Planned gifts are major gifts made to a church or charity after careful consideration and prayer. They are a form of stewardship in addition to gifts to an annual operating budget. They may be made now or planned for the future. Many people think of them as gifts made over a period of time, as to a capital funds drive, or through estate planning and a will. Some persons are making these large gifts now so the church may have use of the funds immediately.
All major gifts should involve prayer and planning because they relate to one’s values, legacy, and to other family members. Large gifts should be made after understanding clearly one’s own financial circumstances and his or her lifetime goals.
Planned gifts to the church generally benefit capital funds or an endowment, not operating budgets. They can be designated to certain specific purposes with the concurrence of the receiving organization. They can be made in cash, stock, personal property, life insurance, or through a variety of methods. All donors should be assured by their legal and financial advisors that the gift is in the best interest of all parties.
There are even ways to 1) give now, 2) receive income for the rest of one’s life, and 3) benefit the church at one’s death. They can be made in relatively small amounts and are called Charitable Gift Annuities. Larger gifts with income benefits generally become charitable trusts. We are supported in these efforts by the Episcopal Church Foundation, 800-697-2858. Note: in these times of low interest rates, seniors may want to consider Charitable Gift Annuities to increase their living income.
The diocese recognizes all such gifts (but does not disclose the details) to any endowment throughout the diocese with an honorary membership in the Legacy Society of The Diocese of Tennessee. Thus far there are some 124 members representing 24 congregations.