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This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.
4 Keys for a Church to Properly Handle Designated Gifts

Almost every church receives some designated gifts each year. The gifts are “restricted” for accounting purposes, but churches often refer to them as “designated.”

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7 Challenges to Handling Designated Gifts Webinars-On-Demand

The 7 Challenges to Handling Designated Gifts Webinar with Dan Busby, ECFA president, McKinney, finance manager for Christ Community Church of Milpitas, and John Van Drunen, ECFA vice president, discusses issues commonly faced by churches including whether a church should accept all designated gifts and the responsibilities of the church if designated gifts are accepted.

Many designated gifts are welcomed by churches and can be used to fulfill the church’s mission—including gifts for a capital campaign, short-term mission trips, benevolence and much more.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn:

  • How a Church Supports Mission
  • Sound Missions Policies
  • Short-term Mission Team Issues
  • Long-term Mission Distinctions
  • Communications with Givers
  • Communications with Short-term or Long-term Missionaries
  • Accountability Over Missions Funds

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7 Lessons My Father Taught Me About Fundraising

Dr. Barry Corey, President of Biola University, thoughtfully shares characteristics of Godly development that were modeled by his father. His thoughtful comments will encourage anyone involved in resource development.

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Accelerating Generosity and Giving in Your Church Webinars-On-Demand

This Webinar-On-Demand will focus on Accelerating Generosity and Giving in Your Church with Chris Willard, co-author of Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn about:

Learn how pastors from churches across the country, both large and small, have accelerated generosity and giving by:

  • Preaching/teaching generosity because of what they want FOR their people, not FROM them.
  • Connecting generosity with SPIRITUAL FORMATION instead of FUND DEVELOPMENT.
  • USING DATA to encourage consistent giving and report ministry results.
  • Understanding the unique spiritual needs and giving habits of people in the congregation who have been FINANCIALLY BLESSED.

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Acknowledgments for Auction Items

Sample acknowledgments for payments and for charitable gifts related to auctions

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Asking Is Just the Beginning!

Discusses the importance and means of maintaining integrity throughout the fundraising process

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Auto Allowance or Reimbursement?

Allowance or Reimbursement?

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Banquets

Overview of fundraising banquets and the proper accounting treatment for possible elements of such an event

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Benevolence Application – Financial Assessment Sheet

Sample benevolence form that may be used by a ministry to evaluate benevolence applicants

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Benevolence Funds FAQs

Frequently asked questions and answers about benevolence funds

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Beyond Giving and Getting

Discussion of the board’s role of fundraising as a ministry

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Biblical Principles for Stewardship and Fundraising

Lists Biblical principles relating to stewardship and fundraising

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Capital Campaigns

Capital campaigns are used to raise funds for buildings, endowments, scholarships, and other specific purposes.

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Charging an Overhead Assessment against Restricted Donations

Highlights the key issues relating to the determination of overhead rates to be applied to gifts, accounting for overhead charges, communication of overhead charges to givers, and much more

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Charitable Acknowledgments Provided to Someone Other than the Giver

Outlines issues to consider when a giver requests that a charitable receipt be provided to someone else

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Charitable Gift Acknowledgments for Donations

Outlines IRS requirements for acknowledgments for contributions received by a ministry

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Charity Auction Implications

An overview of the tax rules relating to the donation of items to be auctioned and the items purchased at an auction

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Child Adoption Fundraising and Support

Discusses items related to child adoption funding

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Clergy Housing Exclusion & Love Offerings Webinars-On-Demand

The Clergy Housing Exclusion & Love Offerings Webinar with Michael Batts, president and managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, and Michael Mosher, attorney and founder of Mosher & Associates, LLC, covers the clergy housing exclusion and the complexity of reporting issues and limitations as well as understanding and reporting the love offerings for churches.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn:

  • Clergy housing exclusion
  • Congregation/clergy involvement
  • Complexity and reporting issues
  • Housing exclusion limitations
  • What is a love offering?
  • State and federal tax codes
  • Definition of a taxable "gift"
  • Tax reporting

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Compensation of Outside Fundraisers

Discusses ECFA’s requirements regarding compensation of outside fundraisers

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Conduit Gift

A nondeductible transfer of funds to a charity that is not intended to benefit the charity, and over which the charity does not have adequate discretion and control

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Contribution

An unconditional transfer of cash or other assets to an entity or a settlement of cancellation of its liabilities in a voluntary nonreciprocal transfer by another entity acting other than as an owner.

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Contributions for Disasters

Accountability for funds received and expended for disaster relief should be based on certain best practices.

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Contributions Made by Credit Card

Credit card policy for churches that accept donations or payments by credit card

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Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes

Congress has provided special rules related to the contributions of motor vehicles, boats and airplanes.  The gifts of these items may not occur frequently for you but when one of these donations is received, you need to be prepared to properly apply the rules in compliance with the law.

