As you may or may not have heard, the 2018 Tax Reform Act that was passed at the end of 2017 could have massive implications on your church. The standard deduction for individuals increased from $6,350 to $12,000, and the standard deduction for joint filers increased from $12,700 to $24,000. This means that for many Americans they will move from an itemized deduction to the standard deduction because their deductions will not add up to the new standard. They will begin to notice that the items they were once able to deduct, including charitable contributions to your church, no longer matter, when it comes to their taxes at least.
It is time to get out in front of this issue and fast. If your congregation feels like their giving no longer matters, you can expect to see a considerable drop in your weekly giving in the years to come. Luckily, there are ways that you can combat this now and potentially even see an increase in your church's giving.
Communicate with your church early and often throughout these last few months of 2018 and in the early months of 2019 that their giving does matter. Put stories from the last few years in front of them of what God has done as a result of their giving. Once they see and hear how God is using their gifts for life change, they will be able to say “Yes, my giving does matter, and here is why...”.
Intentionally celebrate and connect the ROI (return on investment) of their giving. When people give to your church, they are ultimately investing in what God can and will do through the church.
Prepare an annual report and have a night at your church where you invite those that gave to review. Share the important elements of the report and then show all that you were able to accomplish throughout the year. This will allow you to celebrate all that God has done in your church over the previous year and cast vision for the future.
Automate your giving. Most people have started paying their bills online. Make sure that your givers can give through an online, recurring bank draft. Your automatic givers will be your most faithful givers.
Put together a strategic funding plan for your ministry. Make sure you know what specific steps your team will take to make sure that your vision of income becomes a reality.
Ultimately, you know that giving matters. You can make sure that your members also know just how vital their giving is. Make it your goal that your members see the value of their tithes so they can tell their tax preparer, “My giving does matter.”
If you want to hear more about The 2018 Tax Reform Act, you can listen to Episode 09 of The Ship Podcast HERE.