By Jerry Love, Director of Planned Giving, Louisiana Baptist Foundation
Giving USA, a research foundation that publishes data and trends about charitable giving, recently released its annual report on philanthropy for the year 2010. The good news is that charitable giving increased by just over 2 percent this last year.
The not so good news is the 2 percent increase follows two of the worst annual declines in giving since the early 1970s.
Churches and ministry organizations still have gaping holes in their budgets beccause of decreased giving in 2008 and 2009.
A quote attributed to former president Jimmy Carter goes something like this: “When it comes to giving, some people will stop at nothing.” We can ponder the ironic humor of the statement but in this day and time it has become more reality than pun.
Too many people are not able to give, whether tithe or additional offerings, to their church or favorite ministry. While current giving in the U.S. likely will be stagnant until this recession ends, don’t let the economic difficulties give you an excuse to “stop at nothing.” PLAN to give, even if it is deferred to a later date.
Here are some ideas to consider of how you can make plans to bless your church or other ministry.
This may seem like a worn-out idea but it is still one of the simplest and best avenues to give to ministry. Creating a Will is a task that every believer should undertake as a matter of stewardship. Your church or other ministry, or multiple ministries can be included in the bequests along with family members or friends. You can designate a certain dollar amount as a charitable gift or you can specify a percentage of your total estate to fund ministry efforts. It takes a little diligence on your part to make this type of gift happen, but the Louisiana Baptist Foundation can help you lay the groundwork and develop a plan for your Will.
Another easy way to plan a gift in the future is through a contractual agreement. Life insurance, annuities, IRA’s, and retirement plans all have assignment of benefits as part of their policy or contract. When you purchase or invest in one of these plans you sign a beneficiary statement or designation that states who will receive the proceeds of the plan following your death.
Once again you can use this beneficiary designation to name a ministry as recipient of these assets along with family and friends, or you can designate that your church or ministry receive all of the proceeds.
You can call the company that underwrites the policy or sponsors the retirement plan and request a change of beneficiary form. Very simple to accomplish.
Gifts of Property:
There are times when property, particularly real estate can become burdensome. Inherited property in another state, land purchased under different life circumstances, whatever the reason, you may have property that is subject to upkeep and property taxes.
Donating this type of property can produce a wonderful gift for the benefit of ministry and relieve you of financial obligations associated with holding real estate.
Donations of real property, as with any other non-cash gift, are subject to certain rules in order to receive an income tax deduction.
The Louisiana Baptist Foundation staff can guide you through the process of donating land or any other type of non-cash property.
As with any plans you make in life, don’t forget to start with prayer. We should always seek God’s guidance on what He would have you do regarding the assets He has allowed you to hold.
Call the Louisiana Baptist Foundation if you have further questions or would like more information on supporting Christian ministry.
You may reach us at 1.877.523.4636 or through our web site, www.LBFinfo.org.