Give More Strategically: Thinking Through Your Giving

In yesterday’s post, we looked at points one and two of a simple, yet profound, call to…

  • Give more
  • Give more often
  • Give more strategically

It is the third point to which we turn our attention today (and tomorrow). It is also the one that elicits the most frequent questions. People get the idea of giving more and giving more often (even if we don’t like its implications for our lives). But the idea of giving more strategically is a new thought for many of us. What do I mean when I say that we should give more strategically?

In short, giving more strategically is to be intentional about your giving. This includes how much you give, how you give and what ministries/organizations to which you give. Let me provide a few examples of how giving more strategically might work out in real life. From these examples, I would encourage you to reflect on your own giving and you can be more strategic in your giving.

How much you give

Graduated Tithe: Ron Sider put forward the idea of a graduated tithe nearly 30 years ago now. To be honest, I hadn’t not even heard of the graduated tithe until recently. Here is the concept: You start by deciding how much you need to live on. You set that amount as your living expenses and tithe (10%) on that amount. Then for every $1000 over that, increase your giving on that amount by 5%. So, say you need $43,000 to live on. Of that $43,000, you give 10%, or $4300. Say you actually make $45,000 per year. For each $1000 increment, you would increase your giving 5%. In our example, you would give 15% of the $43-$44k increment and 20% on the $44-$45 increment. Click here for more on the graduated tithe.

How you give

Auto-Debit/E-Giving: Putting money in the offering plate provides an opportunity to intentional say to God that you are trusting in him. But what happens when you go on vacation? Chances are, you don’t make that gift. Maybe you are disciplined enough to remember and give it next time, but most people will just skip that gift completely. Consider using your online bill-pay or your church’s online giving option to set up automatically recurring gifts. I, for example, schedule my gift to the church to be given twice a month automatically in conjunction with payday.

Life Insurance: Have you considered noncash gifts, such as stocks, bonds and wills (you do have a will, right?)? Think those are just for “rich people”? Here is one easy idea that any of us could do. Say you currently give $10,000 to your church. Consider this scenario. Continue to give $9000 per year to the church but redirect that final $1000 to a term life insurance policy with the church as the named beneficiary. $1000 is approximately the price for a $200,000 policy for a 45-65 year old male. If this man were to pass away with the policy in place, his church would receive a $200,000 windfall. Now, this life insurance setup primarily works for people in that 45-65 window (too cost prohibitive for older individuals and too low a possibility of payoff for those younger). But the point is, have you considered if there is a mechanism of giving that will maximize your dollars for the good of the organization?

Tomorrow, we will return with a look at how to be more strategic in where you give your money. For today, reflect on how much and how you give your money.

Interact: How can you be more strategic in how you give?

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