See more of The Signatry community in action.

The Signatry Blog

Filter Posts

Categories
Topics
Advisor

Become a Trusted Voice on Inheritance Planning

3 months ago By Jake Tometich

Amid the well-publicized $60+ trillion intergenerational wealth transfer taking place, many of your clients may be the provider or receiver of an inheritance. This is an opportune time to help your clients and their families thoroughly incorporate inheritance into their estate planning. Most inheritances are “small” — at least, they may be smaller sums than we expect. The Federal Reserve has stated about 50% of all inheritances amount to $50,000 or less, and approximately 30% are between $50,000 and $250,000. Only 2% of all inheritances exceed $1 million. For most, maximizing the use of every dollar in an inheritance is a high priority. You can help your clients maximize these dollars by offering practical decision-making advice as well as the financial planning tools to execute their decisions. This is an opportunity to become a trusted resource for your client’s whole family. In over 90% of wealth transfers from one generation to the next, the financial advisor of the giver loses the client relationship to the advisor of the recipient. Your expertise and care for your client’s future generations, as well as the client’s inheritance and estate planning goals, can help strengthen those relationships. The heart behind the inheritance Determining who receives an inheritance and how much each person receives can be a difficult, emotional process. You can help your client weigh these decisions. For example, Bill High suggests five questions your clients can ask about their inheritors’ readiness to receive. Your client may also want to discuss the opportunities to include a charitable organization as a beneficiary of their inheritance. And if your client feels unsure about where to begin, you can help them get started by discussing the principles of inheritance in the Bible. Complex estate planning tools for your clients Furthermore, there’s an opportunity to become the legacy giving expert among donors and non-profits in your community. You can help your clients, their inheritors, and any charities they support understand the giving and estate planning tools available. Inherited non-cash assets — including private business interests, collectibles, and real estate — are more complex than cash gifts. These complex gifts are where The Signatry can add tremendous value by working with you to navigate the nuances and challenges inherent with these noncash inheritances. For example, charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder unitrusts are just two of the many tools your clients could use right now to build a sustainable, generosity-driven estate plan. The Signatry can help you and your clients sort through the details. Whatever the size or complexity, helping your clients think through decisions about their inheritance and estate plans now can reap enormous benefits for your clients, their inheritors, and the causes they are passionate about supporting.

Read More
Family

What is Transformational Generosity?

3 months ago By The Signatry

What does generosity mean, really? It is often equated with financial giving, but it clearly goes beyond the number of dollars given away. In Scripture, we read how God intends generosity to be transformational. Biblical generosity means changing the way we think about all of our resources, not just money, in order to uplift others, strengthen relationships, and glorify God. So how can we embrace this transformational definition of generosity and shift how we give? It begins by unpacking a few major characteristics of generosity in Scripture.

Read More
Nonprofits

How to Prepare for Year-End Giving

3 months ago By Kristin Hammett

With fall upon us, the cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice everything, the year-end giving season is also here. The 2022 Year-End Giving will be interesting to watch. The 2022 Giving USA report, measuring 2021 giving numbers, reported an overall increase in giving of 4%, but when adjusted for inflation, it was down 0.7%. Giving from individuals increased nearly 5% over 2020, but remains below 70% of all giving for the 4th year in a row. Additionally, bequest gifts were down by over 7%. In light of the current giving climate, I have three ideas for nonprofit leaders to develop strong year-end messaging and successful year-end fundraising campaigns. Show your stuff. As you fine-tune your year-end messaging, consider sharing your impact through statistics and stories. Great messaging happens throughout the year, but year-end is the time to reinforce the impact you have been demonstrating all along. Share your success through progress reports, social media posts, videos (professional or organic from your phone), email, direct mail, phone calls, and personal meetings. Do it all. Tell your story well. The end of the year is the time to remind donors of the impact their generosity has within your work. As they contemplate their year-end giving decisions, be certain they understand the impact their gift has on those you serve. Be confident in the work God is accomplishing through your nonprofit! Motivate mid-level donors. When planning your end of year fundraising efforts, remember your mid-range donors. They are a valuable donor group that is discerning how to maintain generosity in a high-inflation environment. They consider tax implications of donating—or not. You need a messaging strategy which speaks to them directly. Reinforce the importance of the work they are accomplishing with their gift. Remind them they are solving problems and helping meet the needs of people you serve. Steward this relationship well – it may be at risk! Educate them on charitable bunching strategies – giving more through a donor advised fund one year and taking the standard deduction the next year. Segment your mid-level donors and send additional communication tailored with a special year-end message for them. Emphasize existing partners Often the trendy nonprofit fundraising idea is to attract new donors, but your year-end fundraising campaigns should focus on current donors. It is not wrong to get new donors, but invest more time in those already committed to the work you do. Building long-term relationships with donors leads these individuals to give large donations down the line that can help your organization the most. According to Bloomberg, most major gifts are given after 5 years of giving to an organization. Spend your time on those who have already demonstrated a commitment to your work. Donor acquisition strategies can take place the rest of the year. Remember, you cannot control the economy, global events, or a donor’s family circumstances. You CAN control your year-end message, how you communicate it, and to whom you communicate it. As you plan your year-end fundraising strategy, focus on what you are accomplishing. The problems you are helping solve are important. Donors partner with your nonprofit to make an impact. The impact of a year-end donation does not change.

Read More
Advisor

Advisors’ 2022 Year End Giving Strategies

3 months ago By Jake Tometich

The end of 2022 is drawing near, and that means that year-end planning conversations with clients are on the rise. Year end presents you with a unique opportunity to build relationships and trust with your clients—and their families—by showing them how they can increase their generosity through year-end giving. Set yourself apart and provide insight into unique ways your client can expand their end of year charitable giving, potentially increasing their tax deductions. Below is a checklist of key year-end giving strategies to share with your clients. 1. Year End Giving Strategy #1: IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution IRA accounts with owners 70 ½ or older can satisfy the required minimum distribution (RMD) up to $100,000 with a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly to a charity or designated fund. Since a QCD is a gift of pre-tax dollars, the income is never taxed. Read more on IRA giving here. Please note that QCDs must be clearly marked. A donor advised fund (DAF) is not an eligible recipient of a QCD. The Signatry offers other fund types that may receive a QCD, including designated funds. Grants from a designated fund can only be sent to a single charity. Learn more here. 2. Year End Giving Strategy #2: Stock Giving Selling publicly traded stock and giving the proceeds to charity has been a common year-end giving strategy for many investors. A better approach is to give publicly traded stock (which has been held for at least one year) directly to the charity before it’s sold. This method can increase the level of support to the charity because it will not incur capital gains tax on the donated stock once it is sold. However, charities are often not equipped to handle these types of noncash gifts. A donor advised fund (DAF) can help bridge the gap. DAFs at The Signatry are equipped to accept publicly traded stock gifts, which are generally liquidated quickly without incurring capital gains tax. The funds can then be granted out to a public charity your client recommends. It is a simple solution that helps minimize tax burden. By encouraging your client to set up a DAF, you can simplify the giving process and further the impact of generosity while eliminating a lot of extra work for the clients’ favorite charities. 3. Year End Giving Strategy #3: Charitable Bunching Bunching deductions is, in short, contributing more than one year’s worth of normal charitable contributions in a single tax year to achieve a deductible amount higher than the standard deduction. This is also known as charitable bunching, and it can help minimize your clients’ tax burdens in the long run and maximize what they can give to charity. Example: A donor contributes 3 years’ worth of donations into a DAF. Because the donation is so large, the donor itemizes in that year and receives a tax deduction for the entire amount of their contribution. In later years, the donor recommends grants to charities from the DAF. This creates no additional tax deduction for the donor, but in those years the donor takes the standard deduction instead of itemizing. – As year-end and year end giving conversations approach, remember that you have an incredible opportunity to come together for God’s Kingdom and support the ministries serving those in need by providing year end giving insights and options for your clients. 1 Corinthians 12:14 says “For the body is not one member, but many.” To learn more about how your gifts can make a lasting impact at The Signatry, contact me at [email protected] to get started. Disclaimer: The Signatry does not provide legal, tax, financial or other professional advice. You should consult professional advisors concerning the legal, tax, or financial consequences of your charitable activities.

