Update from Christian Stewardship Services
by Gerry Ebbers, Consultant for Stewardship and Development ◊
We’ve all heard the phrase, “hindsight is 20-20.” Considering the economic challenges that many schools faced during the recent economic meltdown, news from Christian Stewardship Services on how they intend to assist their partners with planned giving and the establishment of an endowment fund is welcome. Schools with endowment funds can weather economic storms by drawing on these reserves to meet budget shortfalls when income drops because of lower-than-expected government grants or unforeseen declines in enrollment.
CSS intends to develop a stronger working relationship with its partners by guiding them through the process of establishing a planned giving program. Specifically for schools, executive director Henry Eygenraam will unveil a workbook at the development conference March 2-3, 2010. CSS wishes to become a more important resource for their partners in their planned giving programs by working with them to develop joint plans, schedules, and assignment of responsibilities. The workbook is very practical and contains a number of templates that will shorten the time it takes for schools to move their planned giving program from idea to realization. Identification of and marketing to individuals for estate planning will continue, with CSS providing the expertise to assist your donors with wills and bequests.
As the general population becomes more informed about leaving a legacy to charity, it becomes increasingly important that each school have a staff member or volunteer who understands some of the complexities of planned giving, the language, and the tools that can help their donors. An endowment fund of a few million dollars is not an unreasonable expectation, but it takes years for planned giving activities to produce results. But if a school does not take steps now, it will be saying “hindsight is 20-20” again when a crisis makes board members bemoan the reality that they do not have the reserves they need to mitigate economic realities.