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.

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 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.

Have you checked your donor-advised fund recently?

Donor-advised funds make giving easy, effective and efficient. It’s like having your own private foundation! However, we know how easy it can be to forget about your fund, especially if you aren’t a regular giver. If you haven’t established a stewardship philosophy for yourself or your family, we encourage you to learn how to do that by clicking here. A stewardship philosophy will encourage you to give more frequently and allow you to meet your giving goals. In combination with establishing a stewardship philosophy, regularly checking your donor-advised fund will help you remain mindful of your God-given responsibility to give that which you’ve been entrusted. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of monitoring your fund.

Gift giving inspiration

Regularly checking your donor-advised fund can serve as gift giving inspiration! When you log in to Donor Central, you’ll first see your available funds and your most recent gifts. From there, you can click “Recommend a grant” to search through a list of organizations who have previously received gifts from CCF’s donors. Scrolling through this list can spark inspiration for your next gift! Can’t find the establishment you’re looking for? Select “Add new charity” to add the organization you’d like to make a gift to.

Tax free growth

Another benefit to regularly checking your fund is to watch your fund’s growth. The funds invested into your account grow tax free, which helps you give even more! While this tax benefit is a bonus, we focus on the bigger picture of giving those funds away at CCF. We love helping you help others!

Organizational involvement

Last but certainly not least, a major benefit to regularly checking your donor-advised fund is staying up to date with CCF! We consider you a part of our family and enjoy getting to know you and yours. We pride ourselves in maintaining close relationships with our donors. We’re only an email or phone call away if you ever have any questions regarding your fund or need assistance with your account.

Are you looking to establish a donor-advised fund or stewardship philosophy? Do you have questions about Donor Central or the gift giving process? If so, please contact CCF’s director of donor relations Stephanie Jones at stephanie@ccfmemphis.org or at 901-682-1790.

How to model giving for your family

Traditions and practices are often passed down from generation to generation. Your dad may have taught you to throw a curveball, your mom demonstrated how to ride a bike and your grandfather showed you his mother’s famous brownie recipe. These practical lessons likely came in the form of demonstrations and more formal training sessions. After all, you have to strap on your knee pads and helmet before you hit the open road on your first two-wheeler.

Your family likely shared more subtle practices with you by modeling behavior. You learned how to hold conversation at a party by watching your aunt, and you noted how your grandmother took attentive notes during the pastor’s sermon. They didn’t tell you how to do these things, but you picked up on the importance and nuance of these behaviors by watching them in action.

Modeling giving and generosity sits somewhere in between. Some families make it a point to teach specific lessons about giving and its role in their household. Others take a more subtle approach, ensuring their children see what they’re doing in the hopes they’ll do the same thing when they’re older. But modeling giving, no matter the method, is important to create the next generation of burgeoning philanthropists. Here are a few recommendations to help you model giving for your children and grandchildren:

Make giving accessible to them
Your preschooler likely doesn’t have a bank account – and if they do, their counting skills may limit their ability to interact with it. While they don’t quite understand finances yet, they do understand sharing. At a young age, talk with your children about giving away household items like toys and clothes. Explain in an age-appropriate way that not all children have the same types of things that they have, and that it’s important to donate these items as they will help the community. With gentle guidance, encourage them to make the ultimate decision about what to donate and what to keep. Take them with you when you bring the items to your donation site, talking with them about what the organization does and how helpful the items you donate will be to children who need them.

Help them give of their time
Organizations in your community are always looking for volunteers. Find opportunities that allow children and families to volunteer together and sign up for an upcoming shift. Talk with your children in advance about the work you’ll be doing and how it will help people. Drive home that giving of your time is a great way to give back that doesn’t require you to give money or resources.

Talk about donating money
When’s the last time you talked with your children about the nonprofits you support? If you’re not already, you should be! You don’t have to talk dollars and cents, but sharing why you give to specific organizations can plant seeds in your child’s heart that will blossom as they grow older. When you receive an email communication or printed mailer with organizational updates, share it with your family around the dinner table. Talk about the work that is being done in your community and why your family chooses to invest in specific organizations. When your children get older, allow them to share their thoughts on causes and organizations they care about, making where you give a family decision.

Recovering generosity when giving feels stale

Patterns, habits and rituals can be soothing and centering. In our faith practices, many of these rituals help us focus and quiet our busy minds. From daily time allotted for prayer to communion liturgies, repetitive actions can be great reminders of what’s most important. Through these habits, we develop discipline and reverence for the practice.