Read More
Family

Estate Plans, Life Insurance, and Donor Advised Funds

3 months ago By The Signatry

As you think through estate planning, here are some ways that you can continue your legacy of generosity through your life insurance and charitable beneficiaries. Donor advised funds are tools not only for today’s generosity but also for a legacy that endures even after your passing. Donors can maximize the power of their donor advised fund by naming their fund as the beneficiary of life insurance, retirement accounts, and other similar assets. Learn more about how to integrate lasting generosity through your estate planning by using these creative donor advised fund options. Life Insurance There are a couple of different estate planning strategies that can expand your generosity by including a donor advised fund as a life insurance beneficiary: Name your donor advised fund at The Signatry as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. By doing this, the proceeds of the policy will be placed in your donor advised fund and can be granted to charities you have recommended. While there is no income tax deduction in this strategy, this option still allows for incredible generosity to flow from the proceeds of the life insurance policy when the policy owner passes away. Gift your current policy. By donating a life insurance policy, The Signatry becomes the owner of the policy, which would include responsibility for paying any unpaid premiums. The donor may receive a charitable income tax deduction, and when the donor eventually passes away, the proceeds from the policy will go to his/her donor advised fund and can be granted to recommended charities. We encourage you to connect with our team to learn more about how your scenario matches a specific estate planning strategy. Charitable Beneficiaries We typically think of naming children as beneficiaries within estate plans. What about including charities? Naming a charitable beneficiary is one great way to prioritize generosity in your estate plan. Here are just a couple ways a donor advised fund could serve as that charitable beneficiary: Name your donor advised fund as a beneficiary in your will. There are multiple types of bequests that you could use to designate how your estate will be distributed. You could specify set dollar amounts to be contributed to a donor advised fund when the estate is distributed. Alternatively, you could allocate a portion of the estate to be contributed to the fund. We encourage you to discuss options with your professional advisor and see how a donor advised fund works best for the generosity you wish to see carried on after your passing. Name your donor advised fund as a beneficiary of your charitable remainder trust. Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) are often used in estate planning, but they present a challenge: beneficiaries must be named when the trust is first established. If your wishes change later, it can be expensive to modify the CRT. One way to add more flexibility is to name your donor advised fund as the charitable beneficiary of the trust. In this scenario, the CRT must be distributed to one or more charitable organizations, but which charities will be supported can change even after the trust is established. Within the donor advised fund, the donor and his or her family can modify the recommended beneficiaries. An added benefit is that, if the donor wishes, his or her financial advisor can manage the assets in the donor advised fund. — These ideas are just a handful of the myriad of ways you can include generosity in your estate plans. We encourage you to discuss these and other options with your professional advisor. Through life insurance policies, charitable beneficiaries, and more, you can create a unique path that supports your estate planning goals, both financially and spiritually, all through your donor advised fund. This ultimately is the heart of The Signatry—we want to both inspire and to facilitate incredible generosity.

Read More
Nonprofits

Cash Isn’t Really King: Noncash Contribution Strategies

3 months ago By Kristin Hammett

The Signatry works with nonprofit leaders to strengthen their development strategies by helping them engage in major donor conversations, including conversations about noncash contributions. We talk a lot about noncash gifts and we want to be sure our impact partners understand the significant opportunities available. Noncash charitable contributions can benefit both the donor and the recipient. What does “noncash” really mean? When talking about noncash contributions, we mean wealth outside of the checkbook. This can be anything from stocks to cryptocurrency to real estate and business interests. The Signatry’s team has experience managing all of these gift types. God owns it all and has entrusted it to donors’ care and stewardship. He wants us to hold everything we have with open hands. Isn’t cash king? Net Worth Breakdown   |   Giving Breakdown In a word? No. 90% of America’s wealth is in assets other than cash. Only 10% of our wealth is in the checkbook. Yet, 80% of giving happens in cash, and only 20% of charitable investment is given from the larger, noncash bucket. There is an enormous opportunity to help donors think differently about how they give: even their noncash assets could become part of their generosity plan. How can a nonprofit work with major donors? Nonprofit leaders are uniquely positioned to connect God’s resources and His work. That often starts with education. Donors don’t know what they don’t know. Before talking through the details of an asset gift, donors need to better understand the work the organization is doing and where their gift is going. A big vision, clearly expressed, serves as a catalyst for transformational generosity. When donors are engaged in the work and excited by the vision, development officers can share the opportunity to give differently and more generously. Here are some ideas to consider in your donor conversations: Start planting seeds. Include noncash contribution options on your donation page. Share the opportunity in your newsletter and your email footer. Discover more verbiage ideas in the Asset Gift Based Referral Language Guide. Share the opportunity. Look through your donor list for business owners. Begin to ask them questions about the business: What does your business do? What do you and your family like about it? You’ll find more questions in our Noncash Asset Fundraising Guide. Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to be the technical expert. Consider The Signatry your partner for complex, noncash contributions. We have attorneys and accountants who can help guide the donor through the process. Nonprofit and ministry organizations are doing the most important work there is. From Bible translation and evangelism to education and health care, the work matters, and it is worthy of all the generosity tools available. Transformational gifts have transformational impact.

Read More
Family

Generosity that Lasts for Generations

3 months ago By Vyne Legacy

We all want our families to carry out our values and spirit of generosity, but how can you translate the desire for a strong family legacy into something truly attainable? At Vyne Legacy, an educational ministry of The Signatry, we are focused on equipping families to bear fruit for generations, so today we want to share a few steps that we teach to build lasting family values and generosity. Over the years while working with families, we noticed a common theme. Families who are sure of their values tend to be more connected and to live more generously. When a family knows what it stands for and has its circle to stand with, that clarity and community usually leads to impactful, meaningful action. That’s it—one of the simplest keys to generosity that will last and transform your family: Communicate your values. If you want to begin developing your family values and growing your family’s generosity, you can start with a few steps: 1. Invest your time and behaviors in what you care about. You must be the first one to exemplify the values you want your family to share. Whether you have young children or are an empty nester, how you act and where you put your time and energy speaks clearly about your values. Your financial giving can’t be disconnected from the way you live or the attitudes you hold. Children, even from a young age, will pick up on those behaviors. Remember, your actions are a form of communication. 2. Connect the dots between actions and family values. One common mistake we see families make is to assume their values are clear. While your actions or the charities you support might be evident, have you truly connected the dots to articulate exactly what the driving value is? Do you continue to repeat that theme? True, lasting, transformational generosity starts when your family is clear on why they give. We encourage families to identify 3-5 values and create short statements to describe these. Your family can’t practice what they haven’t been taught; family values statements give you a tool to solidify and reinforce what and why you support these causes. (If you want to learn more about how to develop your own values, vision, and mission as a family, click here for more about our course for families.) 3. Open up family leadership opportunities. As you live with intentionality, repeating your core values and engaging with your family, look for ways to pass the baton. Create opportunities for other family members to lead during each step of the giving process. Being able to take the practice from start to finish—identifying the value, choosing a cause and organization, and deciding how to engage in generosity—teaches each family member how to engage in a generous life as they grow. Even for young kids, early chances to learn to make decisions will help reinforce values and teach them exactly how to engage in the process. Sharing these responsibilities will also look different in different seasons of life, so giving everyone the opportunity to participate will deepen connection even through the various seasons. Family values lead to family legacy. We always say that generosity is the great equalizer because, even with differing opinions in the family or in conversations about wealth, generosity becomes a place of equal participation. You all have a common goal to work toward together—to create meaningful, positive change in the world—and there are few things which can so easily unify a family. We hope this is an encouraging way to think about the basics of your family generosity. No giving plan or list of charities will fully connect with your family until you all are clear on your purpose and values together. That’s where it gets good! Solidifying your family’s values opens up the door to clarity on what matters, to deep connections, and to exciting, transformational generosity. Better yet, those clearly articulated and embodied values provide a simple pathway for future generations to understand and follow themselves. Let’s live generously for generations just as God intended.

Read More
Family

Use a Donor Advised Fund to Engage Your Family at Year-End

3 months ago By The Signatry

As the end of the year approaches, consider this question in your year-end conversations: how can I engage my family in building a strategy for year-end charitable contributions? Nearly a third of annual giving occurs in December, with 12% happening in the last three days of the year. While it is important to support nonprofits year-round, chances are you will make some charitable contributions sometime during the final two months of this year—what better time to engage the entire family and practice generosity together?  A donor advised fund (DAF) at The Signatry is an excellent tool that can serve as a home base for your family’s generosity while also minimizing your tax burden. Here are just a few of the reasons to include your whole family in a year-end conversation through a DAF at The Signatry this year.  A DAF allows everyone to contribute. By having your whole family on a donor advised fund, you can encourage all family members to make their own charitable contributions and see them show up within the platform. Whether $5 or $5,000, make every family member’s act of generosity play a part in one final, year-end grant recommendation to impact a favorite charity you chose together.  A DAF sets up your family for generations. Come together as a family to write a fund name and mission statement, then add it to your online DAF profile. This unique option in The Signatry’s platform exists to help you communicate to your family the intent behind the grants you recommend to ministries around the globe.  While you are writing a mission statement together, you can recommend your future generations as successors to the DAF. This creates a space to explain the importance of inheriting the fund and its mission and the value of carrying out these acts of generosity for years to come.  A DAF allows you to teach creative generosity. You can get creative with a DAF through both contributions and grant recommendations. If you have the ability, show your family members how to contribute gifts of stock or business interest. When it is time to recommend grants, The Signatry’s platform has a charity search tool that allows you to compare charities in similar fields and see the work they are doing. If your family decides to support multiple charities, it is easy to submit new recommendations in one place rather than giving on multiple different websites.  A DAF provides a track record. With your grant history recorded in one place, you can refine your family’s giving decisions based on how you have given in the past. It can be difficult to remember how much you gave last year and to where. With a DAF, you can look to see if you want to invest in the same ministries as last year, with the same amount, or spread out your acts of generosity.  A DAF invites everyone to participate.  Your family DAF does not have to hold a lot in order to teach family generosity. A DAF with The Signatry has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly minimum charges. The minimum amount for a one-time grant out to a nonprofit is $100. Supporting nonprofits with even this amount is a great opportunity to build the habits of generosity with younger family members. God is honored when we choose to trust Him, and these acts of generosity draw our families closer together around His love.  As you engage your family in year-end conversations and discuss using a donor advised fund to grow your generosity, visit our Start a Fund page to start your generosity journey today. 

