Five questions to ask your financial advisor about giving

When giving, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. The process can be arduous (completing forms, gathering paperwork for tax season, etc.), but by asking your financial advisor the right questions, you can be more prepared to maximize your giving strategy to its full potential.

Here are a few questions to consider asking your financial advisor before beginning your giving journey.

Is it possible to set aside a specific amount for giving purposes?

Absolutely! One option to consider is a donor-advised fund. This type of fund allows you to allocate funds solely for giving – once they’re added to the account, they cannot be withdrawn for any other purpose. It’s like having your own charitable foundation! Additionally, funds added to these accounts can be invested and may appreciate over time, which means you could give more to the causes and organizations you admire most.

Are there any giving options with tax advantages?

While taxes are a part of life, there are options available to make the best use of your funds. One of those being a donor-advised fund. As mentioned previously, funds contributed to a donor-advised fund will appreciate, but its growth is also exempt from tax deductions. In fact, any funds that enter or leave your account are tax-exempt! Plus, your investment in a donor-advised fund is the taxable event – not the individual grants you give out of the fund. This means that you only have to manage a single or small handful of gift paperwork when it’s time to file your taxes.

There’s a lot of paperwork to keep up with when giving. Do I have any options for bookkeeping when it comes to grantmaking?

When you create a donor-advised fund with a foundation, the foundation takes on all responsibility for paperwork. This means you receive receipts at the end of the fiscal year for tax purposes. We also handle the distribution of grants to your designated causes or organizations – all you have to worry about is where and how much to give!

What are my options for donating stock?

With a donor-advised fund, you’re able to grant stock, mutual funds, real estate or other tangible assets. Appreciated stock gifts, both publicly traded and closely held, allow donors to receive a tax deduction equal to the stock’s value without paying a capital gains tax.

Philanthropy is an important part of my personal philosophy. How can I involve my family in my giving practice?

Instilling a giving spirit in children and grandchildren is often at the top of many adults’ lists. It’s a way to pass on your legacy and encourage your family to continue the work you’re passionate about. A great tool to encourage giving among your family is a donor-advised fund. Family members including spouses, children and/or grandchildren can participate in grantmaking as fund advisors. At CCF, we also offer a NexGen Fund, an account created for a child, grandchild or godchild (regardless of age). Once they’re of legal age, they gain full access and are able to begin giving with the funds left for them.

When preparing to give, it’s important to have all the information you need to make an informed decision, so be sure to ask your financial advisor any and all relevant questions. If you’d like more information about donor-advised funds or CCF in general, please feel free to contact us!

It’s National Nonprofit Day!

August 17 is National Nonprofit Day! At CCF, we love being your conduit of giving to your favorite organizations and causes, but did you know there are ways to support your favorite nonprofits year-round without monetary donations? Here are three ways to boost the nonprofits you love in addition to your gifts.


Volunteering is a key tenet of the nonprofit space. Whether it’s working a shift at the local soup kitchen or food bank, passing out waters at a 5K or playing with kittens at the animal shelter, your service is integral to the success of these organizations. While we all have time, it is limited – so there’s no gift more valuable than giving up an hour or an afternoon to help others.

Engaging on social media

Social media allows you to connect with people and organizations across the globe. By following your favorite nonprofits’ accounts, you’re increasing their reach, exposing their content to people who may want to donate to or could benefit from their mission.

Sharing a nonprofit’s content is another way to spread the word. All it takes is one click to share a status about a request for blankets, nonperishable food or toiletry items, water bottles or dog food to alert your followers or friends to the need in your community. This also alerts those in need there’s help available.

Talking about the mission

The original form of social media is word of mouth! Share news of your favorite nonprofits with your family, friends and acquaintances when you run into them. Tell someone about your latest volunteer experience. There’s no better way to encourage someone to get involved than with personal stories and anecdotes.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help your favorite organizations and causes, give us a call at 901-682-6201.

If God owns everything, how can we be good stewards?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

– James 1:17

As Christians, we know everything we have on Earth is God’s. And as he provides for us and blesses us beyond our needs, it’s good to reflect on how we can use his blessings to spread the Gospel. At the Christian Community Foundation, we call that Biblical Stewardship. But how can we ensure we’re good stewards of his blessings, or how can we start if we’ve never looked at giving that way before?

Prayerfully consider your requests.

Giving is a spiritual act of worship. When we give to others, we’re spreading God’s love and good news – so shouldn’t we include Him in those decisions? Before requesting a grant, we encourage you to lift your thoughts to Him in prayer. By incorporating God into your giving, you can ensure your gift giving is Christ centered and heaven minded.

Incorporate the whole family.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

– Proverbs 22:6

Instead of making giving a solitary act, why not include the whole family? The Bible encourages us to set an example for our children, and what better way to inspire them to give than by exposing them to generosity? Before deciding where to give, consider asking your children about causes they’re passionate about and allowing them to be a part of the grant requesting process. This will make your child feel important and a part of the bigger picture. It also demonstrates firsthand the importance of giving back and why we as Christians are called to do so.