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Deputized Fundraising

Churches using this concept generally determine an amount each staff member is responsible to raise.

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Deputized Fundraising – The Basics

Discusses the basics of deputized fundraising

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Deputized Gift Letter

Sample deputized gift letter explaining proper ministry and accounting treatment of deputized gifts

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Digital Gifts to Churches—Developing Controls to Avoid Fraud

In the past few decades, “We’ve gone from dial-up Internet access in our basements to high-speed connections in our pockets,” says Steve Hewitt, editor of Christian Computing Magazine.

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Disaster Relief Payments

Adequate records should demonstrate the victims’ needs for the assistance provided.

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Disclosure of Overhead Charges

Discusses appropriate disclosure of overhead charges on giver-restricted gifts

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Distributions from 403(b) Plans

Addresses the permissible distributions from 403(b) plans and the tax consequences of non-qualified distributions

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Donation of Investment Securities

Outlines the proper accounting and receipting for contributions of investment securities

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Donations - A Church's Responsibility to Control

Discusses how a church must exercise full administrative control over donated funds to ensure that they fulfill exempt purposes and programs

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Donor-Advised Fund

This document provides a definition of a donor-advised fund.

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Effectively Handling Endowment Gifts

Outlines different types and proper accounting for endowments

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Explicit Gift Restriction

An explicit gift restriction occurs when a donor sends a letter, indicates a restriction on a response form, or provides other specific communication to the church identifying a contribution as restricted in terms of purpose or time.

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Fundraising Resources

Publications about a variety of fundraising issues

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Getting It Right Every Time with Restricted Gifts Webinars-On-Demand

This Webinar-On-Demand will focus on Getting It Right Every Time with Restricted Gifts with Dan Busby, president of ECFA, Michael Martin, vice president and legal counsel of ECFA, and John Van Drunen, executive vice president and general counsel of ECFA.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn about:

  • Identifying donor-restricted gifts, plus what to do when gifts cannot be used for intended purposes
  • Communicating restricted giving opportunities with clarity
  • Exercising discretion and control over restricted gift
  • Plus much more!

Additional Resources:

Be sure to check out the PowerPoint download and bonus eBook resource above the video recording under the Handouts & Links dropdown menu.

Charging an Overhead Assessment Against Restricted Donations

Gift Acceptance Guidelines

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Gift Acceptance Guidelines

Guidelines for a nonprofit to follow when determining what gifts should be accepted from donors

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Gift Annuity Rates

Discusses gift annuity rates as recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities

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Gifts Designated for a Pastor

The IRS clarified that to deduct a contribution to help pay a minister's health expenses, the donor’s intent in making the payment must have been to benefit the church and not an individual pastor, even if the donor simply desired to "bless" the pastor.

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Gifts of Real Estate

Guidelines for preparing a real estate gift policy

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Gifts to Domestic Organizations for Foreign Use

Charitable deductions to U.S. charities, including churches, with the gift restricted for a foreign charity are only permitted in certain situations.

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Gifts to Help Ministry Participants

When an individual ultimately benefits in some way from a gift, a variety of tax issues may arise. Churches and other nonprofits must be clear in their communication and control over contributions in order to protect their donors’ tax deductions.

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Giver Privacy

Discusses giver privacy and important elements of a giver privacy policy

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Giver Restrictions or Giver Preferences

The distinction between a giver's restriction and giver's preference can make the difference between the giver's eligibility for a charitable tax deduction and no tax deduction.

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Giver-Imposed Condition

A giver stipulation that specifies a future and uncertain event whose occurrence or failure to occur gives the promisor a right-of-return of assets he or she has transferred, or releases the promisor from its obligation to transfer assets.

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Giver-Imposed Restriction

A giver-imposed stipulation that specifies a use for the contributed asset that is more specific than the broad limits imposed by the church’s purpose and nature.

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Guidelines for Handling Funds Raised for Disasters

Contains guidelines that churches should consider when raising disaster-related funds

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Implicit Gift Restriction

An implicit gift restriction occurs when there are certain circumstances surrounding a gift that makes the giver’s restriction clear even though there is no explicit gift restriction.

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Important Considerations for Church Benevolence Programs

Discusses church benevolence programs

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IRA Charitable Distribution Opportunities for Churches

The tax law provides new charitable giving opportunities through IRA distributions for church members.

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It’s More Than Contribution Receipts

Outlines ways that nonprofits can be financially accountable to donors beyond providing a contribution receipt

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Lead Gifts

The first, usually sizable, gifts of a capital campaign

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Modeling Integrity in Administering Gifts to the Church

How can ministry in the church be accomplished most effectively and most seamlessly generate maximum Kingdom impact?

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National Worker (non-U.S. worker)

A citizen, born in or naturalized in the country where a church conducts missionary activity.

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Needy and Distressed Test

This test should include a set of criteria by which a church can objectively make distributions to individuals who are financially or otherwise distressed.