Read More
Featured

Five Principles of Inheritance in the Bible

3 months ago By Bill High

What does the Bible say about leaving an inheritance? Although the Bible is clear that a good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22), the Bible doesn’t prescribe what that inheritance should be or how much the inheritance should be. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked: “How much should I leave my children?”  There are at least 5 principles of inheritance in the Bible that deserve attention.  Principle One: It’s Your Responsibility to Provide Order. Sometimes in a planning conversation, I will hear a parent say, “Well, what do I care? I’ll be gone. My kids can figure it out.” When King David was nearing his last days, his kingdom was not in order. His successor to the throne was not clearly in place, and in absence of that clarity, his son Adonijah seized the throne. His wife Bathsheba was forced to go to King David and make clear that Solomon was to be king. She stated boldly, “And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him” (I Kings 1:20). As a parent, it was David’s role to designate who would come after him. Similarly, it’s our responsibility to provide a clear plan for our children’s inheritance based on these biblical principles.  Principle Two: God Desires Generations. Our western culture has taught us to raise our children to independence—for our children to go on and live their own lives. That notion of independence has sometimes led to separation, and even encouraged a departure from values. But God desires for families and their values to continue for generations. Consider God’s command to Abraham as a guideline for inheritance in the Bible: “And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations’” (Genesis 17:9). As we consider leaving an inheritance, it should be with the notion that we want our family to continue for generations in an ongoing covenant.  Principle Three: Pass on Values Through Your Family Story. One of the most powerful forms of biblical inheritance is the family story. Can your children and even grandchildren tell how you met, your struggles, your growth—the stories that make your family unique? In the Old Testament as part of the annual Passover celebration, God prescribed that the celebration should always start with the youngest child asking a question: What do you mean by this service? (Exodus 12:25-27). This question was the impetus to start the storytelling, the remembrance of what God had done for them.  Principle Four: Love Equally but Treat According to Responsibility. While we should endeavor to love our children equally, it doesn’t mean that we should give them an equal inheritance. We see biblical inheritance played out when Israel blessed his 12 sons in Genesis 49. The oldest son, Reuben, should have received a double inheritance, but he was unfaithful, so he didn’t get the share. Similarly, sons 2 & 3, Simeon and Levi, had fierce anger, so they were disqualified. It was the fourth son, Judah, who got the double portion. As a practical matter, the larger the estate and the larger the responsibility, the more likely that there may be a need for unequal inheritance.  Principle Five: Inheritance as Mission. While there’s little doubt that leaving an inheritance is a great gift, in Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, David Green states that the first inheritance should be a set of values, virtues and work ethic. When it comes to financial wealth—particularly when larger amounts are involved—David points out that he would rather not have wealth if it meant losing one of his children or grandchildren for eternity. The more a family is aligned around a vision, a mission and a set of values, there’s a greater reason to keep family wealth together as biblical inheritances teaches.  There’s little doubt that I’ve only skimmed the surface on the biblical principles of inheritance. More of these thoughts and ideas can be found in David Green’s book noted above. However, I invite your thoughts and views. Email me at [email protected] 

Read More
Nonprofits

5 Tips to Connect with Donors in your Year-End Fundraising

3 months ago By Kristin Hammett

I read a meme in August that said, “School is starting … buy your Halloween costumes, pick out your turkey, and do your Christmas shopping. Happy New Year!” I resonate with this, and I am sure you do, too. Your donors probably do, too. Year-end fundraising is probably the busiest and most critical part of a nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. How can you best connect with your donors during this busy time? How can you best engage them and make the case for year-end giving? Over 30% of all charitable giving happens in December, so there is a lot of opportunity left as you shape your year-end fundraising ideas and message for you to articulate your work, differentiate your nonprofit, and connect with your donors. In an effort to come alongside you, equip you in development work, and partner with you in major donor conversations, I want to encourage you to look for ways to differentiate yourself and use these year-end fundraising ideas.  5 Tips to Connect with Donors in your Year-End Fundraising Connect with donors personally. As a part of your year-end giving campaign text donors, email them personally, call them, or write them a note. There are lots of ways to effectively connect with donors. Thank them for their support, share the impact of the work, and ask for continued investment in the work. Always ask how they are and how you can pray for them. Relationship matters, and people want to feel valued.  Expand donors’ giving capacity. 90% of Americans’ wealth is in assets outside of cash, yet 80% of giving is from cash. There is a significant opportunity to educate donors on how to give assets. Start with publicly traded securities, like stocks. I just talked with a ministry today who brought this up in a conversation while connecting with a donor, and they chose to give at year end with appreciated stock. It is a smart and efficient way for donors to give more and save tax, and it sets you apart. In uncertain economic times, this helps donors consider a whole new category for giving. This can include private business interest, real estate and a variety of other non-cash assets.   Give donors context. Donors are looking at their year-end giving plans, they are listening for what you will do with their gift. Speak the language of the giver. Tell them how their gift will make a difference. Investors do not want to see a short-term fix, they want to bring transformation.   For example, my husband and I recently met with a pregnancy center ministry we have supported for some time. The ministry leaders shared how the timeline for the women they serve has accelerated, creating a greater need for early intervention activity by the ministry. Understanding how they have adapted their interaction helped us, as donors, understand more about the urgency and need for increased investment in the cause.  Make the case for support. With so many things vying for their attention, especially at year end, donors may not have your organization top of mind, so clarity is key in every medium of donor communication. Share your mission and vision, the problem you are solving, your method or solution, the impact you have, and how you want donors to support the work.  Celebrate! In this year-end fundraising season, share with donors how God has used them. How exciting that the God of the universe would use them to help accomplish His work! Show them how God provided. Consider sharing a donor story and how God has connected their hearts with your work. Applaud the story of one. Connect a donor to the transformation of one person’s life. Help the donor empathize and understand what was accomplished through their generosity.  The last days of 2022 will go by quickly. Block time today. Fine-tune your year-end fundraising strategies to differentiate your organization. Set time apart to intentionally connect with donors. Help them understand the context of the work and make a clear case for their generous support. As you serve donors well, share all opportunities to give outside the checkbook, too. Enjoy this season of connecting donors with the work God is doing through your nonprofit!

Read More
News

Maximize Impact: 2022 Charitable Contribution Limit

4 months ago By The Signatry

For many families, the last three years have provided a rollercoaster of emotions, finances, schedules, and lifestyle. Throughout the same period, charities encountered new operational challenges and similar hardships. One thing remained strong throughout the first two years of the pandemic: the generosity of God’s people impacting ministries on a global scale. Therefore, how can we continue to maximize our impact through charitable contributions as we near the end of 2022?  Looking Ahead Tax benefits for charitable contributions: Current tax law offers charitable deductions to donors who itemize taxes and contribute cash or appreciated non-cash assets held for more than a year. So, what is the charitable contribution limit in 2022? Donors may claim a tax deduction for non-cash asset gifts to qualified public charities and donor advised funds up to 30% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). For cash gifts, the charitable contribution tax deduction limit rises to 50% to 60% of one’s AGI, depending on other charitable giving. Donation amounts in excess of these limits may be carried over for up to five tax years.  Giving More in 2022 There are a few main strategies to know as a donor seeking to maximize impact through charitable contributions with their current assets in 2022.  Give appreciated non-cash assets instead of cash For those who itemize deductions, giving capital assets such as stock, cryptocurrency, real estate, or business interest to a donor advised fund may maximize your generosity and minimize taxes. Beyond claiming a deduction for the fair market value of an asset, donors can avoid the capital gains tax they would otherwise incur if they sold the asset and then donated the cash proceeds. This can mean even more going to charity and less to taxes, as shown in the example below.  This example is only for illustrative purposes of a publicly traded appreciated stock gift. This scenario assumes a cost basis of $20,000, a fair market value of $50,000, ordinary income tax rate of 37%, and capital gains tax rate of 25%. Leverage deduction rules or a bunching strategy Bunch contributions. You may find that the total of your itemized deductions for 2022 will be slightly below the level of the standard deduction. You might find it beneficial to bunch 2022 and 2023 charitable contributions this year: itemize deductions on 2022 taxes, and take the standard deduction on 2023 taxes. In addition to achieving a large charitable impact now, this strategy could produce a larger deduction in the first year than two separate years of itemized deductions, depending on your contribution amounts and filing status. With a donor advised fund, you can recommend a schedule of gifts to go out across the two years and add any additional amounts from the itemized 2022 return as bonus gifts to charities.  Stocks and Charitable Giving Appreciated stocks donated to a DAF before they are sold do not affect the donor’s capital gains taxes. Donating appreciated stocks before they sell is another strategy to minimize tax burden and maximize generosity. Learn more here  Consider Retirement Assets Make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) of IRA assets. Individuals age 70½ and older can direct up to $100,000 per year, tax-free, from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to operating charities through qualified charitable distributions (QCDs). By reducing your IRA balance, a QCD may also reduce your required minimum distribution (RMD) in future years, lower your taxable estate, and limit your beneficiaries’ tax liability. A donor advised fund is not an eligible recipient of a QCD—a distribution from your IRA to a DAF will not be tax-free. The Signatry offers other giving methods that may receive a QCD, including designated funds. Grants from a designated fund can only be sent to a single charity. Learn more here.  What Can You Do Next to Maximize your Impact? The Signatry has resources and information online to help guide your charitable contributions strategy and generosity journey:   Create a family mission statement Invest in alignment with your goals and passions Bring your advisor into your generosity journey Become a Cause Champion giver For insights specific to the strategies discussed in this article, donors are invited to review these articles:  Donating a complex, non-cash asset Bunching charitable contributions Making Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) If you are contemplating any of the strategies highlighted above, consult with your tax, financial, and legal advisors. Donors and advisors can also call us at 913-310-0279 for more information and to set up a meeting.   

