How to Raise Transformational Gifts for Your Church


Raising transformational gifts such as endowment funds or Gifts of Assets among your church’s members isn’t always easy — but it doesn’t have to be hard, either. Here’s how you can organize your team to bolster your church’s finances for generations to come.

If you’re a pastor, more than likely you’ve watched other nonprofit organizations raise insanely large endowments for their causes and thought to yourself all the many things your church could do with those resources.

Now, of course, you don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity or covet your neighbor’s goods — but you know without a doubt that God wants to meet your church’s needs, too.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

The truth is that there is no reason your church cannot thrive by receiving transformational gifts, just like any other nonprofit organization.

Before I show you the best way we’ve found to raise transformational gifts, let me share with you the two big errors churches fall into when raising these types of gifts.

Transformational Gift Fundraising Errors

Error #1: Being overly endowed

Sadly, some churches are so well endowed that they don’t need to be a relevant, vibrant church anymore to stay alive. The churches that fall into this trap are typically a century old or so with so much in endowment funds that they can pay the light bill, the pastor, and maintain the building without a single person attending services.

Pretty soon, the church dies because there’s no vision required to bring in new people, or their giving. Now, you might wish you had this problem, but it’s a horrible situation I wouldn’t wish on any organization.

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” — Matthew 16:26 (ESV)

These churches have all the money in the world, but have lost their soul. Nothing’s worth that.

Error #2: Using poor fundraising tactics.

Quite often, I’ll see churches attempt to raise transformational gifts — even for really great visions that go beyond the walls of their church — but they’re using a failing tactic, like a banquet or seminar. And these tactics just don’t work well for raising transformational gifts.

The problem with tactics like banquets or seminars is that they are impersonal and ambiguous.

High net worth individual attending your events will hear your case for support and think, “That’s great, but it doesn’t apply to me. I’ve already got a trust fund set up with someone else.”

You might pull in some large gifts through an estate planning seminar or a fundraising banquet, but this is not where you’ll find the most success in securing legacy gifts or major gifts.

A Better Way

I’m glad to say there’s a much better way to raise transformational gifts for your church so that the Kingdom work you do has all the resources it needs to continue well into the future.

The method I’m about to describe to you is much better than events, seminars, or direct mail appeals — and with this strategy, you don’t have to get too technical.

Lots of pastors shy away from raising endowment funds, Gifts of Assets, or planned gifts because the details surrounding these gifts can be technical. While it’s true that there are complicated aspects of transformational gifts, these issues can be handled by legal and financial experts.

You don’t have to be the one to explain it all. And no one expects you to.

Another benefit with my method is that you won’t offend major givers.

It can be nerve-wracking to talk with someone about their net worth, estate plans, or giving. No need to worry! The way I’m about to show you minimizes the chance that you’ll ever offend someone.

Peer to Peer Endowment Fundraising for Churches

The best way to raise transformational gifts for churches is through a highly relational tactic that we’ve seen to produce tremendous results for little financial investment. It works like this…

Step 1: Engage Financial Leaders in Your Church

With peer-to-peer endowment fundraising, you and your pastoral staff engage first with these financial leaders.

One by one, you invite these people to a private conversation over dinner, coffee, or whatever format works best for you. Then, ask them about…

  • Their philanthropic goals,
  • The legacy they want to leave for the next generation,
  • The causes that stir their heart, and
  • The problems in the world that concern them the most.

After you’ve listened to them, if there’s any connection to the transformational gift options that you’ve created for your church  — and there’s almost always a connection — show them a transformational gift is the opportunity they’re looking for to leave their legacy through an estate gift, major gift, Gift of Assets, etc.

Then, see if they are willing to set up an appointment with an estate planning counselor, attorney, or with us at The Giving Crowd to find creative ways to optimize their estate plan by a gift to the church endowment.

Step 2: Recruit those Leaders to Talk to Their Peers

After several of your financial leaders have joined you, have them connect with other business leaders they know in your church and do the same thing you did with them.

As businessmen and women, the financial leaders you’ve recruited are very comfortable speaking to one of their peers about the process they’ve just gone through. More often than not, they’re also comfortable inviting their peers to join them in optimizing their estate plans and philanthropy.

Strategies that Work

It’s been said that “Relationships are the currency of heaven.” If this is true, and I think it is, then we must choose to implement fundraising strategies that honor and leverage the relationships we have with our people.

