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!

When to choose a faith-based community foundation

If you’re a donor-advised fund holder, how did you choose the community foundation in which you invested? For most fund holders, a recommendation from a friend or a trusted financial advisor is all it takes to make a decision. After all, the organization is a conduit for your giving. Why should it matter which community foundation you choose?

If your ultimate goal is to find an organization that will help you manage your giving, then it doesn’t much matter. One community foundation’s fees may be nominally larger, whereas others might offer a more robust online giving platform. These differences are negligible to the average fund holder. But if you have expanded giving aspirations – like supporting organizations that align with your faith – then choosing a faith-based foundation may be the right choice for you.

When selecting your community foundation partner, we recommend asking the following questions to determine if a faith-based foundation is a good fit for you.

 

How do you approach your giving?

Giving is incredibly personal, and the motivations behind giving are unique to each individual. Community foundations can be great encouragers, spurring their donors to consider how they might improve the lives of their neighbors through philanthropic investments. If your faith drives how you approach giving, then a faith-based foundation might be a great fit for you. Your contacts at the organization will help you talk through your giving goals in a way that aligns with your faith and your vision, making the process clearer for you and your family. They can also provide faith-based encouragement, potentially helping you reimagine how and why you give.

Who are you giving to?

Community foundations can set parameters on which organizations you can and cannot donate to from your donor-advised fund. Most foundations keep these limitations to a minimum. But you want to make sure that the foundation you choose will help align your generosity with your Christian beliefs. If your preference is to donate to ministries or faith-based nonprofit organizations, choosing to invest in a faith-based foundation is a great option.

How do you want your foundation to operate?

Foundations fund their operations by collecting a percentage of gains on donor-advised fund accounts. Sometimes, these financially savvy organizations operate in such a way that they have surplus funds available throughout the year. These funds allow community foundations to invest in organizations as they choose. When you partner with a faith-based community foundation, there is an increased likelihood that any surplus funds will go to organizations that align with your religious convictions. At the Christian Community Foundation, our surplus funds go into the Hope For Memphis Grant Fund, which supports Christian nonprofits helping underserved areas of Memphis. Our donors know that any surplus funds we have after covering our operating expenses go to these organizations who also spread the Gospel.

Giving community prepares for wealth transfer

According to Federal Reserve data, Americans age 70 and older have acquired more than $35 trillion in their lifetimes, making up 27% of U.S. wealth. In fact, Cerulli Associates projects baby boomers will pass down more than $70 trillion by 2042. While the majority of these funds will go to heirs and family members, a large portion of funds will be set aside for charities and other philanthropic efforts. This is where the Christian Community Foundation comes in!

Recently, president Rex Jones spoke with Christin Yates of the Daily Memphian about what this means for
giving foundations like CCF.

As of 2021, anyone can give up to $11.7 million in inheritance and still avoid federal gift or estate taxes. Additionally, gifts up to $15,000 can be given within a calendar year without tax implications. This transfer of funds is causing nonprofits to see an uptick in donations and the establishment of donor-advised funds to better manage money.

“A benefit of a donor-advised fund is that you can create a plan for giving,” said Rex. “It’s our job at CCF to ensure your giving philosophy and wishes are carried out in the way you decided.”

Another benefit baby boomers are taking advantage of is a donor-advised funds’ ability to grow funds tax free. Money accrues and your loved ones get the best part of the job – giving it away!

To learn more about the largest wealth transfer in modern U.S. history, check out this Daily Memphian article.

How to talk with a financial advisor about donor-advised funds

Are you interested in opening a donor-advised fund, but don’t know where to begin? One of the best ways to understand all of the details that come with having a donor-advised fund is to talk to a professional advisor.

Talking with a professional advisor

Meeting with your trusted professional advisor, such as your CPA, attorney or estate-planning advisor, can help answer questions about how a donor-advised fund will fit in or impact your overall finances. These professionals will keep personal financial strategies in mind while also considering your current and future financial well-being.

Narrowing down fund options

Your professional advisor can provide numerous fund options that best suit your giving preferences. We cover a few of the different types of funds we offer on our blog.

Before meeting with your advisor, we recommend sitting down with your family and establishing your giving goals so that you make the best decision possible. At CCF, we refer to these goals as a stewardship philosophy. Check out our blog post to learn more about how to establish yours.

Asking questions

When preparing to meet with your advisor, one of the most beneficial things you can do is ask questions. If you show up with a list of prepared questions, the meeting will be much more helpful for you and the advisor. It can be intimidating to know where to begin, so we’ve listed some examples:

  • Is there a difference between establishing a donor-advised fund versus establishing a family foundation?
  • What’s the difference between giving through a donor-advised fund and writing checks directly to nonprofits?
  • How does a donor-advised fund fit within my family’s overall financial and estate plan?
  • When is the best time for me to start a donor-advised fund?
  • What type of assets can I contribute to the donor-advised fund?
  • How much should I contribute to my fund? How much should I give away each year?

Do you have additional questions about donor-advised funds? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at 901-682-6201.