Read More
Advisor

Exploring Noncash Charitable Contributions with Clients

5 months ago By Jake Tometich

Since most American citizens’ wealth is held in non-cash assets, many of your clients may be interested in gifting these types of assets to their church or other nonprofit organization. Some nonprofits might not be equipped to facilitate such gifts, but this should not be an impediment to your client’s generosity goals. Navigating noncash charitable contributions is a specialty of The Signatry. Gifting complex assets provides your client the opportunity to use more of their resources to deepen their Kingdom impact. But with added complexity, gifting these assets requires extra planning and care. Our team can bridge the knowledge and experience gap. We can work with you and the donor to review issues such as timing, taxes, and potential risks and benefits to help determine if a complex, noncash charitable contribution is the right choice. When might a noncash charitable contribution make sense? Complex asset gifts are a natural by-product of major liquidity events you may be discussing with your clients and investors—especially C-suite executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs. The key is to complete the donation before your client sells the asset. Complex assets often have a low-cost basis, which can generate large capital gains and capital gains taxes. Gifting these assets can significantly lower (or eliminate entirely) capital gains taxes while providing income tax deductions on the fair market value of the asset. What steps are involved in preparing a noncash gift? To determine the fair market value of a complex asset, you and your client must arrange a qualified appraisal of the asset. There are restrictions on the timing of the appraisal relative to the potential gift, and the obligation to obtain the appraisal falls to the donor. The donor is also responsible for submitting an IRS Form 8283 with his or her tax return, which states the gift’s fair market value. The form must be signed by the appraiser, the organization receiving the gift, and the taxpayer. Every noncash charitable contribution looks different Because complex assets vary so much (from closely held business interests to real estate and more), the process for each asset gift differs. This is where our team can help. Please let us know if you would like to discuss any upcoming liquidity events or complex asset gift scenarios. You can also visit the Generosity Calculator on The Signatry’s website to explore the variables between traditionally selling a complex asset or gifting the non-cash asset to charity.

Read More
Story

Stewarding Resources to Accomplish More

5 months ago By The Signatry

A Commitment to Faith and Good Works   How do you ensure biblical stewardship of your resources? From the beginning of his career, Rogers Strickland aligned his business goals with his faith. After leaving the United States Air Force in 1980, Rogers founded Strickland Construction Company, Inc. in Raytown, Missouri. Mr. Strickland built his organization on the principles of strong customer service and quality work. He allowed his faith to guide him and was successful in growing his company from five team members to more than 50 employees. Mr. Strickland and his company recognized their blessings and wanted to guarantee good stewardship of the resources they were given by regularly giving back to the community and to the Kingdom. By providing all the material and labor, Strickland Construction Company has helped to build 55 community centers, churches, and schools in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Guatemala, and Jamaica.   In addition to his construction projects, Mr. Strickland owns several self-storage facilities around the Kansas City Metro area. When it came time to sell some of these properties, he wanted to make a Kingdom impact while serving both his business and his family. Mr. Strickland worked with The Signatry to steward the assets God had given him, by giving a portion of the LLC before the sale to his donor advised fund. “The Signatry made the whole process very easy,” said Mr. Strickland.     Understanding the Gifting Process   Donating a business interest is both a practical charitable giving strategy and a potential opportunity to save on taxes. When a business owner gives a portion of their closely held business interest, they may receive an immediate tax deduction and still maintain control over the remaining aspect of the business.     Before selling his self-storage facilities, Mr. Strickland worked with The Signatry to contribute a portion of the LLC. This helped Mr. Strickland save taxes and maximize his charitable gift. “It is so much easier to do a large transfer and have the option to give anonymous gifts. It takes the angst out of worrying about income tax and allows me to make numerous gifts in the future,” said Mr. Strickland.     Answering His Call   From the beginning, Mr. Strickland had a clear vision for who he wanted to serve and how he wanted his gift to help. “I wanted to support numerous charities that truly share the love of God and help them to get the resources they need!”   Thanks to Mr. Strickland’s generosity, stewardship of his resources, and his willingness to answer the call of God, he was able to serve his neighbors and his business well. Through this donation, Mr. Strickland had the benefit of:   Receiving a charitable income tax deduction Freeing up more money to go to charity Providing over $600,000 to the San Lucas Mission in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala   The Role of The Signatry   The Signatry has years of experience in assisting individuals and companies as they desire to biblically steward their resources and give to charitable causes utilizing different types of assets. The Signatry team understands the gifting process and helps Christian business owners follow a path that will benefit their business while living out their faith. Making a complex asset donation can be a deeply personal decision and a multi-faceted process, so The Signatry works to serve and partner well with individuals as they go through each phase of the giving journey. The Signatry believes in the power of these gifts to solidify donors’ legacies of Christian stewardship.   “Working with The Signatry on this gift was a no-brainer. They helped me to share God’s resources in big chunks, sooner rather than later,” said Mr. Strickland.   Since 2000, The Signatry team has helped families, advisors, and ministries send more than $3 billion to charities across the globe. The Signatry empowers donors through creative giving solutions, biblically responsible investments, and legacy training. The Signatry facilitates revolutionary generosity through innovative approaches to the donor advised fund, including fee transparency, no monthly minimums, and full advisor access. The nationally acclaimed leaders of The Signatry help donors maximize their giving in ways that build and preserve generational wealth and legacy. 

Read More
Family

Myths of Generosity: I Can’t Control My Generosity Impact, So I Shouldn’t Give

9 months ago By Nicklaus Bartelli

You may have heard someone say, “I can’t give a gift to that person, they’ll just waste it on something frivolous.” When it comes to charitable organizations, many people have a similar attitude; they don’t want to put their money in a place where they may not see a return. A 2021 study by the Better Business Bureau Wide Giving Alliance found that only 18% of Americans place high trust in charities. While you may not be alone in wondering whether your generosity will be effective, how might you overcome doubts and worries about efficient giving? Intentional Giving A third of Americans say they have given in the checkout line, and a fourth say they have given to a solicitor. While these are kind and generous acts, for most people they are probably not a good substitute for planned, intentional gifts. One fourth of Americans give $99 or less per year. That suggests there is a large group of people only experienced in casual generosity. Small, sporadic gifts are usually not the best way to feel confident that the receiving organization will use your donation effectively. 2019 study conducted by YouGovAmerica   When you decide to give, the Bible tells us that our heart should agree with our actions. We should not give under pressure, but cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Giving to a nonprofit is starting a partnership with them to solve a problem. It is not a waste of valuable time to research and understand a nonprofit before you give. Do your homework, establish a relationship with a representative of the nonprofit, and monitor their impact reports. Adapting a mindset that giving is a partnership and an investment to solve a problem helps build intentionality in generosity. This is sound stewardship of God’s blessings and provides a framework for answering many of the questions associated with giving to large nonprofits. Eternal Generosity Even with well-known, successful organizations, some are reluctant to part with their time, money, or resources at all. Giving can feel uncomfortable; keeping an eternal perspective can help. Ask yourself, “Is holding on to my money furthering the Kingdom of God?” In Jesus’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the master praised the two servants who invested the talents he had entrusted to them and made a profit. But the servant who buried his talent, doing nothing to increase its value, was rewarded nothing. Jesus invites us to be participants in His ministry, not to sit back and wait idly for His return. A wise and faithful steward will invest in what their master gives them, holding to the promise of return. As Christians, we are called to care for the poor, the prisoner, and the sick and to spread the gospel so that others may experience God’s love. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” — Hebrews 6:10, NIV Use a DAF, Channel Intentional Giving One way to practice intentional generosity is by opening a donor advised fund (DAF) at The Signatry. You can join a faith-based community committed to many of the same Kingdom-oriented causes that you care about. You can build a charitable fund in your family’s name, work with our team to identify grant recipients, grow the fund through biblically responsible investments, and keep track of your giving all in one place. To learn more about donor advised funds, visit our start page. Challenge Yourself When you join in a nonprofit’s mission and get to watch the impact of generosity in real-time, you begin to see all your resources as opportunities. Things like time, praise, and trust become tools of biblical generosity. Whether you are giving to the solicitor in the parking lot because the Spirit compels you or writing a check to a nonprofit partner, pray over the resources you give and trust your investment in God’s Kingdom. “Freely you have received; freely give.” — Matthew 10:8b, NIV Visit other Myths of Generosity: I Need All the Right Character Traits to be Generous I am Not Wealthy Enough to Give

