Financial Planning

Chris Miller, President of Miller Management, is the host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleague, Mark Lail, President of the Nazarene Foundation.

Financial Planning

This month, we want to equip and educate you with data to help you engage and lead financial conversations at your church. In a way that isn’t overwhelming. We will also learn how churches can engage with foundations to give you financial assistance.

Our guest today comes from a foundation, so our host asks, what do foundations even do? Our guest lets us know there are different types of foundations for different needs. Granting foundations work on requesting money for a specific project. While other foundations (like the Nazarene Foundation) are more like middle-men to assist with gifts that don’t fit in the offering plate. They are the go-between between people and churches.

Let’s start with a few types of gifts that can be given, but you might not think about.

Planned Giving

Planning for giving in your will or other end of life documentation is where we will start. Legacy giving can be a big part of what Foundations can help facilitate. Most donors don’t believe the church is strong-arming them into giving away all their assets. Generally, it’s the donors reaching out to the church. As a pastor, it is certainly worth mentioning to your congregation that you are open to those kinds of gifts. The foundation suggests having a legacy service or session on this topic and has resources on their website: Legacy Ministry Sunday.

Charitable Gift Annuities

New type of gift as of January of this year – a gift of money that will benefit the church down the road. These gifts bypass their estate or probate and 60% or more go straight to the church. Learn more about CGA’s on the foundation’s website.

Donor-Advised Funds

This is a very popular choice our guest point out, like a charitable savings account. Money or assets can go into them, and gain investments, but aren’t designated yet. In the foundations case, they can give money to any 501c-3 whenever the donor is ready.

If you are the type that wants your name on a building, this is the savings accounts for you to use. Saving money over a long period of time and whenever you have enough, you can write the check. In this case, a charible receipt is given when the donation is made.


Our guest notices that baby boomers seem to like endowments, but not so much the younger crowd. Youngers want to see their money working now, whereas boomers don’t want all their money to go at one time. Endowments are made to bless ministries over years and years.

Miller Management has our own post about Non-Monetary giving and how our clients can track and thank their donors for those specific gifts.

Tools or Resources

The foundation’s site has more resources for individuals and churches. See their other non-cash gift resources and why an individual may want to give their non-cash gift through a foundation instead of directly to the church.

For many of these gifts, special forms (like 1099s) need to given each year-end. That is one reason why churches may want to utilize the help of a foundation. Or another outsourced company. Another thing the foundation can help with is Investment Management Accounts, utilizing your money for you while you wait until that project is ready to take off.

More Information

Since we don’t know where your financial numbers are, or you knowledge of these types of gifts, we hope this series can bless you in the education part of being able to make smart choices with your money and avoid unnecessary taxes. With the ultimate goal of being good stewards with the financial responsibility you have been entrusted.

Listen to the episode for specific instructions for younger families with kids, writing your will (and if you should keep it a secret), and how the foundation might be able to assist your ministry. Or visit to start the process of writing your own will if you don’t have one started, yet.

Coming Up

The resources available through Foundations as a church leader or a church member are extensive, and we encourage you to check them out. Join us next week as we continue with our Money and the Church series with a different denomination foundation.

Join the conversation, see behind the scenes, and learn more on our Instagram and X.

Special thanks to our guest, Mark Lail, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this first episode in our Financial Planning series.