Department of Endowments
An Overview of Gift Opportunities
While cash contributions have the advantage of immediate satisfaction of one’s generosity, they are not always feasible for the individual who might like to make a major contribution with the use of assets that are more appropriate to supporting substantial opportunity and needs through the NSAC. A few of these vehicles of contribution that should be considered are for example:
- Will: A bequest through an individual’s will is an effective way for an individual to give to the Spiritualist cause. This is not only a charitable contribution, but supports the personal desire to continue the vision of the Spiritualist’s faith long after we have left these earthly bonds. Very often individuals unable to give during their lifetime are able to help via a legacy left in the form of a bequest. Supporters choosing this option may leave a designated amount of money or may leave the bequest in a form of the percentage of an estate.
- Appreciated stocks/securities: a popular type of property contributions that often includes individual stock, bonds, and shares of mutual funds. Contributions of appreciated securities can be an efficient way of giving a gift and may have tax benefits. For example, those donating via a gift of appreciated stocks may receive a charitable deduction while avoiding capital gains tax; if they sold the stock themselves and then donated the cash, they would have to pay capital gains tax.
- Life Insurance: This is a wonderful way to contribute especially when the ownership of the policy is given to the organization; there is an immediate deduction of the current value of the policy or the net cost of the policy, and whichever is less, for the donor’s charitable contribution. In addition, upon transfer of ownership, future premium payments are also deductible. This is also a great way for supporters to give a large gift they would not normally be able to give while making small payments during their lifetime.
Additional ways to make a contribution involving life insurance, for example, is adding the NSAC as a primary or secondary beneficiary of a current policy, or allowing your church to own a policy on your life while you make the annual premium payments which also qualify as charitable tax deductions.
- Real Estate: When appreciated real estate is given, capital gains taxes can be avoided and the full fair market value of the property is deducted as a charitable contributions. There are some contingencies to this regarding length of time held and business interests involving the property. Donors and the organization should consult a solicitor or an attorney. Churches need to decide upon review of such an offer if the real estate comes with any potential problems that may make acceptance problematic. For example, a time share that might be hard to sell or a piece of property that indicates it may have environmental contamination.
- Gift of remainders interest in your home or farm otherwise known as a Life Estate: This is where the individual is making a charitable deduction for a gift of remainder interest in their home or farm. These income plans are becoming increasingly popular because of the significant potential benefit to all parties involved. Donors retain the right to occupy the house or farm for life and can give family members this right as well. Upon passing the interest in the property comes to the beneficiary and can be sold for market value. Again, you should consult with a solicitor or attorney to assist all parties.
- A bill signed into law by President Bush had provisions designed to encourage charitable donations by individuals ages 70 plus with the ceiling of $100,000 each year, from their individual retirement accounts, tax free. Certainly, this is another significant vehicle of contribution that one can consider and should seek advisement of a competent authority in these matters.
- Savings Bonds: This is not an outright charitable deduction for the face value of the bond as a vehicle of contribution because of the transferability of bonds. On the other hand, the full face value is deductible for estate tax purposes when a person bequeaths the bond to NSAC through a Will.
- CD’s and Savings Accounts: A convenient way to benefit a church through various savings plans, for example are CD’s, savings accounts, some Treasury Bills and Bonds, commercial paper, etc. Donors can make their church or the NSAC joint owners with rights of survivorship on these accounts. The donor remains in control of the account and can withdraw the money or revoke the arrangement at any time and the church has no Claim on the account until after the donor’s passing, if the ownership is still intact at the time of passing.
- Tithing: Certainly, not to be overlooked is the time-honored and tested spiritual practice of tithing. In tithing, individuals choose to contribute a percentage of their income to fund charitable activities, which can certainly include their church or NSAC. Tithes are voluntary.
- Pledges: Individuals let an organization know ahead of time how much they will contribute for the year coming up or over a period of several years. Pledging helps the organization in its financial planning.