Congress extends IRA charitable rollover through 2014
Batts Morrison Wales & Lee
Once again, a tax break that allows seniors age 70½ or older to donate money from their IRAs directly to charity has been extended by Congress. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation. This provision, which allows seniors to transfer up to $100,000 tax-free and count it toward their required minimum distribution, expired at the end of 2013, but it has been reinstated effective back to Jan. 1, 2014. Your donors must act quickly as this opportunity expires again on Dec. 31. Mike Batts, CPA, of Batts, Morrison, Wales, & Lee, P.A. has provided this excellent review of the law and a sample notice for your donors.
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2 ways to stretch your church communications budget in 2015
By Mark MacDonald
It's that time of year. A lot of churches have already established their budgets for 2015, and most want to do more with the limited funds that are budgeted. When it comes to church communications, it sounds easy. But there are so many tools to communicate, and each one takes time to create the appropriate content. If you're trying to reach everyone in the ways they all like, it becomes expensive. Here are two ways to stretch your church communications budget in the new year.
10 nonprofit employment mistakes
The NonProfit Times
Anyone can misstep when hiring and then managing an employee. Pressure to provide services, along with a need for transparency and accountability, can lead to mistakes that are specific to nonprofits, both during and after the hire. Siobhan Kelley, an attorney and employment risk manager with the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group, wrote that nonprofits can help eliminate or reduce risks by being aware of the top 10 nonprofit employment mistakes.
Related Article: 5 essential ingredients for making a smart hire
5 end-of-year financial tips for churches
Church Tech Today
Did you know that 30 percent of annual giving happens in December — and 10 percent occurs in just the last three days of the year? Donations to churches and other non-profits peak the last day of December every year from noon until 7 p.m., and the average gift size spikes up to 50 percent at year's end. Churches are scrambling at this time of year with Christmas cantatas and end-of-year budgeting, but it's also the perfect time to appeal to your church community's holiday spirit and make some financial changes moving into 2015.
Your church’s website is a tool that’s only as good as your communication strategy.
This 10-min evaluation exposes what BeKnownForSomething.com, a national leader in effective Church Communications, recommends for your church.
FCC rules against church on closed captioning
National Religious Broadcasters
The FCC recently denied a church’s request for a waiver from closed captioning rules, shedding more light on the agency’s approach to determining what may truly be an “economically burdensome” situation. In 2011, the FCC reversed approximately 300 broad closed captioning waivers and required those exempted to re-apply for more thorough case-by-case review.
Retirement plan investment choices — less really 'is' more
Less is more when it comes to the fund choices your church offers its employees in their 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans. For employees enrolled in these employer-sponsored retirement plans, too many choices result in confusion and investment paralysis. The goal of a retirement plan is to provide a way for your employees to save and invest to produce adequate income for their future retirement.
Excitement of a growing church can quickly turn to frustration as growth constraints can limit the momentum curve leaving leadership teams with a difficult decision, how to best facilitate future growth: add more services, start/add a satellite campus, build bigger…MORE
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Two-thirds of Americans plan to maintain steady giving by year's end
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Slightly more than two-thirds of Americans say they plan to give at least as much to charity in 2014 as they did the previous year, according to a new national survey conducted by the Polling Institute at Saint Leo University. The level represents an increase of eight percentage points over the comparable in 2013, when 59 percent of Americans said they intended to match or exceed their donations from the previous year.
Pastors who podcast
Today, Christians who want to "imagine being in church" have more options than ever. In particular, they have podcasts. Whatever your theology, your denomination, your interests, or your appetite for cursing, there's a Christian podcast for you in 2014. It's not surprising that Christian culture has produced such a rich variety of podcast programming. There have always been ambitious ministers eager to spread their messages beyond the four walls of their individual churches, and radio and television ministries have thrived since the beginning of those media.
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Research: Most Americans says Christmas should be more about Jesus
New LifeWay Research data says that most Americans believe Christmas should be more about Jesus. Also according to the report, a little more than half (56 percent) agree with the statement, "God's son existed before Jesus was born in Bethlehem." Three in 10 (29 percent), however, disagree. Fifteen percent said they weren't sure.
A shift in demographics at a church in Harlem
The New York Times
Of First Corinthian Baptist Church‘s 8,000 members, senior pastor, the Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr. estimates about 3 percent are white, including a staff minister. This trend defies the racial norms of American Christianity. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called church time on Sunday morning "the most segregated hour" in a racially divided nation. A half-century later, the situation is somewhat more complex, if not drastically different. Black Christians commonly belong to congregations led by white clergy members, from urban Catholic parishes to Sun Belt evangelical megachurches. The traffic, however, has almost never run in the other direction.
Gay Christians choosing celibacy emerge from the shadows
The Washington Post
When Eve Tushnet converted to Catholicism in 1998, she thought she might be the world’s first celibate Catholic lesbian. Having grown up in a liberal, upper Northwest Washington home before moving on to Yale University, the then-19-year-old knew no other gay Catholics who embraced the church’s ban on sex outside heterosexual marriage. Her decision to abstain made her an outlier.
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Cultivating a mindset of generosity
Faith & Leadership
Every caregiver knows the challenge of guiding a preschooler from holding onto "mine" to sharing with others. Leaders often face a similar challenge with our institutions. The instinct to grasp and hold is very strong and yet ultimately self-defeating. We face these concerns head-on two times a year, when building a budget and when raising money. No matter the specific time of year, the season for building a budget frequently involves fighting for your fair share. But, is it possible to cultivate a mindset within our congregations and institutions that would reframe the stresses of the budgeting and fundraising season?
Why innovative leaders aren't the same as great leaders
Leading a team of innovative people is not about the genius of one person, but rather about overseeing the process of what Linda Hill, professor of business administration at Harvard University, and her coauthors call collective genius. "Leaders can draw out the slices of genius in each individual and assemble them into innovations that represent collective genius," they write. Naturally, this requires some sense of cohesion, which is why establishing a clear purpose is important.
The single best way to lead change in a very traditional, old or resistant setting
One of the great consistencies in almost two decades of church leadership is change. We've changed everything, moving from three very traditional, dying mainline churches to a vibrant church that's reaching unchurched people. And in between, everything has changed: Our locations, our structure, our worship, our governance, our team and even our denominational affiliation. So ... is a church or organization ever too old, resistant or traditional to change? Is there a secret ingredient that can help you lead change in a traditional context far more effectively? There is.
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