Tag Archive for: Grace of Giving 042024

Planned giving program bears fruit

Pictured above: Members of St. Peter participate in an Everyone Outreach evangelism workshop

More than 20 years ago, the members of St. Peter, Schofield, Wis., realized their congrega­tion would benefit from forming a planned giving committee. One of the goals of the com­mittee was to actively promote to members what a blessing planned giving could be in supporting the gospel work of the congregation.

Member Bob Stasney has been part of the con­gregation’s planned giving committee since its inception. He recalls that the new committee ben­efited from the support of a WELS Christian giving counselor, who supplied startup resources and advice. “[The resources] were key in guiding us to establish policies that are very important to refer to over the years,” remembers Stasney.

Since that time, St. Peter’s planned giving commit­tee has been encouraging members in their giving by providing regular communication in the bulletin or newsletter about gifting tools. The committee also assists members who have questions about making planned gifts, directing them to their local WELS Christian giving counselor as needed.

Through God’s blessing, this targeted, support­ive approach has resulted in members setting up gifts to benefit the church through a variety of methods, like gifts of appreciated stock or gifts through a will or estate plan. Last year the con­gregation received several large gifts, including $220,000 to create an endowment and another $400,000 to further God’s ministry in multiple areas. Another $20,000 gift went to tuition assistance (the church’s scholarship program has distributed over $130,000 to families since its inception). St. Peter’s planned giving committee also oversees the congregation’s endowment funds and invests with WELS Investment Funds.

Stasney encourages other congregations to consider setting up a planned giving commit­tee, utilizing the resources and planned giving program manual available through WELS: “The current manual seems quite comprehensive and is a must-go-to for anyone starting from scratch.”

Stasney gives all credit to God for his blessings on St. Peter. “The Holy Spirit has worked miracles at St. Peter over and over again, and our members have historically been cheerful givers,” he says. “To God be all the glory.”

Learn more about starting a congregational planned giving program at wels.net/plannedgivingprogram or contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor at 800-827-5482 or [email protected] for assistance.

Starting a congregational planned giving program

Christians seeking to honor the Lord with their offerings will want to know about the tax-wise opportunities available when plan­ning for the transition of accumu­lated wealth (their “estate”) to loved ones and the Lord’s work at life’s end. There are also ways to support the Lord’s work now while at the same time receiving tax benefits. WELS has produced a manual to help church leaders start a planned giving program to share these opportunities with fellow members.

If your congregation is inter­ested in starting a planned giv­ing program, visit wels.net/plannedgivingprogram to order free manuals. The manual starts with the basics of how to communicate planned giving oppor­tunities to members and then provides options for building on that foundation. For example, a con­gregation can also organize a planned giving committee and start an endowment fund. Your local WELS Christian giving coun­selor can walk your congregation through the manual and answer any questions.

Investment options for congregations

Congregations receiving larger gifts from members have long-term and short-term investment options through WELS. For long-term investing, WELS Investment Funds provides cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios exclusively for WELS and affiliated organizations. These funds are designed especially for endowment and scholarship funds.

Currently 255 WELS organizations have entrusted more than $300 million to WELS Investment Funds. Investors benefit from lower investment costs, oversight by a national board of directors made up of WELS members with relevant experience, the expertise of professional institutional investment consultants, and ease of use as investors work directly with professional WELS staff to set up and manage accounts. Explore your options at wels.net/welsfunds or by contacting [email protected] or 877-888-8953.

WELS Church Extension Fund (WELS CEF) provides short-term investing to congregations through one-year savings certificates and 6- to 60-month investment certificates. In addition to receiving competitive investment rates, congregations can appreciate that WELS CEF uses the investments to provide financing to mission congregations and mission-minded self-supporting WELS congregations and schools for land and facility projects. For more information visit wels.net/cef or contact [email protected] or 866-511-7793.

Rate increase good news for donors

The charitable gift annuity is a favorite planned giving tool for donors who are 60 or older. Not only can you support a WELS ministry after you go to heaven, but meanwhile you can receive regular, guaranteed payments for life. To top things off, the rates on those payments increased in 2024 by an average of 0.4 percent (depending on your age)!

In brief, you can set up a charitable gift annuity (CGA) with WELS Foundation for a minimum of $10,000 in cash or securities or through a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from your IRA. You will receive a charitable gift deduction (not applicable to a CGA funded by a QCD) and then quarterly payments based on a rate according to your age. These pay­ments continue until you are taken to heaven, at which point the remainder goes to your designated ministry (or ministries). If you are interested in setting up a CGA, contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor.

Learn more about charitable gift annuities and view the latest rates table

Watch WELS Foundation Executive Director Jim Holm interview WELS Christian Giving Counselor Jon Kehren about the advantages of CGAs.


Increased maximums for qualified charitable distributions

The maximum amount of qualified charitable distribu­tions (QCDs) you can direct to ministry from your IRA has increased in 2024 to $105,000 (previously $100,000), and the maximum you can distribute to WELS Foundation to set up a charitable gift annuity is now $53,000 (previously $50,000). This is because under SECURE Act 2.0 there is a yearly increase, indexed for inflation, in the annual limit of QCDs starting in 2024.

Learn more about qualified charitable distributions at wels.net/qcd.


Donate appreciated assets instead of cash

When donating we typically first think of giving cash (online or through a check). A cash dona­tion provides us with a chari­table deduction. But consider donating an appreciated asset instead, such as a stock, bond, mutual fund, or real estate. You will still get the charitable deduction and avoid the capital gains tax you would typically pay when selling the asset.

Find procedures for giving securi­ties at wels.net/foundation under “Helpful Giving Tools.”