One-time or recurring disbursements – what helps nonprofits most?

If you give through the Christian Community Foundation, it’s likely that your goal is to be strategic and impactful with the grants you request out of your donor-advised fund. This requires a level of planning that many families and individuals typically don’t remember or prioritize as part of their giving. So…how do you decide which giving method is best for you and/or the grantees of your choice. Is it more helpful to make one large annual contribution? Are recurring gifts actually helpful? Here are things to consider when creating a grant disbursement plan for your donor-advised fund.

About recurring gifts

Increasingly, nonprofits are developing multiple tracks for givers to follow. Upon submitting an online gift, many donors are prompted to consider if they’d like to make this gift monthly, becoming a participant in a subscription-like donation model. You might wonder if this is merely a cash grab, an opportunity to capture the generosity of donors who might make an errant click that starts them on an ongoing giving journey they may not realize they’re on for several months. But in reality, recurring donations can play an important role in nonprofit planning and management AND can be helpful to donors whose budget requires smaller, more frequent donations.

Donors who submit monthly recurring grants (via donor central) can possibly enable nonprofits to make important purchasing and investment decisions for the future because they can estimate how much money will come to them through promised donations. Of course, the donor can withdraw from the program at any time, so the estimation is still just a best guess.

One time or recurring, which is right for me?

So, should you give larger, one-time gifts or should you space out your donations throughout the year as part of an ongoing, recurring donation? Which is more impactful? The truth is that both are impactful and can benefit the organization in which you are investing and the answer may depend upon the organization and timing. For example, if an organization you love is running a limited-time capital campaign to replace its roof, a one-time donation can help them reach its goal better than a recurring monthly donation could. If that same nonprofit is launching a new program that will run into perpetuity, recurring donations can help meet programmatic needs for months or years to come.

How do I do it?

If you’re requesting a grant through CCF, both opportunities are available to you. Through Donor Central, you can request a one-time grant from your phone, tablet or computer at any time. You can also set up a recurring donation from your fund, which will send the nonprofit of your choosing a check at a cadence you determine. The beauty of a donor-advised fund is that the way you disburse grants really doesn’t matter. You receive the tax benefit upon investment into your DAF, not when you request a grant.

What else should I know?

One-time and recurring gifts to a nonprofit will come to them in the form of a check from the Christian Community Foundation with your name on it (unless you choose to remain anonymous). This means that you won’t be enrolled in recurring monthly donation programs the organization has unless you discuss it with the nonprofit you invest in before you start making recurring donations.

NexGen Fund: What you need to know about this powerful tool

In 2019, we launched our NexGen Fund – a vehicle designed to create family conversations about giving. By teaching the next generation about the importance of philanthropy, we can work together to establish a legacy of generational giving.

Since our NexGen Fund is the newest addition to our fund lineup, you may have a few questions about how it operates. This powerful tool is flexible, affordable and fun!

You can use the NexGen Fund to create a giving account for a minor.

As its name alludes, the NexGen Fund raises a new generation of givers. To get started, you or a family member can create a fund in a child, grandchild or godchild’s name regardless of age. Upon telling them about their fund, use this opportunity as a time to share the importance of giving and discuss causes and organizations that are important to them to gain insight into their future giving.

The fund-holder gains full access once they’re of age.

After you’ve created an account, the fund is available for use at any time. Depending upon the amount you’ve invested, the fund could appreciate as the child ages. Once they’re of legal age, they gain full access to their fund and are able to give as they desire. One idea if you’d like to make giving a family affair is to sit down at holiday dinners or birthdays and discuss recent gifts you’ve given to local organizations or causes. This can inspire giving and possibly spark new ideas in your loved one for giving recipients!

You don’t have to hit the same giving threshold.

Another bonus of the NexGen Fund is that there is no threshold to start the fund. For example, our usual investment threshold to create a donor-advised fund is $2,500. However, there’s no minimum to create a NexGen Fund!

