Hmmm...when's the right time for a stewardship drive?
It seems like it’s been a hundred years since we last talked about stewardship or money or fundraising here, doesn’t it? Time seems to move so slowly these days.
Just last night in the New York Times wedding section I read a story about a couple who got married after a quick courtship. When people asked if they were moving “too quickly,” the groom said, “We think there’s normal time and there’s Covid time…every month feels like a year.” That explains it! This must be why Clare (spoiler alert) “blew up ‘The Bachelorette’” when she and Dale fell in love on the first night and were engaged two weeks later. Covid Time!
But, as usual, I digress.
Way back in Covid Time – three weeks ago – I wrote about Two (or More) Annual Pledge Campaigns? Many of you were intrigued by the idea and let me know that it was an “aha” moment for you.
And, there were a couple of you who made it clear that there were even better reasons to hold a second (or first) pledge drive at the beginning of the year.
1. Tax Advantages: Julia Frisbie, Associate Director for the Northwest United Methodist Foundation wrote,
Another great reason for a January or February campaign is that members who are 70.5 years or older will find out what their Required Minimum Distributions for the calendar year are in January, and plan their budgets accordingly. Giving from traditional IRAs is SUPER tax-advantaged. I know one savvy major donor who refuses to turn his pledge card in until he gets this info each year.
Don’t know what a Required Minimum Distribution is? Join the crowd. Here’s a quick video and article that should help you understand it a bit better. Why give your minimum distribution to your congregation or favorite non-profit? You won’t get taxed. Here’s an article to help explain it.
2. Spiritual Advantages: On the other side of the country, Rev. Dr. David Abbott, Director of Stewardship of the United Methodist Foundation of New England wrote,
Why not just move the annual campaign to the season of Epiphany in order to help folks see stewardship more as a response to God rather than a call to make the budget? People ask what they would do in the fall and I tell them, “Your financial secretary can give you a very accurate accounting of what is coming in and if the budget is going up. Note that there is an increase – if people want to increase their giving – but we’ll be exploring stewardship as a means of grace as well as a spiritual discipline during Epiphany when the magi came to bring gifts to the one who would be King and so much more.”
And…I’m excited to let you know that Julia Frisbie and I are going to be doing a webinar on this very topic: “Should You Do a "Second Annual" Pledge Drive?” – December 10 at 10am (PST) for PRC - Practical Resources for Churches. You can sign up for it here.
So Covid Time or no Covid Time, it is time to think out of the box about your annual pledge drive. Tax advantages and, perhaps even more importantly, spiritual advantages make this the time to start planning for a second (or first) opportunity to bring joy to your people through the gift of giving.