Unique Giving Ideas

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2007 at 3:24 pm

The local church my wife and I are involved with is beginning a campaign to construct a new building on land we own a few miles from our current location. Our reasoning for construction is simple; we are a growing church and we have out-grown our current building. The fact that we have groups meeting in 3 geographically separate locations on Sunday morning attests to this.

So, the elders are asking for support from our finances, skills, and prayers and I would like to focus on the financial aspect. This post will not discuss why we should be giving since our pastor has already preached on these reasons. This post assumes your desire is to cheerfully give and you want to hear of some different ways to carry that out.

It has to come from somewhere

People use their money. All of it. At the end of every month, some amount has gone to giving, housing, clothing, food, bills, savings, etc. None of it just goes unused. For a building campaign to work, money has to come from somewhere, it either has to be earned or has to be moved around from its current usage in our budgets. In either case though, something has to be given up. Sacrifice must be made.

Last week, a group of us met during our usual Bible study time and talked about some ways that we can be smarter with our giving. There is nothing like getting a bunch of Christian men in one room and bringing up the subject of finances, I would compare it to strapping an engine to a super-bounce ball and letting it go in a wooden closet, you can’t get it to stop. We came up with a list of unique ways that we can make better use of God’s money and help further this campaign. Please add to this list if you think of any other ideas, I would love to hear if you’ve come up with some interesting ways to squeeze a dollar here or there.


  • 401k donations – some 401k plans will allow you to move money out of a 401k as a donation without penalty. As an example, if you planned on giving $200 after tax then by taking this from a 401k the church could get roughly $285 (if you are taxed at 30%) just by pulling the money out of a 401k rather than after the income has been taxed.
  • Cash-back credit cards – agree to give the money earned from credit cards that provide a cash-back bonus on purchases.
  • Sell unused items – look around your home and take anything that hasn’t been touched in two years and put it up for sale on eBay.
  • Refinancing – try to get your loans down to a lower interest rate and agree the money you save will be given every month.
  • Sacrifice – think of the things you can live without and agree that anytime you normally would have spent that money you will put the money in a jar and donate it at the end of the week. As an example, if you normally buy lunch for $7 a day, then every day you put $7 in a jar to be given at the end of the week.
  • Recurring Sacrifice – this is a little different from above in that you can try to cut out monthly bills (TV channels, cell phone extras, premium memberships, etc.) and agree that you will give that extra money every month.

A little help

A few ideas for help in this area might be useful.

  • Men’s night – Have the church organize a night where a CPA is brought in to try and help us squeeze more out of our monthly expenses. Use this as a Q&A time for questions people might have about certain laws or what they can do to cut back on expenses.
  • Accountability – Form accountability groups where people can keep each other accountable with their expenses. This would require some openness on everybody’s part, but having someone else look at where your money is going can be a great way to keep things in perspective.
  • Sermons – Have a listen to some of these sermons by Tim Keller, the items we’ve listed above are great methods for restructuring your finances, but if the heart is not restructured then truly radical giving will never be achieved.
  • Ask God – Spend some time during your devotions to ask God for financial wisdom, study the Scriptures to see what God says about our hearts and our money.
  • More reading – Here are some more articles/sermons on finances, enjoy!

Again, please don’t let your giving become a meaningless event where you are only trying to give more. Our aim should be to glorify God by giving back the blessings He has given to us. If I left anything out, please comment below and add to the list.

  1. J,

    Site looks great. Last night I discovered your blog and read all that had been posted. I do think your layout is very nice. I hadn’t seen your previous version so I can’t tell you how much better it is, but it is nice.

    I wanted to comment that in addition to giving from your 401(k) (which is brilliant, by the way) you can also gift highly appreciated stock positions. This way you can gift the full amount of the position instead of paying the taxes on the gain that you would otherwise incur should you sell the position and gift the cash.

    Other than that I do appreciate your subject matter, openness, and clearly knowledgeable thoughts. Quoting gives your posts support, allows your readers to have somewhere else to search in the event they want to learn more, and demonstrates your own understanding of the issue. Finally, the length of your blogs is just right. Not to short to only mention something and not provide any information but also not too long so as to tempt your readers to skip sections.

    Should you continue with the quality you have demonstrated thus far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see your blog continue to grow in popularity.

    Thanks, I have certainly enjoyed it.

  2. D, thanks for your comments on the blog, they are much appreciated!

    Question about gifting stock positions: Does one physically sell the stock and then gift the money to the church and everything tax-wise is worked out on April 15th? Or maybe a better question is, how do I go about the process of gifting a stock? Do I drop off the stock certificate in the offering box? Thanks again!

  3. J,

    Regarding stock positions, using stock certificates is NOT good. They are not considered legal documents so they require legal documents to go with them. Should you write ownership over to an organization and sign your name to the back you may actually render it worthless! It is better to turn in the certificate to a brokerage and have them hold the position for you in electronic form. Then you can gift the stock.

    To gift a stock, it is always best to contact the place you plan to make the gift, let them know the gift you would like to make and how much and they will give you all the information you need to make that possible. It includes the brokerage in which the organization has their account and the DTC#, which is a code to transfer to stock to the correct place.

    If you sell the stock, that is irreversible and you lose the tax benefit. So you should not sell and gift the cash, but gift the stock electronically to the organization’s account.

    Any other questions? My pleasure.

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