Live    Worship    Grow    Heal    Give

The Benefits of Charitable Giving

For over 17 years, I have worked as a fundraiser in the Episcopal Church. Over that time, I have witnessed so many wonderful examples of generosity, both from donors and leaders in Episcopal congregations and a wide variety of charities.  Without a doubt, Christians are called to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure, through feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and actively loving our neighbor. Yet beyond just the biblical mandates, I find it crucial for each of us to seek to imitate God’s own nature to provide support and share our resources with others. By joyfully responding to the grace we have received and passing on our blessings and gifts to others, we become more truly ourselves in the image of God.

One of the most practical ways we can each do this is by financially supporting our parishes and the many Episcopal institutions that do such transformational work in our world. Each person must determine for themselves the appropriate gifts that fit their context and provide the greatest benefit to all involved.  The work I do at ECF is most often as enabler and guide for giving, especially for planned gifts from individual estates or retirement assets. I work with donors directly who need to investigate the best ways to be generous and give most effectively. And I work with various leaders who seek to raise awareness to their fellow parishioners or constituents to understand how to become more generous and knowledgeable of various giving options.

Making gifts to charities could be quite simple, like weekly cash donations to a church, but sometimes can be very complex and life-changing. Eleven years ago, I worked with a disabled individual and her guardians to create a Charitable Gift Annuity provided a number of benefits to her, including a guaranteed lifetime income, in addition to an opportunity to make a very significant gift at death to her parish, without the burden of managing those assets. Recently this woman passed away after receiving many years of fixed income for herself, and now leaves a significant gift to her parish. That ultimate gift will enable capital improvements to her congregation’s buildings so that they are even more accessible to handicapped and other individuals. There are many other mutually beneficial gifts that can be planned in advance that can solve a number of complex family and circumstantial issues, while also providing future financial resources to support the causes and institutions that move our hearts.

Another significant part of my work is empowering leaders with innovative and helpful tools and guidance. For example, many congregations struggle to come up with fresh ideas and materials every year to encourage greater generosity. Parish leaders, both lay and clergy, are typically so over-burdened nowadays, especially when it comes to planning stewardship efforts and creating new materials to share with parishioners to inspire generous commitments. I can recall numerous conversations with frantic volunteer leaders who had suddenly been designated to oversee the annual giving campaign. They would have preferred to have started months before! Unfortunately, with limited time, they simply needed to get their stewardship effort in place right away. It has always been so heartening to share ECF’s new resources that provide templates for letters and other resources. And I consistently enjoyed being able to tell them those same online resources would enable them not only to store all of their documents for future reference, but also would provide easy to use calendars to guide their stewardship effort throughout the year-to-come.

I am so grateful that my work at ECF has enabled me to empower others and share my own gifts throughout the Episcopal Church and beyond.

There are two great opportunities coming up in the Diocese of San Diego in September for both individuals considering a gift and those parish leaders seeking to encourage more generosity among the members of their congregation.

For donors: September 14, 2023 –12noon-1:30pm at St Paul’s Villa, San Diego

Benefits of Charitable Giving through Estate and Gift Planning

Come join others from throughout the Diocese of San Diego for lunch and a brief presentation by James W. Murphy from the Episcopal Church Foundation on a variety of ways that you can make gifts to your Episcopal parish or other Episcopal Church charities that will also provide you and your family many other benefits.

To Register, contact Craig Smith at St. Paul’s Senior Services at either csmith@stpaulseniors.org or by phone (619) 239-6900 x3056


For parish leaders: September 16, 2023 – 10am-12noon at The Episcopal Church Center, Ocean Beach

Using the Resources of ECF360’s Comprehensive Fundraising Tools

Come join other parish leaders to learn the best ways to use the Episcopal Church Foundation’s comprehensive fundraising website ECF360 with James W. Murphy and Cn. Jason Evans. All registrants will receive a complimentary subscription for their parish to ECF360 from the Diocese. Register Here


By James W. Murphy, CFRE
Jim is Director of Stewardship Resources and Operations at the Episcopal Church Foundation, overseeing ECF’s financial resources programs: planned giving, donor solutions, including ECF’s Donor Advised Fund program, and ECF’s comprehensive giving resource, ECF360. He is also the author of two books: Faithful Giving-The Heart of Planned Gifts (2022) and Faithful Investing- The Power of Decisive Action and Incremental Change (2019), both from Church Publishing, Inc.

Category: #Finance, #Stewardship, #Uncategorized

Respond to this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Stories

Juneteenth: Receiving treasure paid for by others
June 11, 2024

Before we get into this piece on Juneteenth, it feels important to name that, though this feels appropriate for me to write in my role as Missioner for Community Vitality […]

EfM to Me
June 4, 2024

When I started EfM seven years ago, I wanted to know more about the Bible—specifically, the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. I had been involved in many Bible studies over the years, […]

Leadership in Collaboration: Pulpit Swap

A pulpit swap is an arrangement where clergy members exchange pulpits, meaning they temporarily switch roles and preach at each other’s congregations. This practice fosters unity and understanding between different […]

View All News
Receive the latest news.

© Episcopal Diocese of San Diego 2022. All Rights Reserved.