These highly relational fundraising tactics bring a larger yield into the Kingdom while blessing those who give.

If you need help cultivating transformational gifts in your church or talking with a potential donor, our team at The Giving Crowd is ready and able to help. Let’s talk!

No high-pressure sales. Just solid advice and real help.

Beyond the Walls: A Winning Funding Strategy for Your Church


High net worth people have an incredible role to fill in the local church, but why can’t they see it? It’s time to go beyond the walls so you can attract the major gifts that can transform your local church.

The Financial Leaders in Your Church

Every Sunday you see her in the pew in front of you: The church member whose high net worth could literally change the life of your church in one single gift.

She’s generous, consistent, and loyal to your congregation. But there are some big needs the church is facing, that she could uniquely solve.

And she has yet to speak to you about her estate plan or a major gift to your local church.

You fight to keep your emotions in check, because you know she gives to other charities, and you know that is a good thing.

You don’t know amounts — but when you hear her name on community centers and college buildings you know she’s giving significantly large gifts. So why not your church?

Does she see the needs of your church? You are confident that she has the means to solve the problem. But, does she know that she could save millions in taxes by giving to charity?

Honestly and humbly, I’d like to suggest that perhaps the problem doesn’t lie with her.

If she’s a generous person and faithful member of your congregation, then I have no doubt that she would be willing to give a major gift or make your church a beneficiary to her estate to make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

So what, then, is the problem?

The Loss Caused by Assuming

Really, there are several things at play here that is keeping your high net worth congregant from talking to you. But let’s start with the first major obstacle that I see between good churches and major or planned gifts.

Too many times, pastors assume that legal or financial counselors are guiding their high net worth congregants to give to their local house of worship or put their church into their estate plan. This is simply not the case.

The main goal of the legal and financial planning industry for years has been to transfer the wealth of their clients to their heirs in the most efficient means possible.

It’s really important that you understand this…

Legal & financial counselors don't often consider non-financial factors, like the client's legacy goal in plans. Click To Tweet

Their number one concern is getting the estate assets into the hands of the heirs as quickly and as tax-free as possible after your congregant passes on.

Which means your church, as well as other vital ministries are glaringly left out of the conversation when your congregant plans their estate.

And because your church isn’t in the conversation, it’s very likely that your high net worth congregant has not once considered your church as a possible beneficiary of their estate.

But there’s also another likely reason why your high net worth congregant isn’t talking to you about a major or planned gift.

Creating Possibilities for Transformation

The most likely reason your high net worth congregants are not considering your church in their estate plan or philanthropic goals is that they don’t see how their money will directly expand the Kingdom of God.

This does not mean they doubt you or your ministry’s commitment to the Kingdom.

It just means they don’t see practically how a major gift from them will make a difference in the world for the Kingdom of God.

It's your job to help your church members see how they can directly cause Kingdom transformation. Click To Tweet

In practical terms, you must create a menu of giving opportunities that offer a compelling vision for your major givers to get excited about.

Transformational Gift Opportunities that Move Church Givers

You must create a series of giving projects or goals which are dedicated to funding certain aspects of Kingdom work that are much larger than your annual operating budget.

It's important that your church's vision exceed the simple scope of the church operating budget. Click To Tweet

Transformational gifts cover a wide variety of gift types including asset gifts (like real estate, vehicles, and stocks), planned gifts (like bequests or charitable annuities), major (high amount) gifts, or endowments.

Your high net worth congregant needs to see a compelling vision with an impact that goes far beyond the walls of your church that stirs them to give — and they must see a practical use for their gift in making the vision a reality.

I recommend two major categories of transformational gifts for every church:

  1. Transformational gifts that meet the needs of your local church like future capital expansion or church planting, and
  2. Transformational gifts that meet needs beyond the walls of your local church such as Benevolence in the community, foreign missions, mission trips for folks in church, scholarships for young people who want to attend seminary, etc.

Transformational Gift Opportunities for Your Local Church

Under the Church Needs transformational gift category, I recommend creating funds that contribute to…

Transformational Gift Opportunity 1: Church Capital Needs

Major gifts or planned gifts that help fund major capital projects which keep your local church running on all eight cylinders. Large expenses such as new facility construction, parking lot renovations, roof replacements, or major equipment purchases can all be funded through these endowments, planned gifts, or other types of transformational gifts. This category goes well beyond your annual operations, providing for extensive capital projects that expand your church’s capacity to change lives in your community.

