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5 Family Conversation Starters about Gratitude and Generosity

4 days ago By Bill High

In the upcoming holidays, many of us have intentions to create an atmosphere of gratitude—and often, asking questions about gratitude can quickly start a family conversation about generosity. However, starting authentic family conversation during the busyness of the season is not always easy. Here are a few gratitude and generosity conversation starters to use at your family’s Thanksgiving table. Create space The first step is simply to create space for the conversation. As hard as it can be, make it a point to gather your family and share your desire and expectation to talk through topics like gratitude and generosity. Setting clear intentions for this conversation can develop a strong foundation for your family to build from, even in the midst of a fast-paced, always-wanting-more culture. As you navigate the differences in generational communication, be clear that in a family conversation, all are welcome to contribute. Invite ideas and big dreams, and even express your willingness to hear about hurts or needs that should be met. When your family gathers around a common purpose like family generosity and gratitude, it builds unity. We all want to make a difference, and it feels even better to do it in community. Start the conversation After you start the family’s conversation, be prepared to guide the discussion with additional thoughts and questions about gratitude and generosity. Here are a few easy thankfulness conversation starters that may help launch you into further discussion: Can you remember a time you received something that you didn’t deserve? How did that make you feel? Who is the most generous person you know? What makes them that way? “To give is to receive”. What does this quote mean to you? Do you think it’s true? If you could write the last check needed to solve a problem in the world, what would you solve? Why is that important to you? Do you typically think you have more than you need, less than you need, or exactly what you need? These are just a few examples of ways you can generate organic conversation about gratitude and generosity. Generosity and gratitude are often caught, not taught. By sharing your own experiences and modeling a generous lifestyle to your children, you invite your family into a legacy of generosity. Being aware of these small acts can leave a lasting legacy for your entire family to pass down for generations. Don’t let the conversation end there. Make sure to end these conversations with the next step you all want to take together. Whether you need to dig further into the common values you want to pursue, or maybe you want to create a generosity plan together, set a plan for how you will follow through. The Signatry has a guide to build a generosity plan as a family that will provide resources to create that plan together. This post was originally published on November 16, 2018.

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Family

Generosity that Lasts for Generations

3 weeks 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.

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Family

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

4 weeks 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. 

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Nonprofits

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

1 month 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!

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Story

Stewarding Resources to Accomplish More

3 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. 

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