The Bigger Offering Plate


“Will the ushers please come forward…” 
That single phrase used to be the primary (if not the only) way the church gathered the gifts of the faithful and funded the ministries of the church.

While the offertory remains a meaningful part of our worship, the practical ways that devoted disciples can give in support of the church have expanded. The ‘offering plate’ is bigger than ever, but church offices need to make sure that the folks in the pews know about the options and how to make those gifts happen easily. 

Here is a short list of gifts that can grow your church’s offering plate. Your Missouri UM Foundation can help you get the word out and assist your office and individual givers in making these gifts happen:

IRA Rollover Gifts
Individual Retirement Accounts are often among the largest assets that folks own in retirement. They can also be an excellent source for charitable giving under the new tax rules. Anyone over the age of 70 ½ can make a ‘rollover gift’ directly to their church. This is helpful because after 70 ½ folks with traditional IRAs must take annual ‘required minimum distributions’ and pay tax on those distributions as ordinary income. The Rollover Gift counts toward the RMD but is not counted as income to the donor. This is especially helpful for folks who do not itemize deductions. 

Gifts of Appreciated Stock
More folks own stocks and mutual funds than ever before. If those assets have been owned longer than a year and have gone up in value, then those shares can be very cost-effective charitable gifts. By giving the shares directly to the church, the donor avoids paying the capital gains tax. Therefore, the church gets a bigger gift, and the donor can deduct the full fair market value of the stock (if they itemize). 
If you think that sounds too complicated for your church office, good news! Your Missouri UM Foundation processes these gifts as a service to all churches and their donors. The last five years the Foundation has processed over $5.5 million in stock gifts for churches and donors across the state. 

Donor Advised Funds
This can be a great way for a donor or a family to manage all of their charitable giving in one place. A donor can create a DAF at the Missouri UM Foundation and contribute to it at any time. The donor can then decide later when and how much should be distributed from the DAF to their church or other public charities. The DAF is also a way to manage deductions. For example, a large gift in one year to a DAF might allow a donor to itemize that deduction and save on taxes that year. The DAF can then make charitable distributions as recommended by the donor in subsequent years. 

These are just three key ideas for making tax-wise gifts under the new tax rules that will grow your church’s offering plate and help your givers be more effective stewards. Call the Foundation at 800-332-8238 or visit the website at for more information about these types of gifts, as well as estate planning and ‘life income’ gifts. Free brochures can be ordered in quantity on these topics, and look for our annual year-end giving brochure next month.