Transformational Gift Opportunity 2: Missions

Does your church support full-time missionaries in the field? Do you have a heart for urban missions in your local area? Set up an transformational gift opportunity for your congregants that maintains and perhaps expands your missions work at home and abroad.

Transformational Gift Opportunity 3: Mercy

Caring for the widows, orphans, and the poor is an essential part of being the body of Christ, but to do so is costly. A transformational gift opportunity dedicated to mercy ministries allows your church to finance the needs of the poor in your community without diminishing your general funds. As this is a common vision for many high net individuals wishing to give back, a church transformational gift opportunity devoted to this great need can spark great interest in your high capacity givers.

Transformational Gift Opportunity 4: Scholarships

When your high net worth congregant looks around on Sunday, they see the promising futures of your youth. They care about the challenges facing your young people, and they want to help. I recommend creating a transformational gift opportunity that provides scholarships for the youth in your church and/or community to help them go to college, Bible school, or vocational school. This is a vision greater than your average general fund, but it still touches your local community deeply.

Transformational Gifts that Go Beyond the Walls of Your Church

There’s one more kind of transformational gift opportunity you should consider creating for your local church. This one is different… and really exciting.

This transformational gift opportunity goes beyond the walls of your local church, allowing your church members to make a profound impact in the world without leaving your ministry.

Chances are, there are causes your church cares about that other ministries or charities are solving in a way your church could never hope to reach.

In most cases, it would be unwise to try to create a program from scratch when another ministry has already set up a proven, scalable way to fill that need.

A wiser use of Kingdom resources would be to set up a transformational gift opportunity that funds initiatives beyond the walls of your church which are consistent with your church values, proven to be fruitful, scalable, and sufficiently accountable.

A wise use of resources would be to partner with existing organizations that align with your church’s mission. Click To Tweet

For example, instead of creating a child sponsorship program in your church, why not use an endowment to sponsor children through Compassion International? Or, instead of starting your own hunger initiative, why not contribute to Food for the Hungry through your church endowment?

Want to impact future leaders in foreign countries? Young Life International is having amazing results around the world! Apparently, kids world wide want to hear about Jesus in a “kid friendly” setting.

Ministries like the ones I’ve mentioned here have a proven track record for results, a pre-existing infrastructure, and year’s worth of knowledge in their field.

By partnering with proven ministries with your church’s “Beyond the Walls” transformational gift opportunity, you are leveraging their expertise, gifting, and infrastructure to create a deeper impact than you could through your local church resources.

Now that’s a vision that will excite almost any high net worth individual!

An Incredible Discipleship Opportunity

Taking this “Beyond the Walls” approach when creating transformational gift opportunities for your church members also provides a beautiful discipleship opportunity.

While investigating the ministries your church endowment will fund, I highly encourage you to schedule trips onsite so you can see these ministries in operation. And take your high net worth congregants with you, if at all possible.

This does several beautiful things…

  1. It allows you to vet potential beneficiaries for your transformational gift opportunity, making sure that they’re worthy of your church’s support.
  2. It gives you personal time with your church members to continue pastoral care.
  3. It provides an out-of-the-box experience for your congregants that stimulate spiritual growth and maturity.
  4. It helps your high net worth church members to get a heart for the mission you’re supporting, thus preparing the way for major gifts in the future.

This is one of the most beneficial long-term fundraising strategies for any church, and frankly, it enables you to take discipleship to a whole new level.

I challenge you to go beyond the walls of your annual budget and of your church building in order to inspire your high net worth church members to radical generosity.

  1. Don’t assume your high net worth congregants are thinking of the church in their estate planning.
  2. Create a menu of transformational gift opportunity that inspire givers.
  3. Partner with scalable, proven ministries through your transformational gift opportunities so that your church can have the greatest Kingdom impact possible.

By going beyond the walls of your church in your fundraising, you’ll find all the provision necessary for the needs inside the walls of your church.

Need some help?

At The Giving Crowd, our fundraising and church leadership professionals have been helping donors fund the ministries they care about for over 30 years. If you’d like a little help getting started with your church endowment program, let’s talk.

The call’s free. And there’s no obligation.

