches that many individuals are excited to learn that their church has a way to make planned gifts. This is an additional way to leave behind a legacy while supporting the church’s ministry. 

Giving USA reports that an estimated $43.21 billion in planned gifts and bequests were given to non-profits in 2019* with most gifts benefiting non-profits, educational institutions, and other organizations. Whether or not your church is considering starting a planned giving program, here are 6 ways it can benefit your church:

  1. A Christian Witness of Faith & Values: Most Christians’ generous contributions end when they pass away. By giving to a church’s planned giving program, an individual can continue faithfully giving even after this lifetime, leaving a legacy and a powerful Christian witness of their faith and values. 
  2. Maintaining and Continuing the Work of the Church: A gift from an individual’s estate to a church’s planned giving program provides the ability to continue supporting the church’s ministry both now and far into the future.
  3. Individuals Giving Larger Gifts than Otherwise Possible: While most annual gifts come from current income, planned gifts come from accumulated assets when they are no longer needed. A planned gift allows individuals to make meaningful and large gifts to churches and ministries that have have significantly impacted their lives.
  4. Establishing Permanent Living Memorials: Scholarship funds, mission funds, cemetery funds, and other ministry funds are just a few types of living memorials that can be created in the name of an individual as lasting and meaningful ways to minister to others for generations to come.
  5. Attractive Tax Advantages: Many planned gifts offer current charitable tax deductions and options to reduce estate taxes, receive lifetime income, or increase spendable income depending on the type of gift. For a full list of ways to give, visit www.alwfumf.org/ways-to-give.
  6. Enhancing Annual and Capital Giving Programs: As individuals make planned gift commitments to their church, there is often a renewed interest and involvement in the church and its ministries, leading to increased annual financial support.

If your church is interested in learning more about creating a planned giving program, policies to accept these gifts, or interested in the Foundation managing these gifts, contact Terri Turner at [email protected] or 334-793-6820.

*Article adapted from “6 Reasons Your Church Needs a Planned Giving Program” by David L. Heetland at Lewis Center for Church Leadership

*Giving USA data https://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2020-charitable-giving-showed-solid-growth-climbing-to-449-64-billion-in-2019-one-of-the-highest-years-for-giving-on-record/