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The Signatry BlogConversations from our thought leaders
Returning to the Lost Vision of Generations
In every age, there are stories that transcend time and culture Such is the story of Abraham. We find him in Genesis 12. His family is first mentioned in Genesis 11. Genesis 1-5 provide the story of Adam and the succeeding generations. The Adam generations are marked by the general mandate: be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. But with little other compass settings by the time of Noah, the chief goal of man appears to be his own self-satisfaction. Stated differently, he lives for himself. And with this self-centeredness, God sets about a grisly plan: the destruction of mankind through flood. Genesis 6-11 are all about this plan, and the new start. In turning the page to Genesis 12, we find an entirely new focus: a single person—Abraham. As if to illustrate that idea, God tells Abraham to leave his family, his kindred and his country behind. It’s a new start. It as if God’s focus is directed entirely towards one man, and placing in that one man a new vision. It’s a vision for generations. Indeed, God tells Abraham “to your offspring I will give this land.” He repeats the vision in Genesis 13: “to your offspring I will give this land forever.” By Genesis 15, God sharpens the vision in one dramatic star-filled night when he tells Abraham that his descendants will be like the innumerable stars of the night sky. By Genesis 22, God tests Abraham to see if he is willing to sacrifice even his treasured son and heir. The vision is repeated with each succeeding generation. And by the time of Moses, the vision is sharpened further still with the Law, a means of communicating a code of conduct for God’s chosen people. The Law would ultimately give way to a Messiah, a redemptive Savior. The vision of generations is marked by these big ideas. The story of God in our lives. A promise of a future place—a promised land. The story of sacrifice—of being willing to let go, to trust and to let God do his work. When these big ideas take root, we are willing to live not just for ourselves but for those yet to come. How do you consider the vision of generations working out in your own life?Read More
Having the Conversation on Asset Giving
Many advisors find that being involved with their client’s giving is one of the most meaningful aspects of their work. Philanthropy is an easy way to build deeper relationships with clients. It not only paves the way for a lasting relationship but offers inroads into the next generation of clients and future givers. When your client is ready for the conversation on giving, discussing their assets will play a vital role in the discussion. The following three points offer an outline that will aid in the conversation. Identify which assets to contribute Whether your client is motivated by philanthropic or tax advantage goals, determining what types of assets they can gift is a crucial first step. The common types of assets that are generally gifted are cash, securities, real estate, or closely held business interest. All of these can be given through a donor advised fund. Timing of gift A recent article in Forbes states, “donating property that has appreciated in value, like stock, can result in a double benefit…not only can you deduct the fair market value of the property (so long as you’ve owned it for at least one year), you will avoid paying capital gains tax” Gift valuation guidelines are established in the current tax regulations. In general, the value of the gift is based on the type of asset and the date of contribution, which is typically the date the asset is delivered to the receiving organization. Gifting a complex asset can be a lengthy process. It is important to evaluate the timing of the gift to ensure it will benefit your client within the current tax year. Selecting a charity Deciding what organizations to support, is usually the most exciting part of the process for your client. For many donors, the organizations they choose often have personal meaning and speak to their experiences. By giving complex assets through The Signatry, donors can make grants to smaller nonprofits that would otherwise be unable to accept complex gifts. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2018/12/11/14-tips-for-making-your-charitable-gift-tax-deductible-in-2018/#65eb5fb5f80cRead More
The Difference in Living Generously
When we think of someone who lives generously, we don’t often focus on the checks they write or the tax breaks they receive. Most often, when we observe someone with a generous lifestyle, we notice how they spend their time, the work they do for the common good, and the character behind their generosity. A generous lifestyle goes beyond charitable donations. It involves a willingness to give of your time, energy, and God-given gifts. Here are three questions to ask if you desire to expand your generosity: Who/how can I serve today? Being generous requires intentionality. By setting your mind to seek out daily opportunities to live generously, your heart will be motived to give in a deeper way. Thinking intentionally about generosity will position you towards situational generosity, where you can meet needs that exist within your community. What can I give besides money? There is a common belief that says you cannot be generous if you don’t have money. However, living generously goes beyond giving financially. Giving through acts of service and volunteer work require time and energy. These two gifts are often more valuable to the recipients than money. Leave a lasting and priceless legacy by using your unique abilities and passions to meet the needs in your community. How does living generously impact your legacy? Giving generously frees you. It loosens the grasp of material possessions and self-involvement. Living generously has a profound impact on your personal character and is a key training ground for younger generations. Making generosity a part of your lifestyle allows you to model and teach biblical values to those around you. A generous lifestyle is an invitation to be a good steward of what God entrusted to you: your time, talents, and treasure. By embracing this mindset, you will leave a lasting impact on your community, family, and eternity.Read More