Are You Leaving a Tax Burden for Your Heirs?


You may be leaving a huge tax burden for your children or heirs. Here’s how to disinherit the government while establishing your legacy and helping secure your children’s future.On the day you graduate from this earth, everything you have will pass on to someone else to steward. Properties, vehicles, accounts, cash—everything. You might already be planning for this and named your spouse as the beneficiary of your estate if you pass on before him or her. But what happens when both you and your spouse have left this world for the next? (Financially speaking, that is.)

Most people assume their assets will simply pass on to their children, and it most likely will… after the IRS has taken their 30 – 35% cut. What if there was another way?

The Tax Burden on Your Heirs

It all happens unexpectedly for many people who inherit their parents’ estate. When a person and surviving spouse passes away, their estate passes on to their children. But when the kids go to cash in the remaining fund in their parents’ IRA or 401 (k) account, the IRS steps in and charges them ordinary income tax on it. This is called the Income in Respect to a Decedent (IRD) tax—and it is truly the most overlooked tax in America.

In fact, even financial experts can forget all about it until it’s too late… like this banker I met once.

Didn’t See that Coming

The gentleman strode up to me directly after a planned giving presentation I made at a church. His eyes were wide as he said…

“Richard, I have been in finance all my life. Nobody’s ever talked to me about IRD taxes. Nobody ever brought it up. I never thought about it.”

Think about that! A banker, a career finance man, who had never thought about the tax burden he would be leaving to his children. He continued.

“I have over $3 million in qualified retirement funds. My wife and I plan to travel when I retire, and we intend to use that up. But if we don’t, I am happy to give that to my church—I never thought of that as a part of my estate planning!”

The sad reality is that most professional finance and legal counsel are not trained or set up to help you set up your estate plan in a way that passes on your values as well as your valuables. And this missing focus on charitable estate giving would have affected this banker personally. His two daughters would inherit the estate—and all the IRD taxes that would come with it. But now that he knew about the IRD tax, he was happy to make a gift to the church from his remaining retirement funds and lower the tax burden his daughters would be responsible for.

3 Asset Destinations

There are only three places your remaining assets can go when you pass away.

  1. Your Children and/or Heirs
  2. The IRS
  3. Charity

By default, your children and/or heirs will inherit the remaining funds in your IRA or 401 (k) accounts—and so will the IRS through the IRD tax. But if you choose to send a portion of your remaining assets to charity, you can significantly lower the tax burden your children will have to pay when you and your spouse pass on.

By naming a charity in your will or estate you can significantly lower the tax burden your children. Click To Tweet

Leaving a charitable gift in your estate or putting a charity, ministry, or church in your will is something that you have control over for now. And by choosing to give to charity out of your estate, which is much easier than you may think, you can disinherit the government while leaving a strong legacy for your children and the world.

An Overlooked Opportunity

Most people haven’t placed a charity into their estate plan. They just haven’t thought about it. They’re generous, wise people—it just never came up. But you can change that today.

You can leave an inheritance that will care for your heirs and a legacy that will impact your community by placing a charity or church in your estate plan. And if you need some experts guides to help you lower the tax burden on your children, our estate planning counselors would be happy to speak with you.

The call is free and there’s no obligation. So, let’s talk!

The Very Real Danger of Inheritances No One Talks About


Values & Valuables (Part 3 of 3)

The idea may shock you, but many lives are destroyed by the impact of sudden wealth through inheritance. As leaders of churches, ministries, and nonprofits, it’s up to us to start the conversation.

Nonprofit and ministry executives cannot assume that legal or financial advisors are helping their clients (your donors) to understand how they can pass on their values along with their valuables.

For decades, large financial institutions and attorneys have assisted individuals in making a will, estate plan, etc. And the goal has largely been the same: create the fastest, smoothest transition of assets from one generation to another.

By 2038, over $41 trillion will change hands through inheritance. Is your organization prepared for this shift? Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, the large majority of people who will inherit these assets will receive their parents’ or grandparents’ valuables while missing out on the values of the loved ones who’ve passed on… much to their detriment.

A Tale of Caution

Early in our marriage, we had a neighbor who was an only child whose parents passed within a few months of each other. Prior to the passing, it was a loving relationship and the couple seemed close.

After the passing, the young man inherited the parents’ house and an undisclosed sum of money. We never knew how much they inherited, but it was likely $100,000 or more in cash, plus the home. They felt set for life.

