Click here for a free Tax Tips for Charitable Contributions brochure
from Church Law and Tax via Christianity Today.
What is stewardship? It’s about fundraising, right?
Well, not exactly. Stewardship is using the gifts God has given us—our time and talent as well as treasure—to fulfill our mission in the world.
Our church’s mission is to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ through worship that glorifies God, growth in personal discipleship, service to the community and the world, and Christian fellowship. All require our time and talents to make them happen.
But stewardship also includes treasure, the money that makes the world go ’round. We maintain a house of worship that also serves as a center for community programs and fellowship events. Our pastor, Christian education director, and musical directors lead us in worship and spiritual growth. We help to feed the hungry and give aid to the needy.
That’s where the fundraising comes in, because for a Christian community to meet its mission, it first must meet its budget. Our annual budget follows the calendar year and is approved at our annual meeting in January. Our annual pledge drive in the fall provides the backbone of our budget so we can put our faith in action.
Some secrets of successful giving
Traditional payment of pledges in the weekly offering plate are a valuable, steady source of support for our church. However, thanks to changes in income tax laws and developments in technology, there are some options that benefit the church without costing you more, and even some that also save you money.
Here are some tips our Board of Stewardship put together to help our members and friends with their charitable giving to the church and other causes:
This list of options should be evaluated with the advice of qualified financial planning and tax advisors. Changes to the tax law are under discussion. You’ll want the latest information.
Set up regular contributions through online giving. Our online giving page at https://middleburycc.breezechms.com/give/online uses the Stripe service. You can set up one-time or recurring donations from your credit or debit card or from a bank account. You can even tell Stripe that you want to cover the processing fees! That way the church will get the full value of your gift.
Pay your pledge through your bank’s electronic bill-paying service. Most will issue checks or electronic payments on your behalf and on your schedule.
Use our pre-addressed envelopes. Don’t rush to gather up your pledge envelope and checkbook on Sunday morning or worry about missing a week when you are out of town or worshipping online. Contact our church office for pre-addressed envelopes. Write your check at your leisure and mail it with your other regular payments. If you print your checks on your computer, it’s convenient to print them in batches. Use the time you save to do a kindness for a neighbor.
Use matching gifts. Does your employer offer matching gifts, grant money, or volunteer programs appropriate for the missions of the church? Many national and local firms support charitable organizations with financial support and/or organized volunteer groups. Use some of the search tools identified by the Board of Stewardship or ask your Human Resources office.
Pre-pay your 2022 pledge before the end of 2021. Compare your anticipated tax situation between the years. The value of the charitable deduction may be greater for you in the current year’s taxes.
Start your new pledge immediately. You’ve decided the amount that’s right. You don’t have to wait until the new year, and your increase will help this year’s budget.
Unused coins? If you’d rather not wear out you pockets with coins, collect them in a recycled jar. The Sunday School, VBS, and Confirmation Class students in your family can contribute, too! Bring the jar to church when full.
Create a donor-advised fund for your charitable giving. Money deposited in a dedicated Donor-Advised Fund (managed by a bank or investment company) is tax-deductible in the year it is deposited, even if it is delivered to a charity later. It can help you organize and manage your charitable gifts. Some Donor-Advised Funds restrict gifts to religious organizations. Compare different providers to determine whether you’ll be able to donate to the charities that are important to you.
Donate appreciated property and avoid capital gains taxes. If you bought or inherited property (such as stocks) at a lower price than its current value, the difference when sold would incur capital gains tax. However, when donated to a public charity (such as the church), there is no capital gains tax to pay. The church receives the full current value, and that full value can be deducted as a charitable donation from your income taxes (up the amount allowable by the IRS.
Donate money from your IRA. If you are 70½ or older and have a traditional IRA, you may make a “Qualified Charitable Deduction” (“QCD”) donating up to $100,000 to a charitable organization. The gift can satisfy all or in part the annual Required Minimum Distribution (or RMD) without affecting your taxable income, tax rates or Medicare rates. Furthermore, you will not need to account for a carry-forward of the deduction on your taxes as would normally happen with large gifts. Consult your own IRA custodian or financial planner to assist you.
Does your employer offer matching gifts, grant money, or volunteer programs appropriate for the missions of the church? Many national and local firms support charitable organizations with financial support.
Stewardship of time and talent
Model Christian stewardship for the next generation. Kids learn from your example. Let them see your stewardship, encourage them to be good stewards as well and include the church and favorite charities in their personal budgets. Generosity starts at home.
Be the best steward of our most important resource: People. Get to know our members, present and future. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and welcome them warmly to God’s house. Invite your friends and neighbors to worship with us and introduce them to others at church. Keep in touch with members who spend time out of state. Celebrate their joys and achievements; console them in difficult times.
Become an MCC volunteer or leader. A large part of the work of our church is handled by members like you. Hosting social hours? Teaching Sunday School? Mentoring Confirmands? Singing or playing an instrument in worship? Making signs or posting notices for church events? Helping with building improvements? Greeting and ushering at worship?
Donate items to drives for the needy. Holiday celebrations, faith lessons, and mission projects often depend on donated foods and clothing, art supplies, and displays. We help provide Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. Our annual Angel Tree collects gifts for children in Waterbury at Christmas time. We have done mitten trees and sock drives for the homeless. Watch for announcements in our Church Life newsletter. We also collect for food banks in Waterbury and Middlebury. When popular items (soup, cereal, granola bars, socks, mittens) are on sale, stock up at a good price.
Save boxtops, coupons and special offers. Shop fundraisers to support missions projects, Preschool on the Green, Scouts, local teachers, and nonprofits in our community and/or organized volunteer groups. Use some of the search tools identified by the Board of Stewardship or ask your Human Resources office to learn what your company offers.
Share our good news and announcements. Help us share the good news about what’s happening at MCC. Keep a photo file.
Represent MCC for town events and organizations. Parades, fairs, Scouts, etc.
Unused frequent-flyer miles or hotel points? These can be donated to help the pastor attend conferences or mission volunteers travel to an area of need.