But I can barely pay my bills! How can I possibly give?

The answer is at the same time both simple and complex – in a thousand different ways (and maybe more than that)!

Many people misunderstand what true generosity is and only think of traditional giving, money. For a full explanation of the important differences, See What About Giving and Generosity? Some of the best and most generous giving comes from the hands and the heart rather than the wallet.

But even beyond that, many people give unwisely because they give out of what is scarce and fail to give out of what is often available and better to give from a tax-wise perspective. The vast majority of giving in the U.S. is from cash, from available bank accounts. But the vast amount of wealth in this country does not lie in traditional bank accounts but, instead lies in retirement accounts [401(k)s, 403(b)s and traditional IRAs], investment accounts, and real estate. By giving out of cash, people limit the availability of money that can be given and they lose the potential tax benefits of giving appreciated assets like stock and property. Appreciated accounts are often highly taxed upon transfer to a person at the death of the owner, but all of that taxation can be avoided by a donation or bequest to a registered 501(c)(3) charity such as The Idlewild Foundation or Idlewild Church. For more details on the potential tax benefits of giving from appreciated investment accounts, retirement accounts and property, see Tax-Wise Charitable Giving and speak to your financial adviser.

Also, you should be aware that by giving at, or especially before, your death, you may give a witness to the strength of your faith. By naming Idlewild as the beneficiary of a bequest, as the beneficiary of a retirement account, a bank account or an investment account, you are sending a clear message of you faith to your loved ones, a message that passes tax free!

Ask the administrator or manager of your account to send you a beneficiary designation form, and complete it with the proper legal name of Idlewild Baptist Church. Doing that before your passing allows the funds to pass tax-free for kingdom work. However, you should consult your estate planner or financial adviser first because your estate plan or financial plan may have special needs.

In fact, in future articles we will be discussing ways to donate now but keep the income of certain investments during your life, a type of trust called a Charitable Lead Trust. The tax laws are complex, but we can help and get you to an adviser who is skilled and capable to help you make the best decisions for yourself and for the kingdom of God. If you would like to learn more about how you can help Idlewild or The Idlewild Foundation, please feel free to call. To speak to someone, call (813) 264-8713.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus.  He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016.  He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.