Sadly, the inheritance virtually destroyed that young couple’s marriage.

They immediately changed their lifestyle: bought a Corvette, an SUV, and moved into the parents’ house. Soon after moving in, they started remodeling the house.

The remodel destroyed any remnants of mom and dad, past memories, or even values the son had grown up with. At the same time, this loving family was soon demolished.

They were at each other’s throats — so much so that at one point, my wife had to call the police for fear of the woman’s safety.

This horrible situation is a great example of passing valuables but not values to your children.

A Life and Death Situation

There is very real danger in passing on your valuables without passing your values — and no one wants to talk about it. But it can destroy the ones to whom you leave your wealth.

In fact, it doesn’t even take millions of dollars to be detrimental to your heirs.

A few months ago, I spoke with a donor who told me, “The last time I saw my son, he was living under a bridge in Fort Worth, Texas.” This father knew that if he left even a small inheritance of $5,000 or $10,000, it could easily end his 20-year-old son’s life through a meth overdose.

That father knew that passing his valuables on to his son could have killed the young man.

Despite very real, life-or-death situations like these, the financial services community continues to focus on valuables, not on the person’s values.

I spoke with a Texas estate planning attorney a few years ago. I asked why he didn’t include charitable giving as a possibility to his clients. He responded that he felt it was outside his ethical parameters to introduce the subject.

How can that be off limits when you are clearly working with a family that has charitable giving, philanthropy, or spirituality as part of their core values?

It wasn’t that the attorney wasn’t qualified. He could draft some of the most complex charitable trusts for foundations and charities.

Far too often, it is the training, the habits, or the ethics of financial advisors or attorneys that limit these conversations.

It’s Up to You

Focusing solely on passing your valuables is efficient. But is it truly beneficial to your family or your legacy? Click To Tweet

The best thing for your family — and those of your donors — is to ensure your estate plan creates the financial environment where your values are fostered or empowered in your heirs.

As your assets transfer, whether during life or at death, your planning should cover your family values and how the exchange of valuables will occur.

But this is not typically going to happen through traditional legal or financial counsel.

An untapped pathway to reverse this trend and help families leave a lasting, helpful legacy to their children as ministry, church, and nonprofit leaders is to start the conversation. We must show them how they can pass on their values as well as their valuables!

You and I must bridge that gap to bring values back into the estate planning conversation.

The average American would much prefer to “disinherit the government,” reallocate those funds to support their values and leave a lasting legacy that supports the family instead of tearing the family apart.

Getting the conversation started

As nonprofit and ministry leaders, we are in a unique position to help our constituents avoid the very real danger of passing on valuables without values. But for many leaders, this isn’t always easy.

That’s where we can help. We’d be happy to put our 50 years of combined experience in planned and asset-based giving to use in helping you achieve your organizational development goals.

To see if we’re the right fit for you, let’s talk.

Values & Valuables: How to Pass on Your Values Along with Your Valuables


Values & Valuables: Discovering Values in the Valuable Void (Part 2 of 3)

Financial planning, legal, and accounting firms admittedly focus only on the transition of your assets to the next generation — so how do you pass your values along with your valuables?

We left off last time discussing how Mark Zezbaugh, a high-ranking executive in the financial planning field, confessed that his company focuses on delivering a smooth transition of assets from one generation to another.

He admitted that they don’t do much to help donors pass along their values to their heirs.

He partnered with marketing think tank Age Wave to conduct a study to find the baby boomer generation’s top four priorities when it came to estate planning.

The study showed that the number one goal of baby boomers is to pass their values to their children. Click To Tweet

Passing their wealth, was only number four.

People’s values can be cultural. They can be spiritual. They can be personal.

Values embody the important elements of your family and your belief system.

This means that your values are the most important element of your estate planning because it is the foundation of your legacy.

However, what is important in my values, family, and beliefs may not be the same for your family.

So, if financial planning experts aren’t giving it a single thought, how do people pass on their values to their heirs?

A Lifetime of Generosity

The first way to pass along your values to your heirs has nothing to do with your will. Instead, it has everything to do with the life you’ve lived and the example you’ve given to your heirs.

If you are like most average Americans, you have faithfully donated funds to certain organizations over the course of your lifetime.

