"Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received." 1 Peter 4:10 (NRSV)
Lutheran Planned Giving (LPG) has been in operation in the Eastern Synod since 1997, and across the entire ELCIC since January 1, 1999. The director is a part-time deployed staff person, devoting a total of 75% of his time to this ministry (50% Eastern, 25% ELCIC). In addition, there is a network of 12 volunteer counsellors who serve a geographic region of their respective synods. LPG exists to encourage and enable members of the ELCIC to make planned gifts to the church in all its expressions—congregational, synodical and national. LPG is not a fundraising campaign for any particular program or agency of the church. Instead, it is a ministry to our members and congregations. Donors choose the beneficiary of their gift.
It is not the business of Lutheran Planned Giving to offer advice to prospective donors. It is the business of LPG to make our members aware of the opportunities offered by planned giving and to provide them with the information necessary for informed decisions. Donors are advised to seek advice from professionals of their choice: lawyers, accountants, financial planners and tax experts.
Lutheran Planned Giving exists as a partnership between the National Church and the synods. The synods deliver programs, while the ELCIC provides resources and support.
Much of LPG's ministry is carried out by the corps of volunteer counsellors. These counsellors are responsible for promoting planned giving within their synod and assisting donors with the process of making a gift. They offer the following services to congregations:
- consultation on planned giving and congregational endowment funds; and
- seminars on planned giving to congregational groups, such as ELW, seniors, men's breakfasts, stewardship dinners, etc.
At the national level, LPG's role is to support the counsellors through:
- training and coordination;
- creation of promotional materials (e.g. brochures, articles, advertisements, presentations);
- maintenance of the LPG office with toll-free number (1.888.308.9461), fax line (1.905.634.2428) and email access firstname.lastname@example.org;
- response to direct member inquiries;
- record-keeping and reporting;
- technical services such as gift proposals, research, etc.;
- donor visits where justified.
A debt of gratitude is owed to the volunteer LPG counsellors who serve their synod by bringing information about planned giving to individuals and congregations.
- Most gifts in the table above are gift expectancies, i.e. they have not yet been received by the beneficiaries. It may be decades before some gifts are realized.
- Gifts are reported by the synod where the donor resides, not where the beneficiary is located.
- The ultimate value of the gifts received may vary greatly from the amounts reported above. In many cases the amount of the gift is expressed as a percentage of the donor’s estate. It is impossible to estimate the size of these gifts, so a "placeholder value" of $999 is used.
- An existing gift is one where the donor indicates he/she has already remembered the church with a planned gift. A new gift is one made since the advent of Lutheran Planned Giving. In rough terms, a new gift can be attributed to the activities of LPG while an existing gift cannot.
We give thanks to God for the generosity of the many members who have made planned gifts to their church. We pray that others would follow their example so that the mission of Christ’s church may be strengthened by their gifts.
Jeff Pym, Director