Flickr Creative Commons photo.

The roof leaked at the small church on Long Island.

Not only that, but AC kept going on the fritz.

If the congregation wasn’t dodging drops of water on rainy days, they were soaking in sweat during the hot summer sun.

The parish had launched a fundraising campaign to pay for the fixes, but it was slow going.

Until Planned Giving rescued them.

A few years prior, the diocese began working with me to establish a Planned Giving program for its 100+ congregations.

Over time, they significantly increased the number of bequests, or gifts by will, most of which were dedicated to the ministries at individual parishes.

One of those gifts came from a loyal member at that hot, leaky church. When she passed away, her $100,000 gift went to building a new roof and installing a state-of-the art cooling system.

Her legacy lives on during every service as people worship and pray in comfort.

The challenges wrought by Covid-19

Financial challenges are nothing new for churches.

Yet, for many congregations, the Covid-19 pandemic has elevated these challenges to a full-blown crisis.

LifeWay Research estimates 5% of churches will close permanently over the next year. That’s five times the typical annual closure rate estimated by The Christian Century.

The good news is that despite those sobering estimates, the vast majority of churches will survive.

Yet what will that survival look like?

Unfortunately for many churches, it will likely be a steady stream of cost-cutting and staff reductions that limit their ability to minister to their congregations and the communities they serve.

But that doesn’t have to be the fate of your church – especially if you start aggressively planning for the next inevitable crisis now.

Planned Giving: The key to financial stability

The path to long-term financial stability is Planned Giving. At the outset, Planned Giving encourages your donors to make gifts to you in their wills.

Many people who have deep and strong connections to their church are eager to find a way to support your work in the form of a significant financial gift.

But they need to know it’s an option. Lots of folks aren’t fully aware of Planned Giving and its potential benefits to your ministry, as well as to their estate planning.

Conversely, some churches focus exclusively on short-term fundraising and simply fail to ask for planned gifts – or they do not ask in ways that are consistent and proven to be effective.

Finally, in some instances, gifts are included in a person’s will but the church only becomes aware of it after the person has left this world. While these gifts are deeply appreciated, with a more sophisticated Planned Giving program, your church can get a clearer sense of what gifts have been committed.

This information can make a dramatic difference in your long-term financial planning. Perhaps more importantly, it allows you to show your gratitude to donors while they are still active members of your congregation. That will encourage others to join them.

Accelerate your Planned Giving 

Over the past two decades I have worked closely with churches and other nonprofits to create and grow successful Planned Giving programs.

All told, I’ve helped these organizations secure more than $100 million in new funds.

Time and again I have seen the power and potential of Planned Giving.

So I’m on a mission to make Planned Giving easy, accessible and affordable.

I’ve launched a new membership community: Planned Giving Accelerator.

In only about an hour’s time each week, you’ll learn everything you need to bring Planned Giving to your ministry. You’ll start identifying and engaging potential donors within two or three months. And many members will secure new commitments within six months to a year.

The proverbial roof is leaking at congregations across our nation.

Through Planned Giving, you can do more than merely patch it up. You’ll have a long-term fundraising solution that protects your church and your ministry for decades and generations to come.

Learn more about Planned Giving Accelerator