Wyden Your Horizons!

The Newsletter of VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
Headquarters: 118 Westchester Drive, Amherst, Ohio 44001
Additional Offices in Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA • Toll-free Phone - 888-245-5826

Providing Professional Counsel
for Churches & Non-profit Organizations

E-mail: Bill@WydenYourHorizons. com • Web: www. WydenYourHorizons. com
Capital Fund Campaigns, Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns

November 2006


1. Wyden Your Horizons with Resolve Click
2. Take Our On-Line Fund-Raising Survey Click
3. We're Looking for Additional Consultants for our Staff Click
4. Encourage Year-End Giving to Maximize Your Funding Click
5. Giving Circles are a Growing Force through Focused Giving Click
6. Americans' Generosity to Religious Organizations is # 1 Click
7. About VanderWyden Consultants, Inc. Click
8. Subscribe / Unsubscribe Instructions Click

In this edition of Wyden Your Horizons, we provide illustrations that may stimulate end-of-year giving; recommendations about how to develop your plan for improving your church's programs, ministries, and giving in 2007; and insights about the giving patterns of Americans.

This special season, when we celebrate the birth of the one who showed us the truest example of sacrificial giving, is a good time for Americans to take stock of their abundant blessings. A recent study has verified that our citizens are the most generous people in the world. Yet there is huge potential for increased generosity because we are greatly blessed, and the needs of the world are great. We live in a country where people wait in line for video games, while in some other nations people wait in line for bread.

Wyden Your Horizons is provided as a free resource for churches, non-profit organizations, and individuals who are raising funds for good causes. Our mission is to provide resources that enable churches and non-profit organizations to implement programs that inspire their members to find the "Joy of Generosity." When that happens, the funds for meeting the needs of congregations and communities are sure to follow.

We enjoy sharing our learnings with others. Please do not hesitate to contact us through our toll-free line or via email, if you have a specific question about any of the topics in this newsletter, or any of our programs, or to share your insights. Feel free to forward this email to family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers who may be interested in subscribing themselves. We wish for you and all of your families and congregations a most blessed holiday season and New Year.

Wyden Your Horizons with resolve

As we approach the New Year, it is time to consider our collective resolutions for behavior change. I'm not referring to those New Year's Resolutions that individuals make on New Year's Eve, which most of us give up on in less than a month. I'm talking about plans that congregations and non-profit organizations resolve to implement next year. These resolutions have a much higher likelihood of being fulfilled because members of a group can hold each other to accountability.

It is proven fact that if you want to change your behavior, you are much more likely to be successful if you tell others that you are going to do so and/or gather with others who are trying to make the same change. That is why individuals who gather in groups to lose weight, to exercise regularly, to stop smoking, to read books monthly, etc. are much more likely to be successful in achieving their objectives than individuals who attempt to go it alone. The power of peer pressure inspires you to do what you told "them" you would do, supporting greater discipline, as together you find the resources required to implement your resolutions. Unfortunately, too few churches and non-profit organizations take full advantage of this power of corporate resolutions to improve their ministries and programs.

Most churches have their congregational Annual Meetings in January. It's not uncommon for these gatherings to be poorly attended affairs, where a review of the past year is presented, the pressing problems of the church are discussed, a slate of new officers is elected, and a scaled-back budget for the New Year is approved. Most churches in our country are shrinking in attendance and membership. For many this trend has been going on for decades. Yet in most of these institutions, there has been no planning for how to turn the tide. The "Plan" has been to persevere, being good disciples, doing the things "we have always done," and then bemoaning the fact that things keep getting worse.

Imagine for a moment that your church sends out a large, bright-colored post card in advance of the Annual Meeting announcing, "The agenda for the Annual Meeting is going to be different this year. It will be an event that you won't want to miss! We are going to have an exciting Celebration! The Church Leadership has done positive planning and has identified some new programs that could solve some of our continuing challenges! Come and Celebrate our Resolution to Grow."

The next order of business is to write in the church newsletter and post on the church website that church leadership has found resources to make this happen. That they have identified individuals or organizations who can provide guidance to help with membership growth, to stimulate giving for Operating Expenses, to raise funds to improve the facilities, to hire new staff members, to improve music ministries, to visit shut-ins, to lead Bible Study groups that will promote faith development, to conduct worship, or to meet other needed priorities. The announcement might boldly proclaim:

"We are going to undertake some exciting, ambitious new programs, that could solve the continuing challenges that are being faced, and that could re-energize our members to become more involved. Here are the needs / challenges that we have: (identify them in vivid detail.) We have found churches and organizations that have overcome these challenges, have asked them how they did it, and who they hired to guide them. We have researched these resources and programs that they recommended. We believe our congregation can meet our challenges. We want our congregation to resolve that together we take the steps required to overcome our challenges as other churches have. We need you to help. We are going to have standing committees to carry out these programs, with the members of these committees recruited on their ability to implement the new program and to work with our consultants. We will need to hold each other to accountability if we are to be able to carry out these plans."