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Noncash Charitable Gift Acknowledgments

Sample acknowledgment letters for noncash gifts

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Ownership of Gifts

Case studies and analyses addressing nonprofit ownership of gifts

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Personal Gifts

A transfer of money or other property from one individual to another individual, voluntarily, without any obligation nor a consideration for services rendered.

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Planned Giving Program Overview

Steps a church should take before beginning a planned giving program

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Planned Giving: The Opportunity Cost of Doing Nothing

Most charities simply do nothing when it comes to planned giving. On average, Americans have approximately 9 percent of their net worth in cash and 91 percent in assets. Yet, nonprofits continue to rely on direct mail, fundraisers, and golf tournaments to meet their budgets; and make no attempt to help their donors learn how to gift assets. This white paper examines the cost of doing nothing when it comes to planned giving.

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Preferenced Gift

A preference indicated by a giver expressing the giver’s wishes, desires, or advice on how or when the gift will be used but is not restricted for a specific individual.

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Prohibiting the Acceptance of Restricted Gifts

A church's policy to prohibit the acceptance of restricted gifts only has a limited effect.

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Project Reporting to Givers - Church

A donor has requested a report on how her gift was used for a certain project. What is appropriate for our church to provide to this donor?

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Quid Pro Quo

When a giver receives goods or services of value approximate to the amount transferred, there is no true gift.

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Quid Pro Quo Disclosure and Acknowledgment Requirements

Discusses when to disclose, how to disclose and how to calculate quid pro quo contribution

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Raffles

Discusses raffles by nonprofits as a fundraiser and the deductibility of ticket purchases by donors

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Refunding Contributions to a Giver

Discusses policies and procedures for refunding contributions to donors

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Sample Annual Year-End Letter to Volunteers Related to Deducting Out-of-Pocket Costs

Sample Annual Year-End Letter to Volunteers Related to Deducting Out-of-Pocket Costs

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Sample Benevolence Fund Resolution

Sample wording for a benevolence fund board resolution

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Sample Benevolence Policy

Sample benevolence policy that may be used as a guideline by a nonprofit ministry designing its own benevolence policy

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Sample Giver Privacy Policy

Discusses giver privacy and important elements of a giver privacy policy

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Sample IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution Gift Acknowledgment

Sample of a gift acknowledgment for IRA distributions

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Sample Real Property Donation Policy

Sample policy on real property donations including assessment and evaluation guidance

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Sample Short-Term Mission Trip and Mission Field Assessment Visit Policy

Many churches sponsor short-term mission trips and encourage their constituents to participate in the trips. Additionally, ministries may send representatives to a mission field to assess certain field-specific issues before a ministry begins to support a particular field or as a qualifying event contingent on a church’s continuing to support a field. This document includes sample language for your church’s policy.

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Scrip Sales by a Church

Scrip, in the form of a gift certificate or a gift card, is sometimes purchased by a church from a merchant at a discount and may create special tax considerations.

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Short-Term Mission Trips

Discusses the deductibility of contributions for short-term mission trips

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Should We Accept this Gift?

Addresses establishing charitable gift guidelines for a nonprofit

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Soliciting from the Elderly

Discusses issues to consider when soliciting contributions from the elderly

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Stewarding All of God's Blessings

Stewardship is a blessing, a means through which we grow in our relationship with God. If this is true, then it’s a topic that must be discussed within the community of faith and within our families. This white paper will explore some ways to help Christian leaders and believers find the fullness of God’s blessing.

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Stipulation

A statement by a giver which creates a condition or restriction on the use of the transferred resources.

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Temporarily Restricted Gift

A gift that is donor-restricted for a stated period of time or until a stated event has occurred.

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Temporarily Restricted Net Assets

The part of net assets for a ministry that is temporarily restricted by donor-imposed stipulations.

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The 7 Deadly Sins of Year-End Gift Receipts

This article written by Michael Martin for The Church Network Insight magazine will help church administrators understand the importance of ensuring that gift receipts provided by the church meet the requirements of federal tax law for those who will use the receipts as substantiation when filing their returns and claiming a charitable deduction.

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The Four H's of Financial Wisdom

The Four H's of Financial Wisdom is an interactive infographic helping people engage with the philosophy of "God Own's It All".

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The Heart of Fundraising

Discusses a biblical approach to fundraising, beginning with a transformation of the heart

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Time-Share Contributions

An overview of issues to consider before accepting a time-share gift

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Timing of Contributions

Outlines the IRS rules regarding the timing of contributions made by credit card and check

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Underfunded and Overfunded Projects

Discusses the appropriate action when a ministry project is either underfunded or overfunded

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Variance Power

A variance power is the authority granted to a church by a court with respect to the use of a giver-restricted gift.

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Volunteer Travel Expense

Discusses travel reimbursement by a church to a volunteer

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