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Why Are "Greedy" Rich People Giving MORE than Everybody Else?


Jim is a tithing Christian who has a loving and supportive family. He just received a promotion and just met his 2nd grandchild who was born last week. As he is approaching retirement he reflects on his wonderful life full of travel, family, and great experiences.


This week at church, he was even able to give the biggest tithing check that he has ever given in his life. He takes the envelope, and writes a note, "to be given to the children's ministry for toys and a new playground". He even adds the name of his newborn grandchild on the envelope for good luck.


$50,000!


Over the course of the next year, Jim starts to notice that the playground is still in shambles. The children's toys are still the ones that were donated 2 years ago.


Nothing has changed and he is confused.


Then, when he met with his CPA that tax year, Jim also receives another surprise. His tax bill went up. He owes the IRS almost 20% more than he did last year because he didn't take advantage of the tax deduction that comes with charitable donations. The church didn't give him any receipts.


Jim is fed up and decides he is no longer going to church and he is no longer giving.


Jim represents a majority of Church goers. According to recent studies, the number of people who donate every year is declining.


Are Donations Really Declining???


In 2000, roughly two-thirds of American households gave to a charitable organization. In 2018, just under half of American households did. In other words, about 20 million Americans had stopped giving.

Over the years, churches have received a majority of the charitable giving but as the number of people who associate with the church is declining, so are their contributions...


But are they?


According to a recent article by VOX written by Whizy Kim "What happened to giving money to charity?" She makes the argument that Americans are not giving less, they are just giving differently.


Think about it.


When was the last time that you wrote off on your taxes that you gave a friend $20 to cover their lunch?


When was the last time that you contributed to a GoFundMe and asked for a receipt for taxes?


When was the last time that you donated some old clothes to Goodwill and itemized the clothing?


If you are like a majority of Americans, you have not. Therefore these types of gifts, typically under $25 go unreported when given directly to the individual.


Cutting Out The Middle Man


People are cutting out the middle man, that is to say, the charities and giving is going directly to those in need. Not only that, people are giving more than just money.


giving often was — and remains — non-monetary. People gave their time, skills, and advocacy. These aren’t tax deductible — does that mean they aren’t forms of giving? Are they a lesser form than giving money to a registered nonprofit? (Vox, 2022)

Unfortunately, giving your time, skills, and advocacy are not a tax write-off.


So as many Christians live out their Christian duties to serve the less fortunate, they are not receiving the benefits that those who do give monetarily are.


If you don't give monetarily, you will soon be at the mercy of those who are. In a recent research report, Barna stated that a majority of Christians don't know what tithing means. So if they don't know what it means, there is going to be little to no chance of them knowing how to use it for their benefit.


As much as we want to feel as if giving is strictly from the heart and that we should not receive any benefit from it, I want to direct your attention to Proverbs 3:27. "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is your power to do it."


The Bible forbids you from withholding good when it is due, even if the person in power is you!


One group of individuals who are not withholding their good from themselves are the ultra-rich.


Mega-Gifts and the Power Shift


Raise your hand if you have given a mega-gift?


Anyone...?


Okay.


Raise your hand if you know what a mega-gift is?




If you don't know, that is okay. I am going to help you out. There are two types of gifts, a principle gift, and a mega-gift.

It’s generally agreed upon in the sector that a principal gift begins at $1 million...Giving USA’s 2022 Report placed the baseline [of a mega-gift] at $450 million. (Bloomerang, 2022)

Now before you close down the screen and tell yourself that you will never make that type of donation, I want you to hold on, because these types of gifts, do affect you!


In my opinion, there is a silent power shift that is occurring in our country and it is happening right in front of our eyes. As the media, praises the rich for their mega-gifts, sometimes in the billions, it is causing a power struggle amongst givers like you.


Think about it.


If you are giving to your favorite church or charity, and a donor gives a large donation, who do you think has the influence to make decisions on where that money goes?


Yes.


The donor.


The non-profit, church or not, is not going to lose that large donation based on the views of those who are not contributing. We are seeing the ultra-rich take advantage of a few things.

  • The tax benefits by adjusting their gross revenue for business and gross income for personal

  • The ability to control the decisions and direction of non-profits that serve their own missions and not those of the collective

  • Fame and prestige in the community as a philanthropist who is giving to the less fortunate.

