We are grateful to our donor Guy for sharing his giving journey.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19
I am a lot more affluent now than my family was when I was growing up. So, it is often on my mind that as I earn more, I need to give more. I don’t want to be like the rich givers Jesus talks about in Mark 12, whose charity he finds underwhelming relative to the widow’s small but sacrificial giving.
Reminding myself that we can't take our 'treasure' with us when we die - 'to dust you shall return' Genesis 3:19 - also helps to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to giving.
While there are many areas of the Christian faith where there are differing points of view, the various stories told by Jesus seem to me to be pretty unambiguous on my responsibility to share a meaningful portion of what he gives me.
Giving made easy with my Donor Advised Fund account
I used to think charitable trusts were only for the uber-rich, but when a friend mentioned they could help with tax-efficient giving, I did a little more research online as to how they work and how hard it would be to set one up. I came across Stewardship, which I had heard about vaguely before; on further research it became evident that their Donor Advised Fund was exactly what I was looking for, that it would be unbelievably simple to set up, and cost-effective to run.
My account helps me with my giving because it allows me to build a balance of charitable funds via lumpy payments only a few times a year, and then to request my charitable donations out of that balance. Essentially, with a Donor Advised Fund, the money I put into it has ‘left my pocket’ - I can no longer use it myself, and HMRC recognises this for tax purposes - and I can ask Stewardship to support my preferred charities. This allows me to:
- Maintain a constant contribution level to all the charities I support. I don’t need to scale back my support at the times when I may have a lower income. I think this is important for smaller charities, where my giving is a larger share of their income, because having a regular and reliable income is paramount to their financial planning and allows them to focus on their work.
- Take my time to decide my giving at the end of each tax year; at that point I can donate the funds I choose and benefit from the Gift Aid being added to my account balance, but without having to rush to select the charities to which I want to allocate these funds.
- Have money set aside for the future to support any new or existing charities that may have an urgent need. Longer term, hopefully this will help me to continue supporting my chosen charities into my retirement.
Benefits of partnering with Stewardship
It was quite easy to choose Stewardship as their values align with mine, and my giving is mainly focused on Christian organisations; all the charities I support I either found were registered with Stewardship as a partner or they were able to be added relatively easily. I have found that Stewardship is big enough to be professional and has all the necessary online tools, while also small enough to be able to give close customer support, such as guiding a particular new charity through the process of getting registered with them.
My account is also helpful when it is time to complete my tax return. Previously, I would spend quite some time collating the different gifts I’d made throughout the year via credit card, direct debit, and standing order, trying not to miss any donations. Now, I can simply log into my account, and find all this information with a click of a button, making the process so much easier. As a plus, it also means that fewer organisations have my payment details, which means reduced admin when there are changes, for example, if I have new credit card details.
Support for small Christian charities
Stewardship has helped various small Christian charities I wanted to support to get set up as one of their eligible partners, which also had the benefit of allowing them to have access to a wider pool of Stewardship supporters.
The team also helped a small African charity I support; it had changed banks and therefore needed to update its Stewardship account. I discovered that the charity had some urgent funding needs to resolve a particular issue. When I called to explain the situation, the person I spoke to was understanding and supportive and able to help resolve the situation quickly so the charity could get the funds required within a matter of days.
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