With these perks, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 901-682-6201 to establish a NexGen Fund and begin fostering your giving legacy today.

How to evaluate your giving plan

When you create a plan to give strategically, oftentimes, you’re creating systems to streamline and regulate your giving. These efficiency strategies help you give more money to organizations that need it by automating your giving. While you are giving generously, you may forget that you’re even doing it because you’re rarely writing a check or even thinking about where your money is going. We’ve talked about this before on our blog – sometimes, we go into giving autopilot.

To make giving something you’re thinking about regularly, we recommend evaluating your giving regularly. We don’t answer the “Where should I give?” and “How much should I give?” questions, but there are more things to evaluate when it comes to philanthropy! Here are several ideas to get you started:

Do I want to designate my gifts?

When you disburse a grant to a nonprofit organization, it most often goes to the organization’s general donation pool. The organization can use those funds at its discretion. But, some nonprofits allow donors to invest in more specific programs so they can better understand how their donation is making an impact. There are a few common types of donation pools:

  1. Programmatic initiatives – Some organizations allow donors to specifically invest in their longstanding programming. Instead of giving to an organization overall, you might be able to choose one of their specific support programs and invest in that work.
  2. Seasonal campaigns – Nonprofits sometimes provide seasonal services like summer camps or holiday meals. You can support these specific efforts seasonally.
  3. Specialty campaigns – Sometimes referred to as a capital campaign, specialty campaigns help nonprofits meet specific, timely needs. For example, many nonprofits will run a capital campaign to make essential building repairs or renovations. You can help a nonprofit continue its work by investing in these efforts.

Connect with the team at CCF to learn about how to designate your grants for a specific purpose.

Do I want to adjust my giving cadence?

Most donors request grants at a certain rhythm – and when that rhythm is automated, it’s easy to forget you’re doing it! No matter how often you make donations, taking time to evaluate your cadence is an easy way to reconnect with your philanthropic journey. Depending upon the organizations you donate to and your family’s personal financial circumstances, it may make more sense to donate smaller amounts frequently or to donate one large amount at one time. While we will never advise our donors on how much to give, our team can help you time your giving in a way that will make the most impact.

Can I be more impactful by adjusting my donation timing?

It’s always our goal for our family of givers to use their accounts frequently to bless organizations in need. Oftentimes, this means that you are budgeting an amount for charitable donations, placing that amount in your donor-advised fund, and doling it out during the course of a year. One way to keep this process more engaging is to look back at the last year and see when you received the most requests for donations from nonprofits you love. Depending upon the organizations you support, you might field more requests as school restarts, as the holidays approach, as winter sets in or as the summer starts to heat up. This can help you reserve excess funds to meet in-the-moment needs throughout the year. As you respond to requests throughout the year, you are becoming a more active giver!

How to talk to your children about a donor-advised fund

At CCF, we often refer to our donors as “family members.” Why? Because we believe that to be true! We’re united through Christ by the same mission – to make a difference worldwide through strategic, generous and impactful giving. We also believe that giving is a family friendly practice and a way to build a legacy for generations to come. How can you get your family involved? We suggest starting with your kids!

How to introduce donor-advised funds to your children

Kids are known to mimic the actions of those around them. For example, a child may pretend to stir something in a bowl after helping bake a cake. You can use this to your advantage when it comes to giving. If they see you placing something in the offering plate at church, they’ll want to do the same! This is a great time to pass them a dollar or some change so they can feel like they’re doing their part.

How to incorporate teens and older children into giving decisions

Does your child have an allowance? Ask them to set aside some of it to donate to a cause they’re passionate about. If you don’t already know, this is a good time to ask them what they’re passionate about. Do they love animals? Discuss requesting a grant from your personal or family donor-advised fund to a local animal shelter. Are they into sports? Suggest a donation to a local boys and girls club or sports-centered youth ministry. There are many ways to get your older children involved and let them know they’re making a difference!

