Preparing the Way for Generosity
By being intentional about stewardship, your congregation can inform, motivate and smooth the way so you are ready to receive gifts in the most amicable and accountable manner:
- A statement of stewardship helps everyone in the congregation to understand your church’s commitment, hopes and purposes when it comes to the regular week-to-week stewardship of everyone’s time, talent and treasure.
- Developing a Legacy Giving policy and program clearly communicates your congregation’s need, willingness and ability to responsibly and wisely accept and manage substantial legacy gifts.
Both policies are designed to give everyone a voice while gathering agreement before the need to make quick or difficult decisions is suddenly upon the congregation, helping reduce conflict and controversy. You will find useful tools for developing both policies below.
Developing a Statement of Financial Stewardship
Providing your congregation with a Statement of Christian Financial Stewardship makes talking about stewardship much easier. A statement of stewardship:
- is approved by the Session of your church
- provides guidance about financial stewardship.
- is based on sound biblical principles
- offers practical guidelines for giving
- answers the frequently asked questions associated with financial stewardship.
Both policies are designed to give everyone a voice while gathering agreement before the need to make quick or di cult decisions is suddenly upon the congregation, helping reduce conflict and controversy. You will find useful tools for developing both policies below.
The purpose of a statement of stewardship is not to solicit more money or to meet your church’s budget, but to help each Christian in your church to continue to grow as Christ’s disciples and stewards in response to God’s grace.
Here are two examples that you are welcome to modify to suit the circumstances in your church. Each example is a complete statement and can be adapted or excerpted in whole or part.
Setting-up Legacy Funds & Endowments
Launching a Legacy Giving Program
The downloadable booklet Setting up Legacy Funds and Endowments, contains sample policies and procedures to guide your congregation through the process of setting up and administering a legacy or endowment fund.
In 2006, the 131st General Assembly of the PCC recommended “That congregations be encouraged to establish clear policies and procedures for how planned gifts will be received, invested and used to enhance the life and mission of the Church.”
There are good reasons to develop such a policy. You don’t want a member of your congregation to decide not to give a gift in their will because the last time the church received a bequest it caused a big disagreement! Every session in every congregation should develop clear policies for how to handle legacy gifts so future gifts are always a blessing, rather than a source of conflict.
If your congregation does not have such a policy in place, now is a good time to begin thinking about how you will handle planned gifts. It is much better to work through such policies before your congregation receives such a gift. This helps the discussion focus on the congregation’s vision of ministry, rather than personalities. A policy can also provide the foundation for promoting legacy gifts, helping donors to see how their gifts will be received, invested and used. Creating a new legacy giving policy, or updating the one you have, provides the perfect opportunity to let your members know that your congregation is prepared to receive such gifts and to use them well.
For More Information
The Stewardship and Planned Giving staff are available to help you turn your philanthropic wishes into reality.
To learn how a bequest, gift of stock, gift annuity or other planned gift can leave a lasting legacy, please contact us
- by email
- or call the Stewardship & Planned Giving department, 1-800-619-7301.
- or mail to: The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7.
The information on this page does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be substituted for appropriate professional advice. The Presbyterian Church in Canada strongly recommends that you seek professional legal and financial advice to ensure your financial situation and those of your dependents are considered; that your tax situation is reviewed; and that your legacy gift is tailored to your circumstances.
Remembering to Say “Thank You”
Research shows that people will give 40% more if thanked and acknowledged. Without timely, meaningful and sincere “thank you”s combined with detailed information on the impact of their donations, charitable organizations can lose as much as 60% of annual giving from donors within a one year period […]