Give with a generous spirit.

As Christians, God calls us to give – not out of obligation, but of our own volition.

Think to Mark 12:41-44, the parable of the Widow’s Offering. Many wealthy people came to make an offering at the temple, but Jesus noticed a widow giving just two coins and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

God loves a cheerful giver. He doesn’t care about the monetary amount; He cares about our hearts. When you give with God in your heart, your gifts will multiply tenfold!

If you have questions about CCF or donor-advised funds or want advice about how and where to give, feel free to give us a call at 901-682-6201.

Balancing fund growth and grants

Once givers learn that they can invest in a donor-advised fund and grow their capacity for charitable grants tax-free, opening a donor-advised fund is easy. Many donors start thinking about new ways to expand their giving, maximize their giving output, and how much money they want to pour into their fund each year. It’s an exciting process to watch as a fund administrator. But as the process evolves, a saving-focused mindset can kick in. Donors start to consider how they can continue growing the value of their donor-advised fund account while also sending out grants. It makes sense – as we often desire for our investment accounts to grow rather than diminish. But this mindset speaks to the importance of having conversations about donor-advised funds, strategic giving and the ultimate goal of using this financial tool. Here are some things to consider if this thought has crossed your mind. 

Get strategic with your investments and grants.

If you’re looking to grow your donor-advised fund account and continue giving grants, one thing you can do is strategically consider how you plan to use your fund. You might set a goal that looks something like this: I want to be more generous every year. Last year, I invested $100 into my donor-advised fund account and granted $50 to a nonprofit. This year, I will invest $150 in my donor-advised fund account and will grant $100. In this scenario, you’re increasing the amount of money in your donor-advised fund overall AND are granting out more than you did the year before. 

Consider opening two funds for long- and short-term giving goals.

Maybe you want to grow your donor-advised fund so you can make a large investment when the time is right. Building up enough funds for a major gift can take a while, and it’s best to let the money grow tax-free over time than to continually pull from it to make grants. Get strategic with your plan and create two donor-advised funds – one for your long-term gifting goal and the other for short-term or spontaneous gifts. Then you can leave one account untouched to grow until you’re ready for your large gift while using the other one to make grants throughout the year. 

Shift your mindset – giving doesn’t have to be about growth. 

Maybe growing your fund is important for you right now. Like the scenario we mentioned earlier, you might be planning to make a large gift that you need to build up funds for. But if that isn’t your scenario, we encourage you to pray about your giving plan and consider whether or not you need to grow your donor-advised fund account. Now might be a season of giving freely – investing in nonprofits who need support even if that reduces your DAF balance. There may come a season in the future when building your fund up again makes sense, but there is nothing wrong with having your balance decrease as you give according to the calling God puts on your heart. 

3 lessons on generosity

When you think of generosity in the Bible, do any stories come to mind? While you might recall some of those stories to motivate your generosity in life, you can also use them to teach your children, grandchildren, niece and nephews. If you’re looking to talk to the young people in your life about the power of generosity and God’s love, here are three stories that can help. 

The widow’s offering

One of the most well-known stories on generosity comes from Mark 12:41-45. Jesus was at the temple with his disciples sitting across from the place where offerings were made. They had seen many wealthy people come by to put large amounts of money in the treasury, but then the widow came along and placed two coins inside. Compared to the other offerings that were being made, you wouldn’t think that this would catch much attention, but Jesus recognized that woman immediately. He told his disciples that out of all the offerings that had been given, the poor widow put more in than anyone else because she gave everything she had while everyone else just gave because they were wealthy. 

The story of the widow provides a great framework for talking to the children in your life about what they can give. This isn’t just a story to teach them about financial giving and tithing, but it’s also an opportunity to discuss the blessings that God has given them and how they can use those blessings to generously give to others. 

Reaping what you sow

The next lesson you can use to teach your children about giving is from 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. In this story, we are told that those who give generously will receive generously, and those who give sparingly will also receive sparingly. We’re also told that God loves a cheerful giver. He doesn’t want people to give because they feel like they have to, but they should give because they feel in their heart that it’s the right thing to do. 

Through this story, you will be able to teach your children about the power of God and how everything we have comes from Him. He so generously gives to us, so we should generously give back in return. However, it’s important that we teach children to give out of a place of love. Your gifts should come from the heart — not because you feel like you have to do it. 

Feeding 5,000

In Matthew 14:14-21, Jesus and his disciples find themselves in a remote area with a crowd of people around them. His disciples told Him that He should send the crowds away to surrounding towns to find something to eat because it was getting late. Jesus told them not to send the crowds away, and they should give them food. The disciples said that they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. They brought what they had to Jesus, he thanked God for them and the disciples started handing out food. God performed a miracle and made five loaves of bread and two fish fed that huge crowd — and there were leftovers!

While this story doesn’t directly relate to financial generosity, it’s a great story for teaching children about what God can do with the things that he is given. Whether it’s a meager portion of bread and fish or your child’s money from the tooth fairy, God can take what He is given and bless others abundantly. 