How to share donor-advised funds with your adult children

As children age, it may seem harder to incorporate them into your giving decisions. One way to keep them apart is to make giving a family activity. Choose a time you’re all together, like a holiday or family dinner, and discuss which organizations or causes are important to you. From there, you can come together to decide which one to request a grant to based on your earlier conversation. Additionally, there is the option to set up donor-advised funds for each family member or each of your children’s family. This is a great way to build your legacy and keep the giving cycle going!

If you’d like to further discuss how to incorporate your children into your giving or would like to establish separate funds, give us a call at 901-682-6201.

It’s not about where you give, but how you give

We’re in the business of strategic, generous and impactful giving. We work with our donors to develop giving plans that meet their needs and allow them to create the most impact possible with the money they can give. Using those three words, we drive emphasis on the process of giving. We don’t mention anything about where our donors grant funds. We purposefully focus on the how.

Understandably, we get a lot of questions around where people can or can’t donate. It makes sense – blessing an organization with a gift is undoubtedly the most exciting part of a person’s giving journey. Most often, we’re asked if giving through CCF is limited to Christian ministries. And our answer is clear: no!

While we don’t disclose the organizations to which our donors give, we can share that our donors support thousands of nonprofits that meet people’s needs across the globe. Many of these organizations are Christian ministries, but not all of them are. As long as an organization has a 501(c)(3) status and does not operate against Christian values, our donors can give to it. 

When we say that we focus on the how, we mean it. As a foundation, we don’t provide recommendations on where to give, even when asked. We believe that giving should be a movement of the heart, a process of discovery that each giver should go through with their family and through their own relationship with Jesus Christ. If the Lord leads you to give to an organization, and you and your family prayerfully consider that gift, then we encourage you to request the grant. 

Our founders recognized that extending the love of Christ into our community would often happen by supporting Christian organizations, but not always. That’s why you’ll see Common Grace gifts mentioned throughout our founding language. Common Grace gifts are given to nonprofit organizations that meet the foundational human needs of our neighbors. These organizations do lifesaving work, providing food, shelter, companionship, medical care and education to people who need it. While Common Grace gifts don’t go to Christian organizations, they do go to organizations that are meeting people’s human needs, which mirrors an example set by Jesus throughout the Bible. 

So, when you ask us about where to give, we won’t give you a list of organizations. Instead, we’ll encourage you to consider how you can give strategically, generously and impactfully wherever God leads you. If you’d like help getting started on your giving journey, or learning how to put these three words into practice, give us a call at (901) 682-6201.

It’s time to experience the Power of Giving

It’s about time we get together – and at the Christian Community Foundation, one of our favorite ways to gather is through our annual Power of Giving Celebration. Now, “annual” is applied loosely to this year’s event. If you’ve partnered with us for a while, then you know that we have scheduled and rescheduled this event for nearly two years. But we’re officially on for 2022, and we can’t wait to share a spring evening with you.

What is the Power of Giving Celebration?

We talk a lot about strategic, generous and impactful giving. The Power of Giving Celebration is our opportunity to share how those words come to life through your partnership with the Christian Community Foundation. We open the event with a time of fellowship, which is a great opportunity for our community to mingle, enjoy food and drink, and soak up springtime in Memphis. We will then gather indoors for a brief presentation from the Christian Community Foundation team and board – during which we’ll highlight how your gifts have impacted Memphis and beyond. The event culminates as we turn the stage over to our guest
speaker – Scott Harrison of charity: water.

Why should I attend?

The Power of Giving Celebration is the best opportunity for our Family of Givers to feel the sense of community that comes along with being a CCF donor. When you create a donor-advised fund with us, you aren’t just creating a pathway for your family to give generously. Through the Hope for Memphis Fund, you are investing in Christian ministries in Memphis alongside all of our givers. This cumulative impact is one of the largest benefits to giving through our foundation.

But Scott Harrison of charity: water is a must-see presenter. After reading his bestselling novel “Thirst,” we know your soul will be replenished by his message of transformation and compassion for people experiencing water crises around the world.

