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Three Small Ways of Giving to Make a Big Impact

Three Small Ways of Giving to Make a Big Impact

I look forward to each January as a time to reflect on the past year and look for ways to grow in the new year. While New Year’s resolutions often get a bad rap, the idea of reflection and refocus is useful when looking to improve physical, financial, or spiritual health.

If you are looking to improve your spiritual or financial health by increasing your generosity in 2019, here are a few suggestions for getting started.

1) Rejoice in what God has given you.

Take time to look around you, what are you thankful for? What blessings are you surrounded by daily that are easily overlooked? Rejoicing in your present will lead you to bless others in your future.

2) Regularly give.

The best way to build a new habit is to do it regularly. This is true with exercise, prayer, eating healthy, and also with giving. Christ Community’s new tool, the Gyve app, allows you to set up recurring gifts on a schedule that fits your life. You can set up monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, or bi-monthly gifts. It is easy for giving to get lost in all the busyness of life, so setting up a recurring gift makes generosity a priority.

3) Round up.

Much like at the store when you are asked to ‘round up’ your total and donate to a charity, the Gyve app also includes an interesting feature called Round Up. This feature, when linked to a bank account, debit card, or credit card, allows you to ‘round up’ all your purchases to the next dollar, and you can designate giving your “change” to Christ Community.

I have been using this feature for several months and have found that it makes me more aware of my church as I go about my daily life. When I was grocery shopping last week, I found myself smiling at the checkout when I thought about my extra 64 cents being sent to Christ Community. It will be exciting to see how this little rounding up makes a difference over the year.

The extra funds collected through Round Up will be put toward reducing the church’s debt related to our building projects. We will provide a quarterly update on the impact of our combined round-up giving as a congregation.

For those who participated in giving last year, your 2018 giving statements will be arriving in the mail soon. I challenge you to use those as a way to reflect on the past year and refocus on finding ways, big and small, to grow in the next year.

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Charitable Giving Under 2018 Tax Reform

Charitable Giving Under 2018 Tax Reform

Are you interested in maximizing the tax benefit of giving to the church?

April 15 may be months away, but now is the time to do your planning. The U.S. tax code encourages charitable giving in several ways and it makes sense to utilize these if possible.

On December 22, 2017 the President signed legislation known as “The Tax Cuts and Job Acts.” This legislation made a number of changes to the federal tax code that had an impact on both corporate and individual taxes. This legislation was sweeping in its breadth. There were changes to tax brackets, exemptions, and itemized deductions.

Whether or not we have already seen the impact, we will all feel the effects when we file our 2018 return.

So what does that have to do with giving to my church?

For many of you, these tax changes will have no impact on your giving. However, if you have itemized your deductions in the past, you should be aware of the changes made to this portion of the law and how they might affect you. We do not want to give tax advice. Nor do we want to tell you how to structure your charitable giving. However, if the following are true, you may have an opportunity to save some money on your taxes:

  • You have given assets to a charitable organization in 2018 (including the church)
  • You have typically itemized your deductions rather than using the standard deduction on your income tax return
  • The sum of all deductions (charitable giving, state and local taxes, property taxes, mortgage interest, medical expenses, etc.) could be in the range of $10,000 to $40,000

Bunching Your Contributions

If all of those statements are true for you in 2018, you may be interested in a new strategy known as “bunching.” The term “bunching” appeared on the financial scene early this year and refers to the potential combination of multiple years’ worth of donations in a single year to maximize the tax benefits. The total of the gifts can be the same over two or three years, but the giving is “bunched” into one year. This is sometimes done through a donor-advised fund.

If this concept is intriguing, the following charts may help explain.


Double-up on tax-deductible contributions in alternating years to achieve the larger itemized deduction in those years.

This strategy is not for everyone as our personal situations vary widely. Christ Community appreciates every single gift and desires to be sensitive to everyone.

If you think a donor-advised fund might make sense for you or you are interested in learning about other strategies to maximize your charitable giving, consult a qualified financial advisor.