Wyden Your Horizons!

The Newsletter of VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
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Toll-free: (888)-245-5826 - Email: Bill@WydenYourHorizons.com - Web: WydenYourHorizons.com

Providing Professional Giving Counsel
for Churches & Non-profit Organizations

Capital Fund Campaigns - Operating Budget Campaigns - Planned Giving
Wyden Your Horizons and Find The Joy of Generosity

December 2008 - INSIDE THIS ISSUE. . .

1. How to Maximize Your Fund-Raising Results in Tight Financial Times - part 2 Click
2. Sizable Tax Saving can be Provided through Year End Gifts to Your Church or other Charity Click
3. About VanderWyden Consultants, Inc. Click
4. Subscribe / Unsubscribe Instructions Click

In this issue of Wyden Your Horizons, we provide the second set of fund-raising strategies that can help you to maximize the gifts you receive to support the services, ministries, and programs of your church or non-profit agency. We provided the first five of these approaches in our last edition, which was published in October. If you are interested in reviewing those first five approaches, you can find all of our newsletters by going to WydenYourHorizons.com. The services you provide are especially vital in these times, because so many more individuals and families are struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes. By remaining vital and by using the approaches presented here, your organization can raise the funds it needs and thrive in the midst of tight financial times.

Also, since this is our end of the year edition, we also provide some suggestions for year-end gifts that can benefit your church and/or your favorite charities, and also provide you with sizable tax saving. 

At VanderWyden Consultants our mission is to enable individuals, churches, and non-profit organizations to Wyden their Horizons by finding the Joy of Generosity through faith-filled fund-raising.  If you start out with faith in God's providing, and ask your members to join you in giving in proportion to your blessings, and use creative fund-raising strategies, your church or non-profit organizations will be able to achieve your goals and your members will be able to find the Joy of Generosity.  In our ministries we use programs that involve no-pressure on individuals to give, but are rather "painless and pleasant." We have found that when members and donors give because they want to, rather than being pressured to give, they give wholeheartedly and give far more generously than if they had been persuaded into giving.  We are happy to share our learnings about the great ministry of spreading the Joy of Generosity through this newsletter.  We also are happy to share the insights of our readers in this newsletter. If you have any ideas you would like to share, or if you have any questions about our services, please don't hesitate to call using our toll-free number: 888-245-5826.

We have been greatly blessed during this past year to have worked with hundreds of wonderful people throughout the United States.  We have been inspired by your compassion, your warmth, your love, your devotion, your faith, your insights, your generosity and the joy with which you have shared of your blessings.  Especially in this most Joyous Season, we pray for the best for all of you, our readers, our colleagues in the marvelous calling of faith-filled fund-raising. May you and your families have a most blessed Christmas and holiday season, and may the New Year be one that is truly filled with faith, love, joy, peace, and hope.


Maximize your fund-raising Results in Tight financial times, continued from our October edition

Money is tight at this time. Not only does this statement refer to the fact that banks and lending institutions are hoarding their funds, and that individuals cannot secure loans to finance their businesses or to make large purchases, but it also refers to the fact that many individuals have less assets and/or lower incomes. It also means that money will be tighter for charitable institutions like churches and non-profit agencies. In times like this there is much more competition for fewer funds.  In a recession, charitable giving usually drops around 1.1 percent according to the American Association of Fund-raising Counsel.

But this doesn't necessarily mean that your church or non-profit organization has to be without the funds you need to provide your vital services and programs. It does mean, however, that your church or non-profit organization needs to be more intentional about how you raise those funds. This is not a time to be complacent, saying, "Oh well, we'll just have to go without because all churches and non-profits will be struggling during these times."  This statement and state of mind is patently untrue. As we always say, there is never a shortage of funds, but rather a shortage of faith in God's providing and a shortage of creativity. We are happy to share below the remainder of our 10 suggestions that can enable your church or non-profit to maximize the funds you raise so that you can continue to provide your vital services.