What are the details?

Registration is open now through Monday, April 18. All CCF donor-advised fund holders are encouraged to bring their families and are invited to bring a guest. Here is all of the information you need to attend:

Christian Community’s Annual Power of Giving Celebration
Memphis Botanic Garden
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Fellowship begins at 4:45; Program begins at 5:30
Register here

Three giving resolutions to enact in 2022

Oftentimes resolutions are inward facing. Focusing on fitness, committing to a yearly devotional or investing in healthy eating are good resolutions to keep your body and spirit well. But an outward facing goal, like being more generous, can not only be good for the community around you but can also be good for your soul. 

At the Christian Community Foundation, we encourage faith-driven givers to be strategic, impactful and generous with their giving. To do so, we have three simple resolutions to work into your 2022 plans. 

Create a plan for giving.

Did you know that grant requests increase exponentially in November and December? At the end of the year, many people try to give away as much money as possible to meet needs, bless people during the holidays or wrap up their tax planning. Giving in this fashion can be stressful, ad hoc, and ultimately leads people to give less than they might otherwise be able to. 

When you create a plan for your annual giving, you’ll know exactly how much you can give away. By making an annual contribution to a donor-advised fund, you get a better look at what your tax benefit will be. Then you can dole out funds as it makes sense throughout the year. A strategic giving plan can simplify your plans and increase your giving potential. 

Seek opportunities to learn more about where you choose to give.

It’s one thing to make an investment in a nonprofit. It’s another thing to learn about the people you’re supporting. When you make an investment of time alongside your financial gift, you’ll be amazed at what the Lord can do in your heart. As you build connections with nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, the more generous you might become! Becoming an invested giver is a great way to increase your generosity.

Multiply your gifts through prayer.

One sure-fire way to multiply your gifts is to accompany them with prayer. Once you’ve learned about the organizations you’re supporting, you can lift up specific prayer requests. As you continue to walk alongside the organization, you’ll see the power of your gifts and your prayer in action. That’s one way to be an impactful giver! 

How to incorporate prayerful consideration into your giving

As Christians, we’re called to demonstrate generosity and kindness daily. Giving is personal and unique to each donor, so at CCF, we encourage prayerful discussions with our Lord and Savior when you’re making gift considerations. Keep reading to learn more about why incorporating prayer into your giving routine is important and how to do so if you aren’t already.

Everything belongs to God.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” – Psalm 24:1

I feel the verse above encapsulates why prayerful consideration is imperative to giving. All we own is borrowed from God. As His followers, we are to use those blessings to honor Him and care for His people. What better way to ensure His will be done than to consult with Him first!

God will take care of and provide for us.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

Generosity spreads like wildfire. When we give, it inspires others to pass it on! Additionally, we needn’t worry about worldly material things because God is always there for us. He gives and He takes away – we know that we have everything we need when we have Him.

Now that we’ve discussed why prayerful consideration when giving is important, here are a few ways to introduce it into your practice.

Ask for guidance when choosing an organization.

Choosing a cause or organization to donate to can be a looming task. Every nonprofit organization does meaningful work and creates change throughout our community and the world. If you’re debating on where to make your grant recommendation, ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Pray that He opens your eyes to a cause that means something to you and your family, and that He blesses your gift.

Ask that His will be done.

After you’ve made your decision, pray for your gift! Pray that His will be done and that your gift blesses those in need. Ask that your gift serves as a guiding light for Him.

Ask that your heart be changed.

Finally, we recommend asking that your heart be changed. Ask that your eyes are open to the needs of our community and the world, and that you and your family continue to do His work.

Giving is incredibly personal, and making decisions can be challenging without guidance. But when you incorporate prayer into your giving process, you can count upon God to open your heart and mind to organizations in need.

When to consider granting money anonymously

One of the major benefits of granting through a donor-advised fund is that community foundations take on the administrative aspects of giving. Once a fund holder requests a grant, the community foundation handles vetting the grantee, check processing and distribution. A letter is included with each check that includes the donor’s name and mailing address for acknowledgements. However, if a donor requests to be anonymous, the donor’s information is excluded from the letter.

