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The Frank Group

Preparing for Year-End Giving

Fall is the most productive time for ministries when it comes to receiving gifts. Many of your donors want to help meet the needs of the ministry and will determine how much to give based on what is left at the end of the calendar year.

As you plan for the influx of gifts, let's take a minute to think this through to see whether there are problems.

One of the tenants of good stewardship is "To be easy to give to." That sounds pretty simple, but there may be ways in which your gift acceptance procedures can hinder its reality.

What we mean by easy to give to is that the donor shouldn't have to jump through any "extraordinary hoops" to make a gift. If they have been motivated to make a gift, the mechanisms they use should be "simple", without complications or hurdles.

Certain types of gifts can present a problem here. We all know that mailing a check is probably the most common type of gift. But what about the person who wants to transfer stock, make a distribution from their IRA, give you the extra car in their driveway, or use a debit card? Those gifts take a little extra effort.

So, when you think about your gift acceptance processes, does anything stand out as being difficult?

For gifts of stock and other securities, do you have a standing policy that authorizes your business office to open an account at any brokerage, with orders to immediately sell the security and close the account?

For donors who make distributions from their IRA, they may need information about how their investment firm can transfer a distribution to you. Donors who are age 70 or older can make this distribution without realizing any income eliminating any tax impact. Do you have materials ready to help these donors?

What about car donations? The rules have changed, but organizations like Cars-For-Causes, and similar organizations have adjusted. Rather than you receiving the car, how about recommending them and providing the donor with a local contact phone number?

Finally, some organizations don't yet accept credit cards as a form of donation. Even if it costs you a few percentage points to process a gift, you need to remember that more and more of your donors are transitioning to electronic payment methods. Debit Cards used as cash and reward points for using certain cards are driving a lot of this. Have you kept up with the technology trends of your donors?

We hope that this fall is significant in the ministry. Let's remember to thank your donors for investing in what God is doing through your ministry. They are a gift from God.