Encouraging congregational legacy giving does not need to be complex or complicated. People want to be remembered and leave a legacy of goodwill, service, and sustainability to the people and places they have cherished during their lifetime. Parishioners should talk to their financial advisor, legal representative, or wealth manager regarding establishing legacy gifts to their church.
Planned giving lays the foundation for long-term sustainability and permits donors to give MORE than they typically are able during their lifetime. A parishioner who has repeatedly given to the mission of the church, will likely be open to a legacy giving discussion if we have continually stewarded and cared for them over time. Clergy and lay leaders who continue to grow warm and caring relationships, will find it easier to have these conversations. Often, the warm and caring relationships will make the conversation un-necessary and the parishioner will include their church as part of their legacy giving plan IF the church makes information about legacy giving available.
Provide resources to parishioners and regularly include information about legacy giving publicly. Brochures, webinars, informational meetings should be part of your annual stewardship plan.
Podcast: The Rev. Lisa Bennett, CFRE “Legacy Giving”- Lily Family School of Philanthropy
We are currently in a time of great uncertainty (how often have we heard this over the past few months?) and bringing up money and financial need feels difficult because many of parishioners may be experiencing financial strain, as well. This line of thinking, while normal, can propagate living from a fearful place and not the life-giving mission of the church. Faithfulness during these times is necessary to be able to breathe stability and community into the congregation.
Whether we are in the time of COVID, or regular time, creating a well-rounded stewardship plan is crucial to being able to live the mission of your church and its ministries. Typically developed in the Fall, stewardship drives are the backbone of church financial stability. In COVID times, we must be deliberate and start as early as possible to begin discussions with our lay leaders and congregation about the needs of the church and develop a plan that will help the church live out its mission.
Think about how exciting and hopeful it feels to receive pledges for the work of God’s church. Often, clergy and lay leaders feel uncomfortable discussing giving and asking for pledges so when pledges and offering arrives, there is a sense of relief. As the leaders of the church, it’s necessary to have the crucial conversations that will encourage generosity, even during these difficult times.