6. Provide Hands-on Opportunities

More and more donors want to be able to participate in providing services to the needy or to see the direct results of their giving. Think in terms of cause and effect, providing opportunities where donors can see that if they give, real improvements can occur. Strive to create opportunities where your donors can interact with those they are helping through their giving.

7. Be Exciting

The key dynamic in growing churches is that they are doing something exciting that improves the lives of their members or their community or the world. They see an urgent need and they immediately create a program or service to meet that need. As their donors see the exciting results of their giving, they give more generously. The excitement of effectively transforming lives can be contagious as individuals are inspired to see what God can do through their giving.

8. Don't be Afraid to Ask

Far too often we hear from pastors who tell us stories about one or more of their members, who has never given generously to their church, making a large donation to some other organizations – a college, hospital, or some other social service organization. When the pastor mentions this fact to the member and asks why this occurred, the member replies, "Pastor, you never asked." Often churches and non-profits that are struggling have habits of not asking their members to give in proportion to their blessings. They mistakenly believe that their members can't afford to give, when in fact they have never asked for appropriate levels of giving.  If you dare to ask your members to give in proportion to their blessings, and provide a convincing case that their giving can make a real difference in the world, you will find that they will respond far more generously than you might expect.

9. Remember that Giving Benefits the Giver

Jesus talked a lot about money and stressed that Giving benefits the Giver. Jesus did this because he knew that money is the major barrier to our trust in God, and that misunderstanding the purpose of money, as well as the misuse of money are great sources of unhappiness. On the other hand, Jesus counseled us to understand that when we respond to those who are in need by giving sacrificially in proportion to our material resources, we find meaning in our lives and sustenance for our souls.

Churches that are afraid to talk about money for fear of angering some members, severely neglect the mental and spiritual well-being of their members. Money is recognized as a major problem in many troubled marriages, and unhealthy attitudes about money are often great sources of unhappiness, discouragement, and depression. Especially in the midst of this financial cataclysm, you can never talk too much about money. Many are anxious and fearful at this time, because they have misplaced their faith in the false god of money, and as always following false gods leads to disappointment. Many still mistakenly believe that if they hoard what they have they will be saved.

You can provide your members with a great blessing in these trying times when you dare to talk about the place of money in our lives, and healthy attitudes about money. By doing so you can help your members get their lives in order, by re-ordering their priorities to put first things first, and having their behavior reflect their beliefs. You can never talk too much about money, when many have far more money than they need and still are unhappy, when many are hungering for meaning in their lives, and when there continue to be millions of individuals who are struggling to survive throughout the world. Not only will this talk about money and proportional giving benefit the recipients by providing them with vital resources to meet their urgent needs, it will also enable your donors to find purpose and fulfillment and to have happier, more whole lives.

10. Thank Your Donors

Individuals who are thanked are much more likely to give again. Promptly send thank you notes to new donors. Your regular donors also need to be thanked. Send monthly statements of gratitude to your regular donors indicating how their giving has made a difference in the world.    

If you use these approaches consistently with integrity to help individuals to understand the urgent needs in our world, and that their giving can make a real difference in the world, you will Wyden their Horizons, and in the process Wyden the Horizons of your organization in terms of how many people you can help. Top

 Sizable Tax Saving can be Provided through Year End Gifts to Your Church or other Charity 

Year-end giving can enable you to save significant amounts on your 2008 taxes, and at the same time benefit your church and/or favorite charities.
Our United States Tax laws encourage charitable giving.  If you itemize and make your gift by December 31, 2008 you can significantly reduce your income tax for 2008.

Of course, charitable giving is not just about financial considerations, it enables us to add meaning and significance to our lives by giving of our our resources to improve the world.  Here are a few illustrations of the ways you can make a charitable contribution, and also save on your taxes. (Note: The below illustrations are not professional tax recommendations. Always consult with a professional financial consultant before making any major charitable contribution.)

!. Gifts of cash -

This is, of course, the easiest way to make a contribution. If you mail your contribution, make sure your envelope is post-marked by December 31, 2008. Even if it is received during the first week of 2009, it will still qualify for a 2008 deduction. If you itemize, your gifts of cash are fully deductible for federal income tax up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. If your total gifts exceed this limitation, the excess may be carried forward for tax purposes for up to five additional years. For example if you make a gift of $10,000, and you are in the 33% tax bracket, you can save $3,300. If you in a higher tax bracket and/or if your state also has an income tax and gives credits for charitable gifts, you can save even more. 