Read More
Family

Myths of Generosity: I Need All the Right Character Traits to be Generous

9 months ago By Nicklaus Bartelli

There is a temptation to envision “a generous person” as kind, compassionate, selfless — almost angelic. This picture of how to be a generous person is not accurate. True generosity often accompanies qualities like kindness and empathy, but it is a separate trait. It is built on top of the qualities and passions each of us already have. In fact, trying to become someone different, or relying too heavily on qualities like selflessness, can end up hurting your generous spirit. You Don’t Need to Change Your Heart, Display It “I’m not a good person.” “I’ve never given before.” Are these reasons not to take a generous action? The reality is that we have probably all given something before. Every person has a style of giving that suits them best because it flows from their own personality and heart. Have you given your time, listening to a friend during a rough circumstance? Have you been generous with your tongue, freely giving compliments and encouragement? Maybe you have shared your skills and talents, fixing someone’s computer or making them a meal. If so, you have likely given out of your heart, in ways that make sense to you. That is what God desires. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” — 1 Peter4:10-11, NIV It starts with receiving God’s love. If we recognize that God is blessing us, blessing others becomes a natural overflow of His love and grace for us. There is no strategy, curriculum, or special status required to unlock generosity. Bring out what God has given you — your talents and the good in your heart. A Tough Love Generosity is not just about being nice. The person who thinks they must be nice in order to give may fall into the trap of never saying no, struggling to set boundaries. Boundless “niceness” probably will not help anyone. Instead, true generosity requires a certain amount of patience, prudence, and self-discipline. There are many generous people who wouldn’t label themselves as nice. Some ask hard questions of the people or charities they support. They look for feedback from the recipient and might look to give feedback to the recipient. Some of the most generous people we know are respected for showing this deeper love and support for the long-term vision and success of nonprofit work. Build Your Support Another temptation you might encounter is to think of generosity as a one-way transaction. As the giver, you feel the need to be independent and self-sufficient. You want to refuse the help, recognition, and support that might make your efforts more effective — or might even serve your needs. Truthfully, this generosity hurts. It is not honoring to God. Paul’s famous “body of Christ” metaphor makes it clear that God did not design any of us to operate independently. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” — 1 Cor 12:21, NIV The irony of refusing help is that it can burn you out and make you a worse giver. The energy you have to help others can slowly deplete if you do not humble yourself to accept love from others, too. Selflessness is a beautiful trait, but it does not mean that you must not receive. Receive with the willingness to give back, giving thanks and recognition to God, for He is the reason you are able to give. —— Explore these two things: Your strengths within generosity. What are your personal strengths and talents? How could you channel those gifts to serve others? Your acceptance of grace. God pours out his love for us, going so far to offer His Son for our transgressions. How can you mirror this grace and allow it to overflow on others?

Read More
Family

Myths of Generosity: I Am Not Wealthy Enough to Give

9 months ago By Nicklaus Bartelli

If you can’t be generous when you have nothing, you’ll not be generous when you have everything. – Dr. Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania This is a hard truth to embrace, especially in a culture that tells us constantly that we must prioritize getting ahead of everyone else. However, those who do get ahead often feel unsatisfied with what they have attained, and high net worth individuals say they need even more wealth to be “perfectly happy.” Adam Grant, a business professor at Wharton and New York Times-bestselling author, writes in Give and Take that the missing piece to true success is generosity — as he defines it, helping others. Those who elbow their way to the top often fall flat. Instead, Grant argues, the people who offer a helping hand to their peers, without expecting anything in return, become successful. Measuring success by financial wealth is as useless as building a one-legged chair. Measuring generosity by monetary giving is the same fallacy. With God as our sustainer, every aspect of our lives — not just money — can be used to serve others, and even the least of us are qualified to practice generosity. Giving Is Not Monetary Contemplating whether you “have enough” to help others misses a beautiful opportunity to love as God demonstrated. Perhaps one of Jesus’s most famous statements is that God “gave His one and only Son” for us! (John 3:16) God blesses us so that we will be able to bless others (Genesis 12:2). There are countless ways to bless others, as Jesus describes: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. – Matthew 25:35-36, NIV Notice Jesus makes no mention of wealth in the verses above. God desires us to bless others out of what we can give. Sometimes that includes possessions others could use, but it also includes gifts of time, attention, and care. There is no threshold or line of satisfaction that we must first meet before generosity can be activated. The only thing the Bible requires is that we give cheerfully and intentionally: You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. — 2 Corinthians 9:7, NLT There is an abundance of ways to show God’s love and be generous beyond money. God encourages those who have financial riches not to trust in their wealth, but to “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). This is a call to be stewards with our whole lives. The Lord Sustains We are able to give freely and without worry because the Lord sustains us. When the Israelites left Egypt, God provided them bread from heaven each morning. Moses told the people to gather only enough bread for the day. They were not to store it up, for the Lord would replenish their needs every day. Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. — Exodus 16:21, NIV Some of the Israelites began to ignore Moses and tried to keep the bread until the next day, but the bread became full of maggots and smelled horribly. Moses was angry, as the Lord had promised to fulfill their daily need without storing up for themselves. They would be blessed with daily bread from God for 40 years until they reached the promised land. God owns everything at the end of the day. God’s ownership frees us to pursue Him. This does not mean those with great wealth and many possessions should feel shame; it is simply a call to live with our hands open and our eyes on the Kingdom. Storing up our treasures in heaven means living in a cycle of receiving His grace and giving grace to others, investing in eternity and not earthly possessions. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others. — 2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT We have all been entrusted with blessings to give. We can begin our journey of cheerful generosity today, without waiting on earthly wealth! Visit Other Myths of Generosity: “I Need The Right Character Traits To Be Generous”

Read More
Family

Choosing Charities: Six Questions Before You Give

12 months ago By The Signatry

As a donor, you want your generosity to have an impact. You may have a special cause that you are passionate about or see a unique need and an opportunity to make a difference in the moment. When it comes to giving your time, talents, or treasures, you want to know you are supporting an organization or movement that is effective, efficient, and eternal-minded. In this article, we will cover some of the technical requirements that donors should consider when choosing a charity, as well as key questions to ask when vetting an organization’s capability to achieve its mission with your support.

Read More
Family

Challenging the Law: The Influence of Five Women

1 year ago By Carole Urbas

The Bible gives clear examples of how a woman’s influence is felt throughout the generations. Women influenced society in a variety of ways: through their households, religious life, economics, hospitality, service, and their overall generous nature. From Esther’s path to queen, to the determination of Mary Magdalene, generational change was affected by multiple women. There are several instances of this seen in the Old Testament, including the story of the five daughters of Zelophehad and their quest for an estate. These five vulnerable women came before their community and challenged the law of inheritance. Where a man’s property was to be inherited by his sons, the five daughters of Zelophehad were unwed and had no brothers upon their father’s passing. What happens in this case? The women made a plea for further explanation and terms in their desire to maintain their father’s legacy. They did not act in a hierarchical manner but presented their case by saying “let not our father’s name be lost.” Moses took the issue before the Lord who responded in support of the sisters’ plea. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just: you should give them a hereditary holding… Further, speak to the Israelite people as follows: If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his property to his daughter.’” Numbers 27: 6—8 The daughters would inherit the land and their case would become precedent for other families in which there were no sons. The boldness of the daughters of Zelophehad provides an example for women today who desire to leave a legacy. Their zeal for bonding the family and carrying on resources is an important model for many women tasked with this today. Not only are women influential in day-to-day life, women now hold a major stake in financial influence. For example, intergenerational wealth set to be inherited by women is $28.7 trillion over the next 40 years. Women also control 51% of all personal wealth in the United States and now hold the majority (52%) of management, professional, and related positions. Financial blessings coupled with the life-giving nature of women is a recipe for impact in families, churches, and charities serving the Kingdom on a global level. — At The Signatry, we strive to help women recognize and live out this God-given design to influence humanity for generations to come. Several unique opportunities we offer for personal growth with women and their families include:

Read More
Advisor

Building the Bridge for Generations

2 years ago By Alan Pratt

Where do I begin legacy conversations with clients? What are the attributes of families who are good candidates for discussing a life-long legacy? These questions are so important for embarking on a powerful relationship with clients and building the bridge for their future generations to continue to work with you on their family wealth. Opening the Relationship Early on, I realized it was not about closing the sale or deal, it was about opening the relationship. When you open a relationship, ask yourself what level of a relationship is needed so that when it is the appropriate time for a transaction to occur, it is very natural. There are action steps for both clients and advisors to find success in relational advising, and in bridging wealth over to future generations in the family. Understanding your own values. Do you have a way of reaffirming what you stand for? What are the non-negotiable items in the way you live your life? You can spend some time yourself to uncover these if you need to, but then how do you make them known to others? If one of my clients left the room, they would be able to explain a lot about what drives me and describe my character pretty closely. Why? Because I have spent time with them. You will accomplish more by opening a relationship before you start the transactions. Everything in life starts with a conversation. I have learned years ago that I should go into a first-time meeting with one thing. A blank sheet of paper. The people that are legacy focused are not product focused, and the same principle applies with advisors toward their clients. Products are a byproduct of the clients’ desire to really engage in a trusted conversation. Develop a process. Develop material with short essay questions that take them on a journey of discovering their family legacy. Uncover what they care about, and how that will eventually play into their goals. Ask them about the five areas of wealth: Good relationships Health Spiritual Development Intellectual Growth Financial Resources In financial services we tend to focus on financial resources the most. Quite frankly, in legacy planning, that is not what they care about. Where their minds are stuck is the first one— their relationships. Start there. The balance sheet with all of the assets under financial resources is just a tool to bring value to the other four areas of wealth. It exists to enrich their relationships, their learning, and their physical well-being. Uncover their multi-generational values. Have you developed a values exercise where you can facilitate a values conversation with two generations of one family? When you get into proactive action steps in legacy planning, it is a family affair. Are they planning with their family or are they planning at their family? Conventional estate planning 30 years ago was planning at your kids, and unfortunately it is still practiced today. Incorporate charitable giving conversations. As a part of your values conversation, ask about what causes are close to everyone’s heart. Talking through generosity plans strengthens your relationship with clients. To reinforce the importance of understanding and sharing your own values, talk about your own generosity to spark the conversation. Less than half of advisors discuss their own charitable giving with their clients. Among all individuals who discuss philanthropy with an advisor, 53% say that they would place greater value on the philanthropic advice if the client was aware of the advisor’s own philanthropic engagement.[1] Talking about charitable giving as a group leads to understanding their passions and goals and leads to inter-generational understanding of how to carry on those goals. Encouraging planning with the family and seeing multi-generational discussion and value-based conversations will always yield a higher degree of long-term success. Be curious not for the size of their balance sheet but be curious to know the size of their heart. If you lead with this in mind and use the building blocks above for opening a relationship with your clients, you will build the bridge for their future generations to know you, trust you, and you receive the gift of becoming a part of their success in transferring not only their family wealth, but their family legacy. [1] 2018 U.S. Trust Advisor Study