You may be wondering how to raise the money to implement such plans. That is why I am publicly addressing this issue now, in November. It gives you the time to make plans, to find resources, and to figure out how to raise the required funds. I have never found a need where God did not provide the resources to meet that need. It is never a shortage of money that causes a church to not meet the challenges that God puts before it. Rather it is a shortage of creativity and lack of faith in God's providing. If a congregation recommends programs that can meet real needs, the funds will come. If the challenges are related to funding, VanderWyden Consultants can help you find a way -- and it all starts with a Plan. If congregations fail to plan, they plan to fail. So if you really want your congregation to have a better year next year, you need to get started now.

Here is a typical plan that we assist congregations to implement:
bulletStep 1 -- Gather together a group who wants to do something to improve your ministries. This group may or may not be an official leadership board of the church. The key is to organize a group of like-minded members and church leaders who can resolve to bring recommendations to the Annual Meeting.
bulletStep 2 -- The group will identify the problems / challenges that the congregation has. It will quantify the problems in terms of members, dollars, individuals, etc. Which programs does the congregation need help with? Music? Church School? Membership Growth? Improving facilities? Bible study? Support for the operating budget? Leave no stone unturned.
bulletStep 3 -- The group will identify growing congregations who have solved these problems. Some of these may be in the local community, others may be around the country. The point is to cast a wide net to discover others who have met these challenges.
bulletStep 4 -- The group will investigate what these other congregations recommend as to the programs and ministries that have been most successful. Research their track records and discuss how their programs and approaches may work in your congregation. Then make recommendations as to the initiatives to implement.
bulletStep 5 -- The group will need to lead by example by committing to increased personal giving and challenging others to also increase their giving to support the new initiatives.
bulletStep 6 -- The group will report on its research and recommendations at the Annual Meeting. A new wind will be blowing. New initiatives that have already gleaned support or funding will be celebrated. Others will be brought to the congregation for endorsement and implementation, so that the congregation can resolve to hold each other accountable in the New Year.

With this kind of preparation, one can easily imagine an Annual Meeting that celebrates and builds upon the good work of the planning committee. It might start with refreshments and rejoicing in the great things that the congregation has accomplished in the past year, complete with a Video, and exciting Music. The meeting could then include a sharing time where members testify about the most inspiring ministry of the church that they have participated in during the past year. By the end of the Annual Meeting, the congregation would be on a solid footing for a great New Year.

If this sounds like a better way to announce and to prepare for your Annual Meeting, then give us a call. We can help you to generate the ideas and energy for change. Top

Take Our On-Line Fund-Raising Survey

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the founding of VanderWyden Consultants. We aim to equip churches to raise all of the financial resources they require, to provide their essential programs and ministries, and to enable the members to grow in faith as a result of their giving. To celebrate our 10 years of service, we are conducting a research survey to ascertain the types of fund-raising services that are required by growing churches. We want our research to benefit as many congregations and individuals as possible, so we will make our findings available to consultants, conferences, judicatories, and denominations. If you would like to participate, please Click Here to Take Survey. The survey only takes about 2-3 minutes to complete and is structured to ensure that all responses are confidential. Thank you in advance for assisting us in this important effort. Top

We're Looking for Additional Consultants for our Staff

Due to increased demand for our services, VanderWyden Church Financial Development Consultants (www.WydenYourHorizons.com) is hiring new associates. Are you interested in learning the art of fund-raising through faith-raising? We are looking for faith-filled, generous, dynamic individuals who want to join us in serving the church as professional fundraising consultants. Training will be provided in our unique and successful approach to this important ministry. Willingness and ability to travel is essential. If interested, send your resume to the Rev. P. William VanderWyden, CFRE, Bill@WydenYourHorizons.com. Top

encourage year-end Giving to maximize your funding

For most churches December is the biggest giving month of the year. With high attendance due to the focus on Advent and Christmas, and with many members considering end-of-year tax planning, there is huge potential for increased giving during December. However, many members are not well-informed about the advantages they can obtain through their giving in December.

The Federal Government encourages gifts to charities by providing opportunities for significant tax savings, if you make a gift to a qualified charitable organization or to a church. Gifts may be made in a variety of ways depending on your personal tax situation:

Cash -- For many individuals this is the only way they give to charities. But they may not realize that the gift usually is not as expensive as it appears, because it can provide significant tax savings. For example, if you make a gift of $3,000 before December 31, 2006, and if you are in the 28% tax bracket, you could possibly have a tax savings of $840, meaning that the gift may only cost you $2,160. You may also be eligible for additional savings if your city or state has an income tax and allows for charitable tax benefits - with these additional tax savings your $3,000 gift could cost you less than $2,000.