But sometimes repetition can make things feel stale or even uninspiring. We’ve all asked our spouse, “Can we please try somewhere new?” when trying to decide where to eat on a Friday night. If we’re not careful, doing things repetitively can cause us to lose sight of their inherent purpose or value. In this example, going out on a Friday night isn’t really about the food – it’s about spending time with your loved ones. But in our quest for something new and exciting, we’ve lost our focus. 

It’s easy for giving to become passive and stale, especially when all of our financial decisions are carefully planned in advance. With recurring online giving, you may not even realize that your tithe goes out each month, or that you’ve been faithfully donating to a nonprofit you love for the last five years. Simply, it is incredibly easy to lose the joy of giving. 

How can you recapture that joy if your giving has become blasé? At the Christian Community Foundation, we believe that you can simultaneously be a strategic AND joyful giver. Here are recommendations we hope will help you recover the joy of generosity. 

Regularly review your giving portfolio

When was the last time you reviewed your charitable gifts? It’s so easy to give month after month without really understanding where your gifts are going. When you log into your donor-advised fund account through Donor Central, you can see where your grant requests are going and how frequently they are disbursed. Taking a more active role – maybe even pausing recurring gifts and instead setting a family meeting to choose your gifts each month – can make your giving experience much more active.  

Extend your idea of generosity beyond financial gifts

In addition to regular donations from your donor-advised fund, are you praying for the organizations you support regularly? Add them to your family’s prayer list and talk about the work that they do actively. Seek opportunities to volunteer, send letters of encouragement to their staffs or simply find ways to engage with these organizations on social media. Open and read their annual report when it arrives in your mailbox each February, and see the impact that your donation had on the community. By giving of your time, prayer and efforts, you can add context to your giving that may have been missing previously. 

Engage your loved ones

Want to support nonprofits and set an example for your loved ones? Involve friends and family in your giving! Set aside money each month that you want to disburse from your donor-advised fund, but don’t designate it for any specific organization. Instead, each month connect with a family member or loved one and ask them what nonprofit organization is near to their heart. Then, make a donation from your fund in their honor. This warms the hearts of the people you care about while also expanding your giving horizons. You may learn about new organizations you’ve never heard of before!

How to build your stewardship philosophy

If you’ve read our previous blog posts, you know that the Christian Community Foundation is built upon Biblical Stewardship. Simply put, we believe that all of our resources on Earth belong to God, and that He has entrusted them to us with a responsibility to use them in ways that furthers His Kingdom.

If you grasp that concept, that’s step one! But how exactly do you know what efforts here are furthering God’s Kingdom? And once you make that determination, how do you decide where to invest your resources? There are seemingly innumerable churches, ministries and nonprofits operating around the globe. Choosing where you should give can seem overwhelming. 

When we have too many options, we struggle to make a decision. In our quest to give with a gracious heart, agonizing over where to give can transform our giving from joyfilled to stressful. That’s where a personal stewardship philosophy comes in. 

To CCF, a personal or family stewardship philosophy helps guide your giving efforts. It’s the framework that you use to determine the organizations and missions you support. It could refine your giving to focus on organizations that support children’s causes, or organizations practicing global missions. Every family or person’s stewardship philosophy can be unique and varied! Don’t think of your stewardship philosophy as limiting parameters, but rather a pair of contact lenses that helps you focus and make decisive giving decisions. 

How do you develop your stewardship philosophy? This can be a fun and enlightening process for every giver! We have a few recommendations to help you get started. 

Start in prayer and worship

Creating a stewardship philosophy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, careful consideration, reflection and prayer. Whether you’re creating a personal philosophy or a guiding path for your family, spend time in prayer and worship as you consider ways you can make an impact for God through giving. 

Explore your passions

We believe that God gives each of us unique gifts and interests. Whether your family loves sports, wants to feed the hungry, believes in the healing power of art or desires to care for the world’s orphans, you can use those passions to find organizations that share your heart. Incorporating our natural interests into our stewardship philosophy can be incredibly impactful and inspire more giving! 

Connect with trusted givers

We encourage every member of our family of givers to actively research and engage with organizations they support. But knowing where to start can be a challenge. Seek out the guidance of trusted people in your faith community. Talk with them about their giving – they can oftentimes offer a list of organizations or ministries they’re passionate about! Even if your philosophy leads you in a different direction, you’re learning more about the opportunities that exist. 

Consider volunteering

If you’re having trouble defining your giving philosophy, consider volunteering. Oftentimes, when we can see and use our hands to support organizations, we better understand the work that they do. This may help provide clarity and understanding that could refine your stewardship philosophy! And, you don’t have to stop volunteering once you decide to give – we strongly encourage our family of givers to give not only financially, but also of their time and talents!