Why might a donor want to give a gift anonymously? Is anonymous giving something you should consider? There are several reasons why anonymous gifting might be the right option for you or your family:

You want to alleviate donor relations work a nonprofit has to perform.
Many nonprofit organizations have robust donor relations programs that require handwritten thank yous, specialized invitations to events, and targeted communication outreach, among other things. This is a lot of work for nonprofit organizations that are working tirelessly to support their clients. By giving anonymously, you can support the organization without adding another donor to their donor relations docket.

You generally prefer privacy.
Some companies and families choose to remain known so that recognition of their gifts may drive awareness and further support for the respective organization, especially among extended family or professional circles. You’ve likely seen sponsors and donors highlighted at annual galas, sporting events and other large gatherings. Sometimes seeing others’ commitment to giving back can spark a desire in our own hearts – there is definitely a time and a place for it! But if you want to give a gift at a high level and prefer your name not be flashed on a screen, you can give a gift anonymously. This allows you to give to organizations you love without your gift amount or name being associated with the organization.

Your gift is a one-time gift and you don’t want to be solicited for future gifts.
Say tragedy strikes across the country and you feel led to donate to disaster support efforts. You can use your donor-advised fund to make that grant request. But because the organization is outside of your community, you don’t plan to give to the organization more than once. By giving anonymously, your information will be withheld from the organization. Therefore, you cannot be solicited by the organization for future gifts.

Your career makes anonymity the best option.
Depending upon your career, it may be in your best interest to give gifts anonymously. For example, if you are a pastor, it is fair to assume that your congregants seek to follow your wisdom and advice. There are thousands of worthy Christian nonprofits out there that your congregants can bless with gifts. If you publically give to one of them, that might sway your congregation to invest in that organization rather than spreading their gifts across ministries as they feel called. Giving anonymously prevents this from happening.

What gifts can’t be made through your donor-advised fund?

One of the great things about donor-advised funds is how many different ways you can give! Whether it’s liquid assets, appreciated stocks or property, a donor-advised fund is a safe, secure way to ensure your giving wishes are carried out efficiently. However, while there are many options for giving, there are some gifts that can’t be made through a donor-advised fund. Keep reading to learn more about our giving guidelines.

Grants must be given to public nonprofit organizations.

Each gift recommendation must be made to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as designated by the IRS. Most charitable organizations you know of qualify as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, but there are some organizations that are “not-for-profit” but are not 501(c)(3)s. Two common examples are political campaigns and foundations or private foundations. You also cannot give to an individual’s crowdfunding campaign, like those shared through GoFundMe or other online donation platforms.

Grants must be used for charitable purposes.

Gifts of personal value are ineligible. This means that you cannot use your donor-advised fund to purchase tickets to fundraising events, even if the event is hosted by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Because you would get a personal value – the ticket to the event – for your grant, this gift is ineligible. The clearest way to put it: you cannot receive any money from a grant disbursed from your donor-advised fund.

Grants can only be given directly to an organization.

Want to give a gift to a missionary or to a student looking to go to college? Through your donor-advised fund, you cannot give gifts to them directly. Since all gifts must go through nonprofit organizations, you would have to grant money to the organization overseeing the mission work and overall scholarship funds. While you can specify how you would like your gift to be used – like designating your money toward a scholarship fund for students in a specific program – you cannot stipulate that the funds directly impact a particular individual.

Grants have to go to organizations that align with our Christian values.

As a Christian organization, it’s our duty to further His Kingdom on Earth – one way to do that is by supporting Christian ministries. But, as a donor-advised fund holder at CCF, you can make grant requests to non-religious organizations so long as those organizations do not stand against our Christian values. We call these gifts Common Grace grants.

Questions? Feel free to give us a call at 901-682-6201 or email rex@hopeccf.org to discuss. We’re here for you!