The “Cash Only” Ministry
Raising more money for ministry whilepromoting good stewardship.
By ADAM MILLER, CFP®
Adam is a CERTIFIED FINANCIALPLANNER™ professional. As a trusted fiduciary and fee-only financial planner, he works passionately to help families preserve and manage their assets. By encouraging families to communicate their values, he helps them to make an impact, sharing their wealth and wisdom with the people and organizations they care about. Discover more about stewardship and impact at www.prestigeadvisors.com
There is this great little bakerythat my family loves. I couldn’t even tell youwhat it’s called because we refer to it as “TheCash Only Bakery.” I was quite embarrassedwhen I offered to take good friends to thatbakery…my treat! We ordered our food and Ipulled out my debit card. The woman behind thecounter seemed a bit weary saying it again as shetapped on the sign taped to the counter that said“CASH ONLY.” I don’t frequently carry cashand my friends were kind enough to cover thebill.According to the most recent data from the U.S.Census Bureau, the average American family hasabout 11% of their total assets in cash (thisincludes CDs, money markets, savings, cash andchecking). Everything else is in the form of non-cash assets…our stuff. Investments in publiclytraded stock are a big item and investments bybusiness owners in their own companies are atthe top of the chart as well. Real Estate is way upon the list too. These statistics represent allAmericans and Christian givers are no exception.When you really look at it, Christians in Americahave way more “stuff” than they have cash.Christians are charitable and many give to theirchurch as well as ministries they care about. Butthere is a problem; when ministries ask formoney, most expect a check.Look at the Bible. There are certainly examplesof folks giving money, but there are also verymeaningful gifts in the Bible that were not cash.We see the example of Abel giving the best of his crops. In the New Testament, MaryMagdalene pours out expensive perfume onJesus before his death. We see another examplefrom the book of Acts:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but theyshared everything they had… For fromtime to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone whohad need. Acts 4:32-35
According to the IRS, only about 25% of charitable giving includes gifts of assets whilethe vast majority are gifts of cash. Christians aregiving and being asked to give cash, a smallportion of our assets, while more abundantresources are being neglected.
The benefits of non-cash giving.
For folks towrite a check to a ministry, they have to havecash in the bank. The wealth of many families inyour community may be tied up in other assets.Even wealthy donors may have cash flow issuesand struggle with liquidity. Much of the realestate, family businesses, investments and otherassets that a family owns were purchased for acost that is much lower than today’s value. Inorder to turn these assets into more cash, theymust be sold and taxes must be paid. Thesedonors do not like the word ‘taxes.’Your donors only have so much cash to give andwhen you ask them to write a check, they have todecide what piece of the pie they are willing togive to your ministry. There is an obviousproblem with how we are raising money.
Helping your donors to give more.
Yourministry can take advantage of this obviousimbalance. If these donors give appreciatedassets they don’t have to pay the tax. Because