Most ministries constantly struggle between a careful balance of raising funds to meet the needs of the people or causes they serve and being in a genuine relationship with the people who support them financially. When the subject of a planned gift or estate planning comes up I typically hear one of two things from development professionals about their challenges in this area:
1. “I feel like an ambulance chaser when I ask if they have thought about including us in their will”
2. “I can never get into a conversation about it because I am always stopped with an abrupt ‘We have already done an estate plan.’” Read more about “Why Your Christian Estate Plan Is Inadequate.”
These two challenges are very real – and for a reason. It seems like an awkward conversation because it is! Even the closest of your ministry partners most likely feels they are already giving as much as they can. And they’re not just being asked by you – but from every place they give! And now you are asking if and when they die…they will give you more! Ouch.
What if instead of asking for more you could give them something back? And I don’t mean a plaque with their name on it for their last donation… or a fancy dinner in appreciation of their generosity. Everyone likes to be thanked – and these things aren’t bad… but if you could make a genuine difference in the lives of your ministry partners and their families – would you want to?
Giving your donors tools that help them meet their deepest needs first – and then, from an overflow of their increased capacity give back to you, can be one of the most solidifying and genuine relationship building tools there is. Provide them tools that help them:
- Discover the legacy they want to pass to their children and further generations – and how to implement it in their family
- Learn how to eliminate estate taxes, and lower income taxes without reducing the amount that goes to their heirs (if they choose)
- How to dramatically increase their Kingdom impact and capacity to give more without affecting their lifestyle
- Rekindle relationships with estranged children
- Prepare their children for an inheritance
- Create a giving plan that implements the increased capacity for Kingdom causes based on the family virtues and God’s purpose for their lives.
What if the next conversation with one of your ministry partners focused on their needs and concerns– and not just the needs or your organization? What if you could ask them things like:
• How is your relationship with your kids? – or your spouse?
• Do they know the Lord?
• Are you afraid of the way it will affect your kids when you pass along an inheritance to them?
• What do you think God is calling you and your family to do?
• Are you and your spouse on the same page and in partnership with all of your giving?
It’s true that if you give them the tools to do all of these things it may not result in a direct donation or estate gift for your ministry. It’s also true that you may not fit into their giving plan after they do the work to discover what they are most passionate about. But one thing I can guarantee is that you will have built a genuine relationship with them either way. And when one has a deep sense of passion, purpose and increased means to carry it out, they normally don’t forget those who helped them get there.
Interested in learning more? Please see our Ministries page.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.