Read More
Story

Millennial Donor Inspires Through Intentional Generosity

2 years ago By The Signatry

Kate Gardner’s inheritance has always been more about what she can give than what she has been given. After all, the source of her early inheritance came from a model of investing outwardly. Kate’s father is the founder of an investing advisory service that helps people attain financial freedom and broadly enrich their lives. From an early age, Kate remembers her father’s intentionality in enabling the family’s generosity. “One of my favorite memories is when my parents, every Sunday in church, would give us money to put in the offering plate,” Kate said. “It always stuck with me that even though it was their money, they were empowering me to participate and feel like we got to give our resources to the Lord.” A year after graduating from Princeton in 2016, Kate moved to New York City and worked for two different Christian non-profits. Out of obedience, she gave a large chunk of an investment portfolio her family had given her away to a few ministries that she felt a calling toward. But, even after graduating, moving to a big city, and making a substantial impact with her money, Kate did not feel she had fully realized what God had in store for her. “My dad would remind us that the root word of invest, the Latin word investire, can be translated to ‘put on the clothes of,’ which suggests that you are almost becoming or embodying what you invest in,” Kate shared. She saw herself as wanting to steward holistically by pouring her life into where her resources go. Supporting Missionaries on a Deeper Level Her connection with different organizations and her drive to develop relationships would stir the creation of what is now Greenhouse Group: a philanthropy ministry run by Kate where she spreads a significant monthly investment across 60 missionaries in support of their work. Understanding her true passion of encouraging people and the desire to develop her own ministry to come alongside Kingdom builders was sparked by one of her favorite quotes. “Frederick Buechner is a wonderful Christian author. He proposes that: ‘The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,’” Kate said. “As someone with a lot of options of what to do with my life, that was a really helpful paradigm for me. What started Greenhouse was the conviction that my ‘joy’ is encouragement, and the world’s ‘need’ is the Gospel.” “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner Many of Kate’s missionaries at Greenhouse Group are friends of friends or were connected to her from organizations that she contacted. Living out her encouraging lifestyle, Kate has been around the world and visited with a good number of the teams she supports over the last two years. Her efforts have taught her the needs of people in countries like Mozambique, France, Japan, and many others. When she is not traveling, her days are often filled with intentional meetings, identifying people’s dreams and praying over God’s calling on their lives and organizations. She has also forayed into helping start-up organizations catalyze group prayer calls as a way to promote a multiplied atmosphere of prayer. “I think that’s how God wired our brains… what truly gives us a sense of thriving is getting to participate and have purpose in other people’s lives,” Kate said. A Missionary to Missionaries Kate’s outlook, rooted in her faith, has led to a gratitude that has moved her to become a missionary to missionaries. Her intentionality meant more than becoming a monthly supporter. “I get to come in and break people’s boxes in terms of what philanthropy can mean. I want to invest in those serving God not only financially, but perhaps even more importantly through a relationship founded on seeking and enjoying Him together,” she said. Kate opens a two-way street of communication and reciprocal enthusiasm in what the Lord is doing and where her gifts are going. In this way, Kate is fueling her own drive to continue encouraging others. In Matthew 5:16 ESV, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Where the world is often telling us to hold on to our things, the gospel is telling us to live openly, and Kate exudes this principle of developing eternal hearts around the globe with fervor.

Read More
Family

Stories of Motherhood

3 years ago By The Signatry

The stories of motherhood leave a legacy imprinted on our hearts. Sometimes, they are stories of quiet, gentle, sacrifice recognized years later. Sometimes, they are those humorous stories of family lore. Sometimes, they are stories of great sorrow and loss, wounds that God is healing. So today, we celebrate and honor them all. The women of The Signatry are celebrating the moms who inspire them so that as women we are speaking life to one another. Join and share your own stories that inspire you from motherhood. The Sacrifice of a Single Mom On this Mother’s Day, as we look to those women in our lives that have inspired us, for me, it is my mother. Growing up in a single-family home, her sacrifice to support my sister and I was evident in that she was willing to work 3rd shift at General Motors to make sure we were taken care of. It meant my sister taking care of me the best that she could after school each day. It included cooking dinner for the both of us and attempting to help me with homework. As an adult, I have seen those years of support move to that of a mother who truly is a prayer warrior. Instead of nights spent up with me as a child, they are now in fervent prayer for our family. She truly inspires me to be a mother of prayer and strength. -Rhiannon K.

Read More

Answering the Call: Ben Bell’s Passion for Serving Ministries

3 years ago By The Signatry

Prior to joining The Signatry, I was never in a full-time vocational ministry role, although I could consider full-time vocational ministry as “the family business.” My dad’s parents were medical missionaries in China, my dad was a pastor, one uncle was an evangelist, and another aunt and uncle were Korean missionaries. I have several cousins and second cousins who have founded and operate ministries on a full-time basis. Despite several opportunities over the years to move into a full-time vocational ministry role, usually as their COO or CFO, since that was my training and skillset, I never felt called to full-time ministry. I considered myself “in ministry,” but not in a vocational way. I knew my calling was in the secular business world as a Christian witness, and I have always thought being a Christian witness in the secular business world was and is a very noble calling. How were you introduced to The Signatry? In 2018, I got the call to full-time vocational ministry at The Signatry. It followed a long period of soul-searching, reaching out to friends, and seeking the Lord’s guidance before I had ever heard about The Signatry. This period of seeking the Lord extended through my discernment process. I was not seeking to leave the business world. In terms of analyzing the opportunity at The Signatry, I wondered whether I’d enjoy it and if I would be any good at it. It was entirely different from my daily routine, experience, and skillset, so naturally, I had questions. But then the Lord told me to join The Signatry in the clearest way possible – that is all I needed, and all my analysis stopped. I joined the team three weeks later.

Read More
Advisor

Warren Buffett’s Missed Opportunity

3 years ago By Evan Lange

When it comes to charitable giving, it often seems like the world’s wealthiest individuals have it figured out. With so many assets to manage, these donors know how to support charitable causes while capitalizing on the tax benefits of the giving process, right? Unfortunately, not all get it right. In July, an article in Forbes announced that Warren Buffett is donating $3.6 billion of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to charity. It also offered advice on how other donors could maximize their giving by following in Buffett’s footsteps. The problem? Buffett is primarily giving the stock to private foundations. Consequently, he is missing out on significant tax benefits he could receive if he utilized a donor advised fund (DAF) instead. There are important differences, when it comes to tax benefits, that all donors and advisors should consider.

Read More

The Uncertain Future of Giving

4 years ago By Bill High

What do you think of the future of charitable giving? The July 2018 Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on the Giving USA annual report for 2017. There, they noted the rise to $410 billion of charitable giving. But their headline speaks of the doubt behind those numbers: Giving Grows for the Fourth Straight Year, but is the Future of Philanthropy Bright? While there is much to celebrate, the Chronicle notes: “…the data reveals some worrying trends.” The article itself didn’t go out of its way to point out those trends in a dramatic way. But here’s the point. Giving by individuals grew modestly. Giving by individuals grew just 3% and bequests by only 1%. To draw out the point, the decline in giving by the War Generations is a reality. At one point, those generations were the backbone of giving, and while the Boomer Generation appears to be following with a similar giving pattern, subsequent generations don’t seem to hold the same promise. The Millennials, for instance, are the least churched generation our country has had. Typically, church attendance is the biggest single predictor of giving. Many of these points were drawn out in Charity Shock: Ten Critical Trends Revolutionizing the Fundraising Industry (2018). Layer on tax law changes, economic and market uncertainty and global trade wars and the situation is ripe for a significant giving downturn. The Chronicle aptly notes: “Pursuing wealthy donors is a matter of survival in a time when fewer people are giving. And big donations seem to be driving growth at many nonprofits…” Additionally, the Chronicle notes “Charities should get serious about seeking planned gifts, given that a huge transfer of wealth is projected over the next decade.” Stated differently, I believe we’ll see a decline of the middle market giver. The middle market giver has often made up the backbone of the budget for many nonprofits. On the other hand, there will be an increasing reliance on the major donor and upon planned gifts. For those ministries who don’t play well in those spaces, they may well face serious declines.