Appreciated Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Real Estate, Personal Property, Paid up Life Insurance Policies, etc. -- Many individuals do not realize that they can transfer appreciated assets to their church, and obtain a significant tax benefit because they will not pay the Capital Gains Tax on the appreciation of the asset, and they also can take the full value of the asset off of their taxes. Many retired individuals actually have more money to spend after making a gift from appreciated assets to their church. With the Dow Jones Index having made significant gains in 2006, this may be a great year for many individuals to make such gifts. You may also pay your "pledge" from your assets and obtain the tax savings, rather than paying it from income.

2006 and 2007 provide special opportunities for members who are retired. -- Congress has passed a law allowing tax-free donations from IRAs to charitable organizations. You can donate up to $100,000 from a regular IRA account with no income tax payment. This can provide a significant tax savings. You must be 70.5 years of age to take advantage of this temporary change in the tax law, which is only available in 2006 and 2007.

The above illustrations are merely meant to provide ideas for gifts to charity. They are not professional recommendations. Remember to consult your professional financial tax advisor before implementing any of the above giving illustrations to see how they may or may not apply to your personal tax situation. Top

Americans' Generosity to religious organizations is # 1

A recent study by The Charities Aid Foundation of the United Kingdom found that citizens of the United States give a higher proportion of the gross domestic product to charities than 11 other countries. Americans give 1.67 percent of their gross domestic product to charities, with the UK second with its citizens giving 0.73 percent of its gross domestic product, and the citizens of France were least generous of the twelve countries, only giving 0.14 percent to charities.

What is most notable about the study for churches, is the fact that 60% of the difference between the giving of Americans and the citizens of the UK, is accounted for by giving to religious organizations. On the other hand, the British give a much higher percentage of their giving to international causes, 13%, compared to 3% for the USA.

The Study found that there was some correlation between higher levels of taxes and lower giving to charities. The United States had the fourth lowest amount of taxation, with only Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand being lower. The full report of the Study can be found on the Charities Aid Foundation Web Site. Top

Giving Circles are a growing force through focused Giving

The New York Times reports that Giving Circles are a growing phenomenon in Philanthropy in the United States Click. Similar to Group Investing Clubs, Giving Circles are groups of generous individuals who gather to pool their resources toward causes that match their concerns in order to multiply their ability to make significant improvements in their communities and in other causes around the world.

Some Giving Circles meet on a regular basis to discuss various causes and then write checks toward those charities that provide valuable resources to meet the agreed-upon needs. Other groups have one identified charity that they give to regularly. They may conduct Fund-Raising Events for their causes and may have bank accounts, foundations, and tax advisors to assist them in increasing the potency of their giving. The pooling of resources by Giving Circles enables them to focus their giving to maximize their ability to bring about improvements in the world.

Giving Circles can be organized to give toward Education, Adolescent Concerns, Housing and Homeless Causes, Community Hunger Programs, International Causes, Eliminating Poverty, Promoting World Peace, etc. The opportunities are endless. Giving Circles empower individuals to realize that they don't have to be Warren Buffet or Bill Gates to be able to make a major impact on important causes.

Of course, most Churches, Service Clubs, and many Non-Profit Organizations provide the same opportunities to focus giving toward major social needs. In essence, Giving Circles are a new wrinkle on the old practice of gathering together to identify the needs of the community and to inspire generosity to respond to those needs. Perhaps creating Giving Circles in your church or non-profit organization next year may be a way to re-energize the giving of your members. Top


VanderWyden Consultants provide professional fund-raising guidance to non-profit organizations and churches who need assistance with their fund-raising. We provide professional guidance for Capital Fund Campaigns, Stewardship Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns, Comprehensive Financial Feasibility Studies, and Workshops on the dynamics of stimulating growth in membership.

Our staff has conducted over 350 successful campaigns throughout the United States. Our "Joy of Generosity" Capital Fund Campaign program enables churches to raise as much as 13 times existing giving levels, and our "Wyden Your Horizons" Operating Budget Stewardship program results in increases of 10-35%. Top


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Bill VanderWyden

Rev. P. William VanderWyden, CFRE
President VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
Headquarters -118 Westchester Drive, Amherst, Ohio 44001
Toll-Free Phone: 888-245-5826 (888-Bill-Van)
E-mail: Bill@WydenYourHorizons. com
Web: www. WydenYourHorizons. com