2. Gifts of Stock -

At the end of the year, it may be a wise time to consider a gift of stock. Many people have stock that has depreciated in value this year, but there still may be significant tax reasons for making a stock contribution. These reasons include the tax deductibility of the gifts, as well as to off-set realized gains. Even if you only have stock that has depreciated in value, you may still be able to receive tax savings for the loss. If you have been fortunate to have stock that has appreciated in value, you have a double savings, because you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value, and you receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock on the date of the gift.  For income tax purposes the value of such gifts may be deducted up to 30% of adjusted gross income, with an additional five-year carry forward.  Remember never to cash in your stock to make such a gift, it must be transferred to your church or charity to qualify for the tax deduction.

3. Gifts of Real Estate -

If you have owned a vacation home, or a farm, or acreage, or other real estate for a considerable length of time, a charitable gift of real estate can provide significant tax advantages. Whether the property has increased or decreased in value you may still benefit from such a contribution.  If the property has increased in value over the years, if you sold it, you could incur sizeable capital gains tax. If on the other hand, you transfer it to your church or the charity of your choice, you save the Capital Gains Tax, and can take a deduction for the full fair market value of the real estate. If you own your own home, you may consider making it a gift to a charity, reserving the right to continue to live in the home, and if applicable, the life-time of your spouse.  With such an arrangement, you will be entitled to a current income tax deduction for a portion of the fair market value of the property.

4. Gifts of Life Insurance -

A life insurance policy that is no longer needed, may be a great resource for a year end charitable gift.  You need to name your charity as both the owner and beneficiary of the policy, to receive a charitable deduction.  If the policy has a cash value, you can take a charitable deduction approximately equal to the cash value of the policy at the time of the gift. In addition, if annual premiums are still due, you may consider to continue to pay them as they may become tax deductions each year. If you have a paid up policy, you can take a deduction of the value of the policy at the time of the gift.

5. Life income gifts - 

You can significantly increase your income if you make your gift of cash or stock in the form of a "Life Income Gift."  Through a life income gift you can transfer your assets now, and continue to receive income from the cash, stock, or other asset contributed. You can also receive a significant tax contribution deduction for 2008 if you transfer your assets to your church or charity by December 31, 2008.

6. The major tax deduction for those who are 70½ has been reviewed -

A portion of the recent $700 billion dollar stimulus package could actually stimulate increased charitable giving for non-profit organizations and churches. The new legislation (H.R. 1424, The Financial Rescue Package) includes a two-year extension of the IRA Rollover provision. The provision will be made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008, and will apply to gifts made from that date through Dec. 31, 2009.

The provision exempts from taxable income any funds transferred (“rolled over”) from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a charitable organization. The following limitations apply:
bulletThe donor must be age 70½ or older.
bulletThe cap on annual IRA rollovers is $100,000.
bulletThe contribution must be a direct gift to a charity (no planned gifts).

This means that individuals may continue to be able to donate up to $100,000 per year to churches and other charitable institutions from their required IRA distributions and have these funds be exempt from taxes as long as the donors are 70½ years old. It also means that couples may donate up to $200,000 tax free from these funds. Be sure to consult with a professional financial advisor before making such a transfer, to make sure that your gift can provide you with this tax advantage, and provide the assistance to your church or charitable organization that you desire. 

All of the above illustrations are not meant in any way to be official tax rulings or professional recommendations. Always consult with your professional financial advisor before making any major contribution. Top


VanderWyden Consultants provide professional fund-raising guidance to non-profit organizations and churches throughout the United States who require 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. If you would like to meet with us, since we provide our services throughout the United States, we can be available to meet with your leadership. If your church would like to host one of our Professional Workshops for churches or non-profit organizations in your area, we can provide a discount in our services for your church.

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 15 - 45%. Top


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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