Read More
Advisor

Spring, Basketball, and Taxes

4 years ago By Evan Lange

Happy Spring! I love this time of year because the weather is getting warmer, lots of good basketball games, and it is tax time. Yes, I get excited about tax season because we finally find out how year-end tax planning strategies worked.  This is especially true because the 2018 tax year applied the new 2017 tax reform laws. Based on the phone calls I have received this Spring, a lot of people are feeling the effects of the changes.  Below is a recap of these conversations and some potential solutions moving forward: Doubled Standard Deduction. Only about 10% of all households in the U.S. will itemize their tax deductions for the 2018 tax year. The standard deduction (increased to $24,000 for married and $12,000 for individual), meant that many households that itemized deductions, including charitable giving, will no longer need to itemize. Unfortunately, several households left tax savings on the table, because they failed to plan properly. SALT Deduction Capped. State and local taxes (SALT) used to be fully deductible, but now SALT deductions are now capped at $10,000. This has affected several middle-income earners. Charitable Deduction Increases. Taxpayers that itemize may now deduct up to 60% of their adjusted gross income each year in charitable contributions; a 10% increase from 2017. Taxpayers may carry forward any amount that exceeds this limit up to five years after the gift is made. Taxpayers may still deduct up to 30% of their AGI using gifts non-cash assets to charity. The most noticeable effect of the 2017 tax reform, from a charitable giving standpoint, most households will not receive a tax benefit (in the form of a deduction) from their charitable gifts in 2018. In my opinion, this has occurred because of the increased standard deduction and the cap on the SALT deduction. For 2019, make sure that your clients consider two easy tax-saving strategies: Bunching charitable gifts one year using a donor advised fund. By combining multiple years of charitable giving in 2019, clients will be able to itemize their deductions for 2019. In the subsequent years, the client could give to charity from their DAF and then take the standard deduction for those years. Click here to learn more about bunching. Give assets! While several itemized deductions have been eliminated, the charitable deduction remained intact, including donating capital assets (assets that would be subject to long-term capital gains tax). When capital assets are given the donor receives a fair market value income tax deduction for the donation, and the capital gains that would have been paid will likely be avoided entirely by the charity. The vast majority of all charitable giving in the U.S. are cash gifts, but the real tax benefit is by donating capital assets!  Make sure your clients do it!

Read More
Nonprofits

Key Insights Into a Major Donor Plan

4 years ago By Kristin Hammett

Ministries have been entrusted with a calling to serve their communities and God’s Kingdom and challenged to fund that work effectively. Major donors, entrusted with God’s resources, are a crucial strategy for any non-profit development effort. All donors play an essential role in ministry support, but nearly 90% of donations come from approximately 10% of donors. Thus, creating a major donor plan is crucial to the success and sustainability of your organization. Do you have a major donor plan? If so, does it include all the key components? Here are a few tips to get started or to evaluate your current efforts. Identify potential major givers. Determining who believes in your mission and who has the capacity to give is a crucial first step. You’ve heard me say before that ministry development is the connection point of God’s work to His resources. Begin your major donor efforts by looking for those with the capacity to give and evaluate their alignment with your mission. A good starting point is to leverage your leadership team and board members. You board may be well connected to individuals who are willing and capable of becoming a major donor. These individuals may include business owners, entrepreneurs, real estate developers, corporate executives, as well as many others. Generous people and potential major donors are all around us. Understand their needs Once you’ve decided who your potential major givers are, learn about them. Get to know their story. What causes do they care about it? If they’ve already given to your cause, why do they give? Listen well. This will set the stage for a conversation that will speak to their interests and how they relate to your needs. Provide a personalized approach Cultivating major donors is a relational investment. Face to face meetings are preferred to phone calls, emails, or letters. In-person meetings show you care and are willing to invest in relationships. This helps you understand what programs a potential giver may align with best and gain insight into what they care about most. Creating a communication strategy that extends past the initial gift will continue to earn their trust and loyalty in the future. Create a clear call to action Don’t forget the ask. Often if an individual is willing to meet, they are prepared to take the next step of giving, but only when there is a clear call to action. When you create a call to action, be very clear where the gift is going. For example, you can say, “Would you being willing to give a gift of X amount of dollars to help us with _____?” You can fill in the blank with the project your organization’s needs. Give a detailed follow-up. Plan how you will personally thank your donor after the gift is received. Once a donor has given an initial gift, follow up by sharing the impact of their contribution. This personalized approach will prove to encourage a long-standing relationship that benefits you and your major donors. Cultivating major donors is a significant endeavor. Remember this is a process; don’t get discouraged. Stay in contact with prospective donors. Perhaps this isn’t the right time for them, but a year later maybe. Remember, this is about relationships, and those take time to build, foster and grow.

Read More
Advisor

Having the Conversation on Asset Giving

4 years ago By Evan Lange

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/#65eb5fb5f80c

Read More
Family

The Difference in Living Generously

6 months ago By The Signatry

When we think of someone living generously, we don’t often focus on the checks they write or the tax breaks they receive. Most often, when we observe someone living a generous life, we notice how they spend their time, the work they do for the common good, and the character behind their acts of generosity. When we live generously, it 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 motivated 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 live generous if you don’t have money. However, living generously goes beyond giving financially. Acts of generosity like volunteering and serving require time and energy. These 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 the generous life, you will leave a lasting impact on your community, family, and eternity. This post was originally published on March 8, 2019.

Read More
Nonprofits

Purposeful Events—Move from Transaction to Transformation

4 years ago By Kristin Hammett

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
Family

Stewarding Your Family in the Business Sale Process

4 years ago By The Signatry

Selling a business involves careful planning, but we often don’t take into consideration how it will impact our family. What does it look like to steward your family through this process in a way that will not only protect but allow them to thrive generations from now? When faced with these issues, there are a few important questions to consider: What should I give to my children? 70% of wealthy families lose their fortune by the second generation, and by the third generation, 90% have squandered their money. Clearly, passing on money is not enough to solve problems in our families. We often forget that there is more than financial capital to pass on; we need to consider the intangible aspects of wealth- social, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional capital. Your children will be more equipped to handle financial wealth when it is preceded with the knowledge and family values imparted. How are my children equipped to handle wealth? How do you ensure your children are ready to steward the wealth you plan to pass on to them? Thriving individuals are more likely to handle inheritance properly. Are they responsible with their finances? Do they have a good work ethic? Considering whether the inheritance is most likely to contribute or cripple their life, is important.  Sometimes the most loving action is saying “no” and setting boundaries that encourage your children to grow. By passing on biblical values and placing a priority on the intangible assets, we cultivate healthy families and provide a means for long term success. What is God calling me to do in the next season? Transitioning out of your business can be an exciting time to pursue God’s calling for the next season of your life. Consider how you can use this next season to continue to cultivate family relationships and build upon your legacy. Think about the causes you and your family are passionate about. You can make memories with younger generations by giving back, supporting, and volunteering with ministries as a multigenerational family. The heart of generosity goes far beyond the money we are willing to give. It permeates everyday decisions and determines the legacy we will leave. Cultivating a lasting family through the sale process will require honest communication. A healthy family will practice transparency. If the challenges seem too great, it is ok to invite outside help. In the same way, a business sale requires advisors, you may want to invite someone you trust to help advise your family as you deal with difficult topics and proactive planning. Wealth does not have to break apart our families. By bringing a better balance to our families as we learn to pass on intangible capital as well—emotional, spiritual, mental—we set the stage for long term success.

Read More
Nonprofits

Making Donors the Hero of Your Story

4 years ago By Kristin Hammett

We all see things from our own perspective. Donors do too. They see through their own lens of experience and perspective. To communicate effectively, strive to meet your donors where they are and provide answers to the questions, they may not realize they are asking. Donors often ask themselves “How does this impact me?” “What’s in this for me?” “What if this were me?” Providing answers to these questions will connect your donors to your mission. Below are a few important questions to begin thinking along these lines. How do donors help your organization succeed? What difference does their support make? What is the impact of their donation? Who are the donors helping? There are many heroes in your organization already: volunteers, board members, clients who make a brave choice, employees, etc. However, your donor-facing communication isn’t the time to sing their praises. Consider how your communication makes your donor feel. Do they feel empowered? Do they feel angry about the injustice that is happening? Do they feel they can help? Communication with your donors should be focused on them. Make the donor the hero of your story and the impact will be powerful. The key is to minimize your organization and center your communication on the donor and the client. You can accomplish this by making small changes in your language. For example, Will you help feed the hungry in our community this week? or Because of you, we were able to feed the hungry in our community. (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a great example of this with their “because of you” campaign) Invite donors to participate in your efforts, don’t guilt them. It is important to avoid the implication that your donor should do something, but rather focus on the idea that they can do something. Fundraising is about waking up an army of heroes to join you in your mission. It’s about inviting people in by letting them believe in their own power. By simplifying your message, you invite the donor to be the hero. You offer them an invitation to take action and join your cause.  

Read More

Abdiel עבדיאל

4 years ago By Dale Brantner

I absolutely love the story of Joseph in the Hebrew Bible.  This cycle of well-crafted stories, found in Genesis 37-50, close out the tales of legacy that is the heartbeat of Genesis.  The account of Joseph and his family frame how the children of Israel came to be residents of Egypt and sets up the story of their miraculous exodus which is at the center of Jewish legacy to this day. At the core of our culture, at The Signatry, is a commitment to listen to a person’s story, and then serve them within their story.  When we serve others within their story, we are actually serving them within the much larger redemptive story of God and the role He calls them to play.  This is exactly what we see played out through the life of Joseph. The story begins with some dysfunctional family dynamics, including the lack of parity by Jacob towards his sons. We soon find Joseph in Egypt where he is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. It was within Potiphar’s story that Joseph would serve. God blesses him with great success, and Potiphar eventually entrusts Joseph with his entire household, all of his possessions and agricultural ventures.  Everything went extremely well for Joseph as he served Potiphar right up until he was framed and thrown into prison.  While in prison, Joseph would find himself serving Pharaoh’s cupbearer and chief baker within their own stories, this would, in turn, bring Joseph into the direct service of Pharaoh. Joseph was given the opportunity to listen to the dreams and concerns of Pharaoh and serve within Pharaoh’s story. Pharaoh would make this foreign Hebrew slave and ex-convict the “vizier” of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Genesis 41:41-42 God used Joseph’s ability to listen and serve within the stories of others, to position him next to the most powerful man of his day. This platform would later prove to be the salvation of his father Jacob’s legacy … his descendants.  

