The Third Pocket: Planned Giving

Posted by Clif Christopher May 3, 2017 1:00:31 PM

Hundred Dollar Bills in Man's Back Pocket

This is the month to take a hard look at how your church is marketing for planned gifts. Yes, marketing! All churches are happy to receive an estate gift and a lot of them hope they will receive more, but only about 2 percent seriously and systematically market for such gifts.

So, while the church is hoping it will be remembered, the college, hospital, youth home, food bank and a million others are regularly sharing how to do just that. Every church, regardless of size, should be regularly talking about how such gifts can and do advance the Lord’s work.

To take action:

1) Set up an intentional endowment marketing team and charge members with creating a year-round plan to encourage planned gifts.
2) Contact your denominational foundation about putting an endowment and gift acceptance policy in place. This can be done in less than a week.
3) At a minimum, set up a seminar once a quarter during which a foundation staff member, estate attorney or development officer can offer information about how such gifts can benefit both the donor and recipient.
4) Prepare informative articles for a regular monthly newsletter column.
5) Establish a society made up of all people who have indicated that the church is in their will. Keep a running list of those individuals on a board at the church.

There are a number of other ideas that can be found on our website or offered by your denominational foundation. Avail yourself of those resources. Bottom line: do something! Don’t just hope.

About the Author/Clif Christopher

Since founding Horizons Stewardship Company in 1992, Clif and his strategists have led consultations in more than 2,000 churches, conferences, synods and diocese in all phases of building, finance and church growth, helping them to secure more than three billion dollars. He is an author, frequent speaker at stewardship seminars and a certified church growth consultant who earned the coveted title CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive). Clif was given the National Circuit Rider Award by the United Methodist Church in 1995 for outstanding leadership in developing vital congregations. He has been an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church since 1975, served in pastoral ministry for 20 years, and is married and living in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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