No matter your gifts size, your faithful generosity leaves a powerful impression on those around you. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t take a large amount of money to pass on your values!

A Lifetime of Volunteering

If you’re thinking of leaving a lasting legacy then it’s safe for me to assume you’ve spent time raising money or participating in some sort of volunteering.

This is a powerful component of the example you’ve set for your family and other heirs. Don’t think of your service hours as simply the least you could do — they’re the best thing you could possibly do!

Gifts often go unseen, but your volunteering reflects the causes and ministries that are dear to your heart. Click To Tweet

Believe me, the next generation sees that and makes note of it.

An Estate Plan that Reflects Your Values

Money reflects your values so strongly that it can make or break a family. Strengthen your family and heirs by creating an estate plan that accurately and creatively reflects your values.

Your estate plan should communicate clearly what you care about.

You might have to get a little creative to make your values shine through — but there are amazing ways to use your estate plan to pass along your values. I know one family who set aside money in their estate for annual donations, so their children could get involved in making a strong impact on others.

Another family set aside funds specifically so that each individual family could create lasting memories by going on an annual vacation.

In both cases, the initiators of those values may not have been physically present — but they are still making a lasting impact on future generations and their communities.

Serve Together

If you are a pastor or nonprofit ministry leader, create an environment that encourages folks to pass their values on to the next generation.

Perhaps this involves taking an intergenerational mission trip where families can serve together in a common cause.

Perhaps it means putting on a donor event for their children so the children can enjoy the same level of joy in giving that their parents experience.

Perhaps it is bringing in outside speakers or curriculum to help people understand the biblical idea of passing on their values to the next generation.

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” – Proverbs 13:22

One of the questions we get frequently here at The Giving Crowd is — what do other people do?

We’ve worked for decades helping donors identify their values and pass them along to the next generation. We’ve seen and been a part of some of the most inspiring intergenerational stories of giving and family values.

We’d be happy to share these stories with you, help you sort out the values that God has placed on your heart, and show you the many ways those values can be translated into your estate plan.

No obligation and no fees – so get a hold of us today!

Or, if you’re a pastor or nonprofit ministry leader, you may need someone to walk alongside you to help implement an environment of intergenerational giving.

If so, we’re ready to help. The call is free – so contact us today and see if we’re the right fit for you.

Does Your Financial Plan Reflect Your Values or just Your Valuables?


Values & Valuables: The Overview (Part 1 of 3)

Financial planning is good — except when it only focuses on your valuables and ignores your values. Your financial planner is probably not going to help you with this. Here’s why.

The billions of dollars raised by charities each year only represent a small fraction of the average American’s net worth.

The reality is these monies represent the fluid currency of cash – which is a mere 9% of the total net worth of the average American. The other 91% is in assets: 401(k)s, home equity lines, retirement plans, life insurance and so forth.

Many donors wish they could release the full giving potential of their valuables to further the charities that resonate with their values.

But how can you, as the average American donor, address philanthropy in the context of items that are not in your checkbook or in cash?

You live in your home. You need your retirement plan. And your life insurance is only available after death.

You’ve spent years being faithful to live the life well that you’ve been given. You’ve worked jobs, raised a family, participated in the community, etc.

And through your faithfulness, you’ve created wealth in terms of assets, friends, homes, and values.

Both your values and your valuables should be celebrated.

For most individuals, the gift to charity in their estate will be the biggest impact they will be able to make in this lifetime. Perhaps that’s you, too.

But you’re probably not going to hear this from your chosen charities or your church.

Often nonprofit executives look at potential donors like you — especially in a church setting — and assume that philanthropic elements like wills and trust planning are being done by your financial planners or attorneys.

However, financial planners and attorneys are only looking to find the most direct path to transfer wealth from one generation to the next.

But these financial professionals leave it up to nonprofit executives and church leaders to educate you on value-based charitable giving or legacy giving.

And because each believes the other is discussing this information, you might never hear about planned charitable giving in a way that helps you direct the 91% of your wealth towards the values you care deeply about.

A notable opinion on this issue is offered by Mark Zezbaugh, the former CEO at one of the biggest financial companies in the world.

He openly exhorts the financial service community regarding the normal pattern of advisors assisting clients in passing on their financial wealth to the next generation, without consideration of charity or values-based giving.

