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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/