While giving from income is often the primary response to contributing to stewardship programs, many donors convert non-cash items into cash donations or, in some cases, contribute those non-cash items directly and let the church manage them accordingly.   The following true examples from Impact’s work with churches over the years will surprise and excite you, as testament to what creative giving looks like in real life.

Remember:  when considering these or other creative giving ideas, contact your tax accountant/advisor who can counsel you about tax credit strategies and about the most advantageous way to make a gift to (Church Name).  IRS rules are subject to change and a tax professional will be the most up-to-date on such changes.

Antiques.  (Tampa, FL)  A retired member thought he had nothing to give, then gave the church an 1836 Colt Revolver.  The church sold it for $400,000.

Automobiles.  (Mobile, AL)  A single adult who just lost his business thought he had nothing to give.  He owned a 1966 Shelby GT that just sat in his garage.  Church sold it for $200,000.  Ideally, individuals may consider selling a vehicle and gifting the proceeds to the church; if a tax write-off were desired, the vehicle would be donated outright.

Life Insurance.  Some individuals have accumulated cash value in insurance policies that may be given to the church.

Real Estate.  (Roanoke, VA)  An unencumbered piece of real estate that is readily sale-able can be a valuable gift.  An elderly married couple who thought they had nothing to give owned a four-plex apartment home purchased 50 years earlier for $50,000.   The church sold it for $300,000.  (Side note:  the couple avoided $50,000 in capital gains tax, recaptured the appreciation and received $300,000 contribution credit.)

Sports Memorabilia.  (Palm Harbor, FL)  A single adult who moved from Wisconsin thought he had nothing to give.  He gave his church a football signed by Vince Lombardi after the Packers won the first Super Bowl.  The church sold it for $25,000.

Stocks & Bonds.  Giving appreciated stocks or bonds in accounts subject to IRS income taxes can be advantageous to the donor and to the church. The donor may avoid paying capital gains taxes while receiving a charitable deduction, and the church will receive a beneficial and liquid asset. To claim these tax benefits, the stocks/bonds/mutual funds must be transferred to the church rather than selling and donating the proceeds.

Tax Returns.  Individuals may take a distribution from their IRA, count it as taxable income on their tax return, give it to the church and then take a charitable contribution tax deduction if they itemize their deductions.  If you are under 59 years and 6 months, there is a 10% penalty on the amount drawn.

Disclaimer:  When considering these or other creative giving ideas, please contact your tax accountant/advisor to advise you regarding tax credit strategies and to employ the most advantageous way to make a gift to your church.  Impact Stewardship consists of stewardship teachers, pastors, and counselors; we are not tax professionals.  Additionally, IRS rules are subject to change, and a tax professional will be the most up-to-date on such changes in the tax code.

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