But in a study Mark conducted with Age Wave, the results showed that for aging Americans…

The #1 priority is passing their values onto their heirs. Passing their wealth — their valuables — is only #4 on the priority list.

That just makes sense.

You have spent years developing your children, demonstrating your values and hoping for it to make a lasting impression.

I’d rather my three daughters share my values than have the life insurance money or trust fund (valuables) — even though I want them to have that too.

I am more interested in my children becoming healthy, happy women than making sure they are financially set.

Is your estate planning only focused on valuables? What are some ways to pass your values to the next generation?

The good news is that your estate planning can celebrate both your values as well as your valuables by donating portions of your assets to your charity or church.

To help you unlock the full potential of your giving capacity, we offer a service helping donors like you explore ideas on estate giving. No cost. No obligation.

If you want to see how you can minimize your tax liability and pass on your values by giving to charity, let’s talk!

3 Modern Myths Holding Your Fundraising Back


Stop Focusing on the 9%

Nonprofits, churches, and higher education organizations often fall into the trap of going for quick cash gifts instead of tapping into the abundance of asset-based fundraising. See if one or more of these three modern myths are holding you back from your full fundraising potential.  Every season has unique giving opportunities – from the ringing of holiday bells outside a store to the cookies or popcorn sold door to door.  Giving opportunities are everywhere.

But they all focus on the same thing – the money in your wallet or checking account.

Many organizations excel at creating an emotional tug to spur a moment where you reach for your wallet. But here’s the thing…

I have done the math and it’s eye-opening.

The sum of all those moments = 9% of the individual’s giving potential.

How did I get 9%?  Let’s look at the types of things that make up one’s net worth.

Fluid cash sources like saving accounts, money under a mattress, etc., are easily accessed funds that people can use to purchase items.

Assets are tangible objects that would need to be sold to purchase something else like stocks, real estate, and businesses.

Most Americans have about 91% of their net worth in assets. That leaves 9% for liquid assets, such as savings and cash on hand.

While it will always make sense to have a robust, cash-driven church fundraising strategy, just imagine how much more you could accomplish by developing an asset-based approach as well!

Here are three myths that hold people back from the 91% of donor gifts available through asset-based funding strategy.

Myth #1: Asset-based fundraising isn’t worth the effort.

I’m not going to lie to you. Asset-based fundraising is more work for gifts that won’t come for a while (if ever).

However, the long-term gains far outweigh the effort.

Assets are an untapped resource that most ignore when it comes to giving. By offering ways for people to give out of the 91%, you can help your already generous donors be even more generous while also saving on taxes.

And the gifts you receive will also often be exponentially larger than your largest cash gifts.

Myth #2: Asset-based fundraising is manipulative.

Your donors spend a lifetime building their asset portfolios. This represents a manifestation of their long-term efforts, goals, family values, and dreams to make a lasting impact.

For many of us, it seems greedy and calloused to ask someone to give you a significant part of the wealth they spent a life building for their family — but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

By educating them on what’s possible in terms of asset-based stewardship, you expand their horizons, exposing ways for them to make a lasting impact with the wealth they have created, while also reducing tax burdens they weren’t aware of.

In short, you serve your most passionate supporters in a whole new way when you engage in asset-based fundraising.

Myth #3: High capacity donors already have accountants and lawyers that help them with these things.

It is true that these donors often have great legal and financial assistance.  However, the primary focus of these professionals is preserving resources NOT helping their clients give assets away to impact great causes.

In fact, it’s the opposite.  Most lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors consider it their job to advise clients to keep as many assets as they can.

As a result, the conversation about asset-based generosity rarely comes up, if ever.  

Of course, this opens the door for your organization to serve your donors in a whole new way by educating donors on the benefits, methods, and joy of giving their assets to the causes they care deeply about.

This issue of asset-based giving is such an important topic that we will be talking about in much more detail on future posts.

When we work with a person who has a deep passion for a mission or cause and help them create a larger gift than they realized was possible, it is a beautiful experience.

In working with individuals and organizations for many years, I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish I had been less generous.”  What I have heard many times though is, “I had no idea that I could give out of my assets to the missions and causes that I love.”

It’s time that we start having a new conversation about giving — one that releases people’s ability to make an impact. So, let’s stop focusing on the 9% and tap into the 91% of the untapped assets.

Is your ministry ready to help people go beyond the 9%? Schedule your free 30-minute discovery call to see how!