The children in your life look up to you. They want to be like you when they grow up. When they see you giving to others, it’s important to be able to explain to them why you choose to give. We give because God tells us to, and we give because we feel in our hearts that it’s a good and righteous thing to do. Make sure your children understand the power of generosity and God’s love. 

Refresh your giving plan in 2023

January marks the start of a new year, and new years tend to lead to new habits and resolutions. Whether you’re considering making changes to your personal or professional life in 2023, it’s important to have a plan. At Christian Community Foundation, we want to encourage you to refresh your giving strategy this year. Here are five steps you can take to start your giving out on the right foot.

One: Review your last three years of giving and identify any trends.

Looking back at your giving over the course of a few years will help you determine where the majority of charitable giving is going. If you are giving to several organizations and causes, it will also help you determine the type of causes you support. Lastly, looking back at your giving will help you find any discrepancies – like if your charitable giving was much greater in one year than all the rest. Identifying trends will help you better determine where your money has gone and where you want it to go in the future. 

Two: Make sure your budget is up to date and consider how much you want to give to charity.

Your finances will fluctuate from month to month and year to year. Whether you’re re-evaluating your giving plan or not, looking at your budget for 2023 is a fantastic way to start a new year. When planning out your budget for the year, we encourage you to add giving as a line item. Pray with your family about how much you want to give away in the year. That number will be unique to each family and the year, but the focus should be on overall generosity and not the amount of money you decide to give away. 

Three: Meet with your trusted financial advisor and develop a plan.

When coming up with the best plan to fit your financial goals and needs, meeting with a trusted professional – like a financial advisor – is a smart step. Financial advisors have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of the financial field. They can combine what they know with your specific financial situation to develop the perfect plan for you. Financial and giving plans are specific to the individual, so using a trusted financial advisor will help you know exactly what you can and cannot do. 

Four: Research nonprofit organizations to find the right fit for you.

The next step to revamping your giving strategy would be to research nonprofits to find the right fit for you. You might be ready to give but can’t decide how to divide your gifts. That’s where the Christian Community Foundation comes in. You can invest all of your planned gifts in a donor-advised fund, then dispurse them to nonprofits when you’re ready. We can help you transform Memphis, the Mid-South and beyond in ways that further the kingdom of God through both faith and action. 

Five: Determine how much you want to grant your donor-advised fund – either all at once or over time.

Donor-advised funds give charitable givers a flexible, easy way to give back to their community. These funds basically function as your own personal foundation, but it’s a lot less expensive. You determine how much you want to give, and you also get to decide how long the fund is active. All of the money can be given at once in a large lump sum, or it can be dispersed over a certain amount of time. The choice is yours. Donor-advised funds also give you the power to create a legacy and continue your charitable giving into your retirement years. 

If you’re looking to re-evaluate your giving plan in the new year, consider giving Christian Community Foundation a call. Our financial advisors are here to help you determine the perfect plan for you. As an added bonus, we’re local, which means that we have all the knowledge of the big organizations with the specifics of the city of Memphis. We hope to see you soon!

Leaving your legacy

Are there charities and causes in your life that hold a special place in your heart? You can ensure that your support remains after you pass. 

A posthumous giving plan can be an important part in your estate planning process. Also known as a legacy plan, this tool allows you to continue your charitable giving after your death. While you might not be here anymore, your name and giving will continue on.

What is a legacy plan?

A legacy plan is a way to give back after your death. These funds allow for the creation of a donor-advised fund at a later date – when your will, trust and/or other estate planning documents officially take effect. These funds can be set to be used for a certain amount of time, or they can continue on indefinitely. 

If your legacy fund is established through your will, your estate will receive a tax deduction. You can also contribute to your legacy fund while you’re still living. Tax deductions will be included at the time of those donations, too. Legacy funds are great because you can include them with estate planning but work directly with the foundation to make changes in giving without having to go back and make changes to your will or trust. 

How can you set up a legacy fund with CCF?

Legacy funds can be set up with Christian Community Foundation in life and after death. To get started, you’ll enter into a legacy fund establishment agreement, which can be found on our website. This agreement allows donors to transfer their donor-advised funds into legacy funds after death. It also lets CCF know if there are any assets in someone’s estate planning coming their way for the purpose of setting up a legacy fund. 

When assets are transferred to CCF, they are subject to the bylaws that currently govern the organization. Donors are not allowed to make any restrictions on the Foundation’s use of the funds. Donors can make recommendations for how the funds are to be spent. They can create a mission statement, assign beneficiaries, appoint fund advisors, establish the lifespan of the fund, make annual grants and establish investment allocations. The minimum amount required to start a legacy fund with CFF is $100,000. If the fund falls below that number, it will be distributed to the established assigned beneficiaries. 

A donor-advised fund makes giving simple in life and in death. Getting started in the process is easy. Visit our website or give us a call today to start working on your giving plan.

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!