The Tithe: A Gateway for Philanthropic Engagement

I’m feeling proud of my six-year-old, Peter Dylan, this week. He’s just been scheduled to give a reading during the Easter Vigil Service on Sunday and it’s taking me back to a funny memory of the first time he spoke up at church.

Reverend Jason was in the middle of his homily, when he paused to ask, “Yes, P.D.? You have a question?” With his hand in the air, my four-year-old blurted out, “Can I take home Grumpy Bear today?” Reverend Jason didn’t miss a beat and got P.D. to agree that this was a topic to be discussed after church.

Later, I asked P.D. what he was talking about. It turns out there was a discussion during Sunday School about how one student would get to take home a massive five-foot tall stuffed animal – with a promise to pray with him all week – so that Grumpy Bear wouldn’t feel so grumpy.

While I was initially a bit horrified that my precocious child would interrupt a homily, a few deep breaths made me realize how thankful I am for his engagement with our church.

A First Look at Charitable Giving

I remember back to my youth, our church mailed home envelopes to not just the families who were members, but the individual children too. My mom gave me a $3 allowance each week, and it was understood that one of those dollars was meant to help our church! That was a rewarding ritual; I really loved giving my dollar each week and knowing that I was playing a part in helping our community.

Looking back, I realize that our church did a great job teaching us at an early age about charity and what it means to be philanthropic. Now, as a mother myself, I really enjoy involving PD in placing our family’s donation into the basket at church services.

Tithing, of course, is discussed very explicitly in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 14:22 we learn that God commanded of the Israelites: “You must without fail give a tenth of everything your seed produces in the field year by year.”

Many in our philanthropic community take to heart that biblical goal of tithing 10% of annual income. If a family’s income is $100,000, then $10,000 would be reserved for charity.

Until about ten years ago, I thought that most people would try to achieve their giving goals through this weekly ritual of envelopes in the collection basket. I now understand that your favorite house of worship is equally grateful when you plan out giving and make a larger donation at the beginning or end of the year.

Tips for the Tithe

This is where DonorsTrust can come in handy.

You simplify your tax records by funding your DonorsTrust account and then making distributions to your church or other favorite charities. You can even cut out the need for those envelopes or to remember to log onto your house of worship’s website to contribute your tithe, or regular gift, as other clients and even DonorsTrust staff have done. Set up a recurring grant from your DonorsTrust account and allow yourself more time to focus on other areas of your faith. Automating your tithe is great for givers who like to set it and forget it (or make sure they don’t ever forget it!).

If you’d like to make your gift anonymous, we are happy to help with that too.

Tithing and supporting places of worship has long been a great way to involve children in charity from a young age. At DonorsTrust, we can help by creating an account through which you and your young ones can organize regular tithing or even one off charitable gifts that you can assist and guide them through. My older son, Andrew, belongs to a local Catholic Church in Hillsdale, Michigan. As a young giver (under the age of 40), he was able to join DonorsTrust’s Novus Society and can begin donating and tithing from the account once he’s accumulated $5000 in assets there.

As Passover and Easter approach, I hope you enjoy connecting with your religious community. Keep in mind that your friends at DonorsTrust can be an ally to your faith and a steward of your tithe.

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  • Stephanie G. Lips

    Stephanie Giovanetti Lips joined DonorsTrust in 2018 as a philanthropy advisor with a general focus on planned giving. Before joining DonorsTrust, Stephanie led the events department at Atlas Network, leading its international expansion to organize annual events in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. She also took on major gift officer responsibilities and headed up its planned giving program. Stephanie has consulted on events and fundraising for organizations such as The American Spectator, the Future of Freedom Foundation, National Association of Chemical Distributors and Johnson and Johnson. Stephanie attended Marymount University and has a B.A. in English Literature. When not working for DonorsTrust or mentoring think tank leaders from within the Atlas Network or speaking on topics close to her heart, like planned giving, Stephanie loves listening to the giggles of her children and the panting of her dog, Scooby Doo.

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