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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

What is Transformational Generosity?

2 weeks 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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Family

The Difference in Living Generously

3 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.

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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  

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