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Six Ways to Support a Missionary Without Cutting a Check
Guest Post by Eric Fleshood:
It’s been said that cash is king. That may be true in the commercial marketplace, but in the world of missionary support, the king can be overthrown. Here are six creative ways to support a missionary without writing a check:
- Give Collectables. Dolls, stamps, coins, guns, cars, furniture. Collections of various kinds may be given directly to a mission agency, depending on the gift acceptance policies of the receiving agency. How it works: Call The Great Commission Foundation (GCF) at 1-800-449-5454 to transfer ownership and arrange for the sale of the collection.
- Donate crops or livestock. Many farmers cannot deduct cash donations from their income taxes because they take the standard income tax deduction. But by donating grain, a farmer can reduce his income tax liability and still deduct the cost of growing that crop. This way he saves on federal and state income taxes, as well as self-employment taxes.How it works: Contact GCF to make arrangements for gifting the crop and to arrange proper payment from the grain or livestock market to your missionary.
- Give an obsolete life insurance policy. You get a tax deduction both for the policy’s fair market value and for the premiums paid after the policy is donated. You may also avoid estate taxes by reducing the size of your estate. How it works: Transfer ownership and beneficiary rights of the policy to GCF. You can have the foundation cash out the policy to help your missionary now or keep the policy in force so that your missionary receives a larger death benefit later.
- Donate a portion of appreciated property. You can redirect capital gain and income taxes away from Uncle Sam to your missionary. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, business interests, and real estate are among the eligible assets. Often it is possible to give a fraction of the asset if you do not wish to give 100%. How it works: Contact GCF to transfer ownership. GCF receives a share of proceeds upon the sale of the asset and uses them to support your missionary.
- Donate your primary residence. But wait! Where do I live? Don’t worry. Through a life-estate agreement you maintain the right to live in the house for as long as you like—just as if you owned it. How it works: Make a life-estate agreement with GCF. You get an income tax deduction and continue to live in your home as if nothing has changed. After you and your spouse pass away, GCF sells the property for the benefit of your missionary.
- Make a bequest. Add simple language to your will to make sure your missionary will continue to be supported when you are no longer able to write the checks. How it works: Ask your attorney to contact GCF for the recommended wording. Once you pass away, your estate makes a gift in support of your missionary.
These simple ideas can help Christians be more effective in supporting those on the frontlines of ministry with their God-given wealth, 91% of which is locked up in non-cash assets. For more information about these and other ideas, contact The Great Commission Foundation.
Eric Fleshood has served as a supported staff member with Cru for 20 years and is an associate with The Great Commission Foundation.