Purposeful Events—Move from Transaction to Transformation
Events are powerful in building relationships, awareness, and loyalty with your donors. Whether it is a banquet, retreat, golf tournament, or an auction –– events can be a great tool to dramatically grow your support. Plan. An effective event has a strategic purpose, measurable objectives, and a clear outline of the steps needed to achieve your goals. When determining your purpose, it is essential to define your objectives. Are you hosting a fundraising event? If so, how much money do you want to raise? Having a clear understanding of your goals positions your organization to select the best steps to effectively meet them. Engage. The key to a successful event is personal engagement which leads to transformation. Real change happens when your audience begins to move beyond the transaction of giving and focus on the broader experience. Emphasizing the heart and mindset of possible change, and not just money will impact their hearts and partnership is likely to follow. By inviting guests to join in the mission and play an active role in problem-solving, they will see themselves as a part of the story – one where they can be the hero. Review. It is no secret that events require a lot of work. After it is over, you will most likely want to stop thinking about it altogether! But, this is when the real developmental work begins. Measuring your ROI (return on investment) is imperative for planning future events. The data you gather will offer deeper insight into your event expenditure and better understand how it impacts your bottom line. Follow Up. Saying thank you to your volunteers, donors, and sponsors goes a long way. Continuing to engage your donors into the problem they are helping solve rather than a merely transactional receipt, will benefit both your organization and those who support it. And don’t stop with a thank you letter. Call them, engage them, meet for coffee. Get to know your donors! An event is just the beginning of what can be a great donor/ministry relationship!Read More
How Donor Advised Funds are Changing the Giving Industry
Donor advised funds are making the news. An October 3, 2018, Bloomberg article chronicles their rise. More than half of the top ten charities in the country are donor advised fund sponsors. It is now an industry eclipsing more than $85 billion in assets. The industry has added commercial players like Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab. Critics contend that these commercial players’ motives are less charitable and more about fees to manage assets. Some even contend that donor advised funds are about stockpiling assets. But in reality, the majority of donor advised fund entities are community foundations or faith-based entities with no commercial motive. They are focused on community good or doing good in general, not money management. By comparison, the private foundation world represents $800 billion in assets compared to the $85 billion in donor advised funds. Private foundations only require a minimum distribution of 5% annually. In contrast, the National Philanthropic Trust in its 2017 report on donor advised funds noted that donor advised funds on average distribute 20% of their assets each year—far beyond what private foundations are required to do. Further, in 1998, the IRS paved the way for S corporations to donate shares to public charities. Prior to that enactment, the majority of contributions were in the form of cash or publicly traded stock. By opening the door for closely held stock to be contributed, the IRS essentially acknowledged the need to tap into one of America’s vast storehouses of wealth. The majority of corporations in the country are closely held. With the aging of the Boomer generation, many of those corporations are for sale. By allowing for the donation of closely held corporations to public charities an entire new stream of charitable giving is being opened up. Donor advised funds have been the leaders in receiving and monetizing those gifts. As their payout rates of 20% attest, the money doesn’t just sit in waiting. In the coming years, as more and more corporations sell, donor advised funds will continue to be the leader in charitable giving.Read More
Overcoming Common Challenges with Generosity in Estate Planning
Clients rely on advisors for security in their financial planning decisions. Many feel the weight of large financial decisions with implications for family, relationships, and Kingdom impact. To help with this added stress of estate planning, wise stewardship is needed. When it comes to generosity inside of estate planning, it is imperative to have a strategy. Once a plan is in place, your client will feel confident about their charitable giving and excited about the difference they can make within their legacy. One of the first questions many clients ask is how to decide where to give? To create a well-planned…Read More