Christian Philanthropy: The Challenges and Overcoming Them

Welcome to our first Philanthropy blog of 2024, a series in which we invite different voices to contribute to conversations about philanthropy, what this looks like and what it means to different people. This month, we are delighted to introduce Ruth Jackson from Stewardship – Stewardship connects Christians who feel called to give, and provides support in their giving.


At Stewardship we talk about being a place where those who are called to give connect with those who are called to go – what could be simpler? Yet our work supporting Christian philanthropists shows us that the act of giving is often far from straightforward. What are the challenges and how do we overcome them?


Your Giving Journey

If you are at the start of your giving journey, the task before you can be overwhelming. Especially if you’ve suddenly come into significant wealth, perhaps as the result of selling a business or an inheritance. As a committed Christian, you have a heart to give but perhaps have no idea where to start. The process of working out which areas you feel most called to support and then identifying which causes in those areas will steward your gifts responsibly and ethically for optimal impact is not easy!

We come alongside our major donors as partners, taking time to help them identify the charitable cause areas they feel most passionate about. They have the option of joining us on a Journey of Generosity, a mini retreat where they can take 24 hours out of their busy diaries to simply pause and reflect on their faith, motivations and aspirations for giving. This valuable time can be a very helpful first step for releasing our donors into a deep sense of joy as they give.

Once donors have a better idea of where they want to focus their giving, they can search our CauseFinder™ database with the peace of mind of knowing that our registered charitable partners; including 6,000 charities, 4,000 churches and 2,300 Christian workers, have been verified by our stringent due diligence process. If they already have a cause in mind that isn’t already on the database, they can nominate them to be added.


Philanthropy Fund

For our Philanthropy Fund donors, who are giving over £500,000 a year, we offer our pioneering Donor Advisory Board service, which allows you to involve your family, friends and trusted advisers in your grant making decisions but without the administrative burden of trusteeship. This collaborative approach not only makes the giving journey a less lonely one, it supports a more strategic and holistic approach to philanthropy.

That holistic approach, which increasingly blurs the boundary between investment and philanthropic initiatives, presents further challenges. How can you integrate your investments into your philanthropy without tainting the positive impact you want to create?


Social Impact Investing

Social impact investing allows you to allocate some or all of the balance of your donated funds to support the longer-term growth of your chosen causes, for example as a loan for a building project. Once the project is complete, any return on the investment can then be recycled for further philanthropic impact. Should donors wish to invest some or all of their balance in the hope of growing their fund for future philanthropy, they can either choose from three Stewardship investment portfolios or nominate their own investment preferences for us to consider for approval.

Stewardship leads by example by adopting the Bull’s Eye approach to its own investments, which aims to prioritise investments in frontline Christian ministries, followed by those that align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.


Donor Advised Fund

On a practical note, modern philanthropists are looking for greater flexibility and freedom in their giving. The traditional charitable trust or foundation model is cumbersome and expensive to run. Stewardship is an example of a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), the fastest-growing philanthropic vehicle due to the ease and convenience with which you can give tax-efficiently. Donors can manage their giving with an online account which applies Gift Aid, if applicable, automatically and makes it easy to find the information you need for your tax return. Another key feature of a DAF account which is particularly attractive to many of our Christian philanthropists, is the option to give anonymously.


Your Giving Impact

Once donors are up and running, their next question is ‘How do I know I am making a difference?’ Being able to understand the impact of their generosity is obviously crucial not only for ongoing motivation but also to help donors better understand how they can increase their support of their chosen causes going forwards. At Stewardship, we offer a suite of research options to help our donors evaluate the impact they are making.

While many of the challenges outlined are common to all philanthropists, our experience of working closely with Christian major donors over the last five years has shown us that their faith often drives extraordinary levels of generosity and a particularly deep-seated heart to make a real difference to the causes they care most about. Our job is to be an enabling partner in the process, taking care of the admin and helping them overcome their giving challenges. Acts tells us that ‘it is more blessed to give than receive’ Acts 20:35¹; the deep joy our donors often discover in their giving is certainly a powerful witness to just how significant that blessing can be.


About Stewardship

Stewardship exists to connect and serve Christian givers, workers, charities, and churches in the UK and beyond to steward their resources well and create Kingdom impact. Founded over a century ago by a small group of Christians who partnered to release generous gifts and financial support to Christian ministries, today, Stewardship helps over 30,000 people experience the joy of being generous stewards, giving more than £110 million each year in support of over 6,000 charities, 4,000 churches and 2,300 Christian workers.


¹Scripture quotation taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Biblica is a Stewardship charity partner.

The post Christian Philanthropy: The Challenges and Overcoming Them appeared first on Habitat for Humanity GB.


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