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Ministry

Key insights into a major donor plan

2 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.

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Family

Returning to the Lost Vision of Generations

2 years ago By Bill High

In every age, there are stories that transcend time and culture Such is the story of Abraham. We find him in Genesis 12. His family is first mentioned in Genesis 11. Genesis 1-5 provide the story of Adam and the succeeding generations. The Adam generations are marked by the general mandate: be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. But with little other compass settings by the time of Noah, the chief goal of man appears to be his own self-satisfaction. Stated differently, he lives for himself. And with this self-centeredness, God sets about a grisly plan: the destruction of mankind through flood. Genesis 6-11 are all about this plan, and the new start.  In turning the page to Genesis 12, we find an entirely new focus: a single person—Abraham. As if to illustrate that idea, God tells Abraham to leave his family, his kindred and his country behind. It’s a new start. It as if God’s focus is directed entirely towards one man, and placing in that one man a new vision. It’s a vision for generations. Indeed, God tells Abraham “to your offspring I will give this land.” He repeats the vision in Genesis 13: “to your offspring I will give this land forever.” By Genesis 15, God sharpens the vision in one dramatic star-filled night when he tells Abraham that his descendants will be like the innumerable stars of the night sky. By Genesis 22, God tests Abraham to see if he is willing to sacrifice even his treasured son and heir.  The vision is repeated with each succeeding generation. And by the time of Moses, the vision is sharpened further still with the Law, a means of communicating a code of conduct for God’s chosen people. The Law would ultimately give way to a Messiah, a redemptive Savior.  The vision of generations is marked by these big ideas. The story of God in our lives. A promise of a future place—a promised land. The story of sacrifice—of being willing to let go, to trust and to let God do his work. When these big ideas take root, we are willing to live not just for ourselves but for those yet to come.  How do you consider the vision of generations working out in your own life?

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Advisor

Having the Conversation on Asset Giving

2 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  

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Family

The Difference in Living Generously

2 years ago By The Signatry

When we think of someone who lives generously, we don’t often focus on the checks they write or the tax breaks they receive. Most often, when we observe someone with a generous lifestyle, we notice how they spend their time, the work they do for the common good, and the character behind their generosity. A generous lifestyle goes beyond charitable donations. It involves a willingness to give of your time, energy, and God-given gifts. Here are three questions to ask if you desire to expand your generosity: Who/how can I serve today? Being generous requires intentionality. By setting your mind to seek out daily opportunities to live generously, your heart will be motived to give in a deeper way. Thinking intentionally about generosity will position you towards situational generosity, where you can meet needs that exist within your community. What can I give besides money? There is a common belief that says you cannot be generous if you don’t have money. However, living generously goes beyond giving financially. Giving through acts of service and volunteer work require time and energy. These two gifts are often more valuable to the recipients than money. Leave a lasting and priceless legacy by using your unique abilities and passions to meet the needs in your community. How does living generously impact your legacy? Giving generously frees you. It loosens the grasp of material possessions and self-involvement. Living generously has a profound impact on your personal character and is a key training ground for younger generations. Making generosity a part of your lifestyle allows you to model and teach biblical values to those around you. A generous lifestyle is an invitation to be a good steward of what God entrusted to you: your time, talents, and treasure. By embracing this mindset, you will leave a lasting impact on your community, family, and eternity.      

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Ministry

Purposeful Events—Move from Transaction to Transformation

2 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! 

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How Donor Advised Funds are Changing the Giving Industry

2 years ago By Bill High

Donor advised funds are making the news. An October 3, 2018, Bloomberg article chronicles their rise. More than half of the top ten charities in the country are donor advised fund sponsors. It is now an industry eclipsing more than $85 billion in assets. The industry has added commercial players like Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab. Critics contend that these commercial players’ motives are less charitable and more about fees to manage assets. Some even contend that donor advised funds are about stockpiling assets. But in reality, the majority of donor advised fund entities are community foundations or faith-based entities with no commercial motive. They are focused on community good or doing good in general, not money management. By comparison, the private foundation world represents $800 billion in assets compared to the $85 billion in donor advised funds. Private foundations only require a minimum distribution of 5% annually. In contrast, the National Philanthropic Trust in its 2017 report on donor advised funds noted that donor advised funds on average distribute 20% of their assets each year—far beyond what private foundations are required to do. Further, in 1998, the IRS paved the way for S corporations to donate shares to public charities. Prior to that enactment, the majority of contributions were in the form of cash or publicly traded stock. By opening the door for closely held stock to be contributed, the IRS essentially acknowledged the need to tap into one of America’s vast storehouses of wealth. The majority of corporations in the country are closely held. With the aging of the Boomer generation, many of those corporations are for sale. By allowing for the donation of closely held corporations to public charities an entire new stream of charitable giving is being opened up. Donor advised funds have been the leaders in receiving and monetizing those gifts. As their payout rates of 20% attest, the money doesn’t just sit in waiting. In the coming years, as more and more corporations sell, donor advised funds will continue to be the leader in charitable giving.

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Family

Stewarding your family in the business sale process

2 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.

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Ministry

Making Donors the Hero of Your Story

2 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.  

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