"In some ways, the increasing presence of billionaire money in nonprofits shines a brighter light on how they’ve long used giving to benefit their own reputations and expand their influence over society. “People aren’t unaware of the way the very rich use their philanthropy to clean up after their messes,” said Bernholz. “So there’s a degree to which [people think] ‘I don’t want to be that.’” (Vox, 2022)


The Erosion of Trust


When donors have the power to change policy, get tax benefits, and receive all the recognition, this only increases the amount of mistrust. Givers are under the impression that everyone is in this together but when people aren't given the recognition it can be frustrating.


People want to know that their donations are making an impact and not swept under the rug because it is not large enough.


At the end of the day, people want to make sure that their contributions are doing what they want them to do, which is to make the world a better place.


So what are they doing?


People are now taking their giving directly to the people in need. Unfortunately, with this strategy, they are losing all of the benefits that they can receive if they gave those same dollars to a 501(c)(3).


Just as America has experienced a wealth gap, we will start to see a values gap as well, if we are not willing to give to the charities and causes that we truly support.


Some of it has to do with an erosion of trust. “There have been a number of crises around institutions being unable to deliver, and sometimes a lack of transparency and accountability,” said Una Osili, the associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.


We see this lack of transparency in our churches as well.


So what can you do as an investor that may not have a mega-gift?


Giving More Strategically


You need a plan. When these donors give these mega-gifts, they are not giving and turning their heads. They are actively involved and make sure that they follow up on their donation to make sure they are doing exactly what they were supposed to do. Here are 3 things you can do now as an investor to receive more benefits from your giving and increase trust between you and your charity.


Donate your monetary contributions to a Donor-Advised Fund


A donor-advised fund is a giving account established at a local charity. You are able to make contributions to them and receive tax benefits in the same year. The great part is that you don't have to spend the money right away. So if there is a specific cause you want to give to, you can wait.


Document What You Give


It is okay that you give from your heart but that doesn't mean you can't track it. Giving to charities where you believe in their mission and you believe they are a good organization to steward your charitable giving in an impactful way, is a great way to make sure you receive the benefits of your giving


Get Involved

Many times we want to give and turn our heads. Being involved in the decision-making process and fully understanding the nuances of the organization can help you make better-investing decisions in the future. If the organization that you donate to, is not making the decisions that you agree with, allocate those funds somewhere else. The point of giving is to support the views and beliefs that align with the Word of God and your values. You need both. That is why you see political contributions very high. They are strategically backing those who are going to make decisions on their behalf. You have the power


"In some ways, the increasing presence of billionaire money in nonprofits shines a brighter light on how they’ve long used giving to benefit their own reputations and expand their influence over society. “People aren’t unaware of the way the very rich use their philanthropy to clean up after their messes,” said Bernholz. “So there’s a degree to which [people think] ‘I don’t want to be that.’” (Vox, 2022)

We all know that when it comes to riches, the ultimate currency is POWER. When we have a war like the one in Ukraine, it is less about money and more about power. With power, you can make decisions about the money, you can control the economy, you can control the resources, and you can control the people.


As Christians we are giving up our power when the Bible is empowering us to use it. Our good works should not be withheld from us.


It says in Matthew 6:1-4 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Hopefully, God is rewarding you for reading this blog. The one thing I want you to take away from this is that, the tactics of the rich are not evil. It is their intent.


So I trust that you as a tithing Christian, leverage these tactics and strategies so the power of the faithful, stays in power.


Don't let evil come in, and take over what God has provided for you.


If you need a plan for your gifting strategy, schedule a consultation with a Christian Advisors with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management and start making your donations count!


Thank you for reading!


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About the blog:


Many Christians struggle with the seemingly conflicting views about our faith and the pursuit of financial gain. They were taught that poverty was piety and that a lack of money was the only way to truly detach themselves from the love of money. Our blog debunks some of those claims, teaches you that you can be rich and righteous, and at the same time fulfill your obligation to tithe and give to the less fortunate. We are dedicated to helping you become cheerful givers by organizing your personal finances, providing investment tips to help you create wealth, and encouraging you to create a gifting strategy that will make your family and God proud.


Meet the Author:




A.B. Ridgeway, MBA (info@abrwealthmanagement.com) is the owner and Christian Financial Advisor with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management. With a decade in the finance industry, his goal is to give believers clarity around the most confusing topic in the Bible, money, and tithing. A.B. Ridgeway helps tithing Christians become cheerful givers but unlocking their money-making potential, so they can prosper and be the great stewards of the wealth God has entrusted them with.


This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of any description of securities, markets or developments mentioned. This is strictly for information purposes. We recommend you speak with a professional financial advisor.



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