Read More
Nonprofits

Creating a Culture of Development

4 years ago By Kristin Hammett

Develop: advance, establish, flourish, expand, grow, progress. When you think about the development role, those might be the idealistic synonyms that come to mind. However, more often than not, we think about development as bringing in money, knocking on doors, sales tactics, and not as a holistic concept with a heart for flourishing. By instilling a culture of development throughout your entire organization, rather than just an isolated role, it begins to shift perspective. Your customer service experience, the way your staff talks about their job to their friends, and inter-office communication are just a few pieces which shape your culture and its development potential. To challenge your mindset or to evaluate where your organization is at, consider these questions: How equipped is your staff to talk about the initiatives you are working on? By keeping all staff informed, you speak value to them, and you build a core base of advocates to promote your work. Suddenly, your reach is expanded beyond just a designated development officer. Even a casual conversation with an entry-level staff member has the opportunity to open doors with new donors.  On a larger scale, your organization develops a reputation based off how your employees speak of it. Evaluate how you are educating all your staff and including them in conversations about your mission and the heart of who you are. What about when mistakes happen? While we all want to plan for the best, the reality is at some point, we all drop the ball. Mistakes happen. Emails get stuck in the drafts folder. A check gets lost. Are you prepared to serve your donors well even in your less than glorious moments? Having a culture that works hard for the victories, but also serves just as passionately in the messy and the mundane moments will take intentional leadership to coach and model these attitudes. How do people describe your leaders? Creating culture is not an overnight change, and it can even require painful shifts on occasion. To start reviewing where your organization is, consider how outsiders view and describe your leadership. Accessible? Authority? Servant? Caring? Leader, but without connection to their people? What your leaders live out at the top sets the standard for the organization, and it is also the most visible piece to those outside. These questions are just the start of the journey towards inspiring a development culture, so keep in mind that this truly is a process. It will take time, continued evaluation and course corrections. However, each authentic change is another piece to establish how you flourish, progress, grow, advance, and establish. Looking for more practical details? Join our webinar on January 16 to learn how leadership can set a culture.  

Read More
Family

The Promise Within a Name

4 years ago By The Signatry

Between the closing of the Old Testament, with the book of Malachi and the opening of the New Testament there is a 400-year prophetical silence.  After Malachi pens his letter to the Israelites, we do not hear God speak for another four centuries when the angel of the Lord appears to Mary and Joseph, separately. Joseph, a Jewish carpenter from the lineage of David and a man of honor, finds himself in a dilemma.  Mary, his bride to be, tells him she is miraculously pregnant. Undoubtedly, his friends and family are whispering in his ear to leave the woman he loves, because the baby certainly isn’t his. If he follows through with the marriage his reputation will certainly be tarnished, his status in the Jewish community will be impacted, and his livelihood will be hindered. Joseph surely felt alone and torn, as he pondered one of the most difficult decisions of his life. Then, amongst the other voices and Joseph’s own doubt, God breaks the prophetic silence. In Matthew 1:20-21 the Lord says, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” He goes on to remind Joseph of a prophesy written over 700 years earlier in verses 22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). In the midst of his doubt and confusion, Joseph is told to not be afraid, and the promise wrapped in the name “Immanuel” unlocks hope for his future and all of creation’s future. Think back to a time when you were facing a tough decision and felt alone. Were you afraid? Did you ask why you could not hear the voice of God?  Notice, it was not until after Joseph had made up his mind to quietly divorce Mary, that God speaks. The phrase “Do not be afraid” occurs 366 times in the Bible and is always accompanied by the idea that God is with us.  Immanuel is more than just a name, it is an enduring promise and prophesy, that God is and will always be right beside us.  During this Christmas season, we not only celebrate the birth of our savior, but we also rejoice in the promise that was given us through His name, “Immanuel.”        

Read More
Advisor

Starting the Generosity Conversation

4 years ago By The Signatry

It is no secret that charitable giving benefits your client and your community. Now more than ever, clients are open to discussing philanthropy and rely on the expert advice of their advisor.  Engaging in conversation and sharing your knowledge of philanthropy furthers relationships and adds value to your practice. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss tax solutions that can also accomplish meaningful work. According to the 2018 U.S. Trust study of high net-worth philanthropy, most high-net-worth individuals are already giving, but only 49% of donors have a strategy for their giving. There is a significant opportunity here for advisors to grow their practices. By participating in the generosity conversations, you can further the relationships with your clients as you help them achieve the greatest impact towards the charities most important to them. Understanding your client’s passions allows you to tailor your expertise to their unique interests and pinpoint how they imagine their lasting legacy. Year-end meetings are an excellent opportunity to share the advantages of charitable giving. A good way to start the conversation is to ask engaging questions about charity. Here are some examples: Are there any charitable interests or community needs you would like to address? What issues are you passionate about? Have you considered donating public stock as a way to use all your resources for giving? Giving stock gifts not only helps you save on taxes but also supports the causes you love. Are you currently making gifts to any charitable organizations? If so, which ones? What causes and values do you want to pass on? Initiating this conversation will benefit everyone involved. This opens the door to discuss year-end tax strategies with your clients and will invite them to create a lasting legacy of generosity. It will also strengthen your relationships and credibility with clients and their family. The long-term effects of their generosity will reach beyond your office; impacting your client, their family, and the community.   Sources: https://blog.commonwealth.com/how-to-talk-about-philanthropy-with-your-clients https://cnycf.org/page.aspx?pid=836#.W_Ctj5NKjq0 http://www.foundationsource.com/wp-content/uploads/resources/A_Whitepaper_HowToTalkTo.pdf https://www.aefonline.org/blog/how-have-conversations-about-charitable-giving https://www.ustrust.com/articles/2018-us-trust-study-of-high-net-worth-philanthropy.html  

Read More

Light the Way Testimonies

4 years ago By The Signatry

In October, at our Tennessee Light The Way event we provided $20 bills to event attendees and challenged them to give away the money away and share their stories of generosity. The theme you will quickly see is that the true reward of generosity is the joy experienced by the giver. It’s less about the size of the gift and more of the delight of the Lord. May these stories inspire your heart to take your next step as you read about the impact felt in the community and beyond.

Read More
Advisor

Ministry and The Marketplace

5 months ago By The Signatry

Ministry and The Marketplace  I have been inspired and challenged by the positive role models I’ve studied in the Bible and the work they did. Jesus is clearly our most inspiring and challenging exemplar, but many others also stand before us. I’ll nominate the Apostle Paul for inclusion in this group. He was a giant among the early church leaders, a brilliant theologian, church-planter and… tentmaker. He voluntarily chose to stay in the marketplace to support himself so he would not be a financial burden to the young church: “We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:7b-8 NIV) Paul chose both ministry in the church and ministry in the marketplace to be an example for both groups.  God has designed the church leadership structure to flow through two primary channels: 1) those called to full-time ministry and 2) those that comprise a large support team of volunteer leaders that tend to work in the marketplace. Just as a bird needs two wings to fly, the church needs both groups in order to flourish and grow. Many of the volunteers coming from the marketplace need wisdom to bridge the gaps between the two cultures. Both sides need to learn how to respect the differences, resist the urge to jump to conclusions, actively listen, and act as interpreters (because at times it can feel like we’re speaking two different languages between ministry and the marketplace.)  I’ve heard the statistic that church staffing equates to approximately one full-time minister for every 100 church members. Even if we stretch that to say two per 100 members it means that 98% of the church will never be in full-time church ministry. I have a sense that Paul maintained both ministry in the marketplace and ministry in the church roles so he could serve as an example and “interpreter” to both the “2’s” and the “98’s”.  An example can be found when Paul was in Ephesus (Acts 19). For two years he split his time between making tents in the morning and preaching during the lunch hour at the “lecture hall of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9-10). His tent-making craft required him to wear a work-apron that had pockets for his different tools. He would also tie a handkerchief around his forehead to keep the perspiration from getting in his eyes (visualize today’s bandana).  The next verse says, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”  (Acts 19:11)  It appears that Paul would take his lunch break and show up in his work clothes at the Lecture Hall to preach after making tents in the morning. Some of the believers would borrow his work apron and bandana so they could take them and place them on people who were too sick to get to the meeting in person. His work clothes carried enough power to heal illnesses and break the grip of evil spirits. The author of Acts, Luke, called this an “extraordinary” miracle!  I think we’d agree that all miracles are extraordinary, but this one stretches our faith in a new direction when we consider how God used Paul’s work clothes as a tool to heal and deliver people. It should speak volumes to us about the value God places on our careers. It shows that God can use people in “secular jobs” like tent-making to do very effective ministry in the marketplace. Let’s pray for a greater convergence of the ministry in the church and the ministry in the marketplace so the sum total of our combined efforts will far surpass what each group could do on their own for eternal impact.  —  “Peter Roselle is the NYC Director for Archetype Wealth Partners, a leading Wealth Advisory firm specializing in family legacy planning and advanced charitable giving strategies. Peter is a published author on the topic of Sustainable Investing and a thought-leader in the growing field of portfolio values-alignment.  Visit Archetype’s website at https://archetypewealth.com/story/.”  Disclaimer: Our intent in providing this material is purely for informational purposes, as of the date hereof, and may be subject to change without notice. This article does not intend to constitute accounting, legal, tax, or other professional advice. Visitors and readers should not act upon the content or information found here without first seeking appropriate advice from a trusted accountant, financial planner, lawyer or other professional.  This article was originally published on September 14, 2018. 

Read More

Join the conversation. Get the newsletter.