Episode 6 | The Importance of Developing a Plan for Legacy Givers
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We’re excited to interview, Kim Garrett of Victory Health Partners, as we talk about building a plan for legacy givers in your church.
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Katie Allred: Welcome to the Church Communications podcast, a podcast that celebrates church communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communication strategy needs. This podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of ChurchCommunications.com.
Katie Allred: Welcome to Church Communications. I’m Katie Allred, and as always, my friend Joshua Taylor is here with me.
Josh Taylor: Hi, Katie.
Katie Allred: Today we are talking with our special friend, our good friend Kim Garrett.
Kim Garrett: Hi, hi.
Katie Allred: She is the director at Victory Health Partners. We’re just so happy to have you with us. Thanks, Kim.
Kim Garrett: Well, thanks for having me. It’s always fun.
Katie Allred: Yeah, we’re just big fans of you, and we know that you know a lot about the subject that we’re talking about today.
Josh Taylor: Yeah, so Kim, we had you here because one of the things that we want to talk about is we’ve got the legacy givers, and for a lot of churches, that’s going to be our boomers, people that have really been in the habit of giving. They’ve built a great retirement for themselves or something like that and they’re thinking about what happens with their legacy, what happens when they’re no longer here. They’re thinking about inheritances. They’re thinking about wills and different things like that. One, you are a rock star when it comes to engaging donors because you are the director of a nonprofit that takes zero federal funding. I love what Victory Health Partners do. Just to give our listeners an idea of what you guys do, you provide really great healthcare for uninsured adults on the Gulf Coast here.
Kim Garrett: That’s right.
Josh Taylor: You guys are trying to expand that vision out nationwide because healthcare is obviously an issue here in our country and a very hot topic in our country. You guys are really solving a real need in the community, but you guys take no federal funding. You’re completely run on donor dollars. You are really dependent on what you can do based on people giving. You really have a talent for that and have done a great job with Victory and other organizations that you’ve been a part of.
Katie Allred: Yeah. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do at Victory Health?
Kim Garrett: Yeah, so I’m the director so I kind of wear two different hats of monitoring and working with the operations of the clinical side. Really, I mean, that’s an easy, easy job because we have such a great team and leadership within all the clinics areas to where I’m just there to support, encourage, be there when they need me, but I mean, the team is just phenomenal. They are constantly looking for ways to improve, increase efficiencies, and they just have a heart for the mission. I mean, and that’s key for any organization. I mean we have … Every person there has a heart for our patients, for the mission there [inaudible 00:02:44]. That’s really just key for our organization.
Kim Garrett: Then on the development side, we have a budget of about 1.3 million where we need to raise more than half every year. We need to have a diverse donor base where we’re not relying on one source of funding, and like what Josh says, we don’t receive any government funding so that we can care for the patients that we need to in that way, so physically, emotionally, but then also spiritually. With those federal funds, you just can’t do it that way by receiving those dollars. We built a strong, strong donor base and a donor cycle so that we’re constantly trying to acquire new donors. We’re looking at how we cultivate them, how we solicit them. Then also moving into the stewardship piece, which is a lot of the legacy that we’re going to be talking about. It’s an area where I’m always learning, always finding new opportunities to grow and to just keep getting the word out. It’s challenging, but like my boss always says, we go home tired, but we go home blessed, for sure, every single day.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. What we want to talk about is real practical ideas because I think this is something that a lot of churches don’t think about, but I was talking to my parents even just a few weeks ago and we were talking about wills and just … They’ve really done a great job of building wealth over their lifetime, investing in the right things, saving their money, not having a lot of debt. They’ve done a great job. They’ve been blessed to have jobs where they got great 401ks and those kind of things. They’re talking to me about some of their plans with it. I know even for them, and honestly I didn’t even know you could do this, but a good portion, I think actually one of their 401ks is going to go to their church when they pass away, which is going to be a very generous gift to their church.
Kim Garrett: That’s significant.
Josh Taylor: I think a lot of churches don’t think about engaging their church community in that way. I think a lot of people don’t even think about that they can do that with their retirement.
Kim Garrett: Sure.
Josh Taylor: What are some practical ways that you are engaging people or have thought about engaging people with Victory Health that really could apply to churches? Because for you guys it’s a lot of the same donor base.
Kim Garrett: Right, exactly. I think it’s just having it be a part of the conversation. We think of tithing. We think of our monthly contribution or this special contribution to this or that, but just have it be a part of the conversation and to kind of take away some of the fear because you can … It’s something that can be confusing that people don’t really understand about. It can be intimidating for people because it’s the tax laws, things change every year. There’s just a lot of different options, which is good, but it can also be really intimidating for folks, but I think just having … If you have some of those professionals within your church, I mean, not that we need another committee, but to bring those people around so that you have the professionals.
Kim Garrett: That’s something where I know my limitations … I mean, I’m not a CFP. I’m not a CFA or a lawyer, but looking, but we’re … For Victory, we’re gathering a team of those people so that if someone comes me and says, “I want to make a planned gift for Victory, I want to do an annuity or something,” and they don’t already have those people in place, I can say that Victory has a team of people who are close to the mission, close to the vision, but then they are also professionals and leads within the field, that then I can refer them to and they can work through anything through their will. They can set up that gift, all the parameters. I would think just looking within your church, your congregation, and seeing who are those people that you can lean on their wisdom, because they’re the ones who know all the rules and regulations and the language to put into their will.
Kim Garrett: People don’t already have that relationship set up. I think pulling together that team for planned giving and then also just have it a part of the conversation. As you talk about tithing, as you talk about leaving a legacy, include it because you think of just their stewardship and the impact in the kingdom that you can make through a charitable gift, I mean it’s huge. Those gifts, they don’t come frequently. I mean that’d be great if they did, but when those gifts do come, I mean they are significant. You certainly want to have a plan. You certainly want to include that. Then it’s also just stewarding your congregations because it’s just showing them another opportunity that they can impact the kingdom. That’d be some practical things.
Josh Taylor: That’s really great advice. I didn’t think about that, but we have plans in place for … We’ve been talking this season about online giving and giving in general, and one of the things that we talk about is having that immediate call to action where online giving really helps with that. What you’re saying is be prepared when somebody wants to. Don’t wait for somebody to want to donate their retirement to the church, put the church in their will or something like that. Have a plan in place so that when they’re ready to do that, it’s super quick, it’s super easy and super convenient for them to do that. You’ve got people in place for them to talk to. I think that’s really great.
Katie Allred: Right. I think that’s making relationships too with lawyers and those kinds of people in your congregation. They probably already exist, so like just finding the right people, financial advisors [crosstalk 00:07:58].
Josh Taylor: They will probably donate their time to help.
Kim Garrett: Oh, sure. Sure. That’s something … Everything with development, with giving, you want to make it easy for the donor.
Josh Taylor: Right.
Kim Garrett: If they don’t have somebody that’s like, “Well, here, here’s some … ” Have some collateral material, have some information of like how the church utilizes, like the impact it would make on the church, and then also language and different resources that then they can take and put those things into place. Yeah, as easy as you can make it, as prepared as you can be, the better.
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Katie Allred: Yeah, we can’t wait.
Josh Taylor: How do you educate them that they can even do this?
Kim Garrett: I would have it on your website, just wherever, whenever you’re talking about giving, tithing. Just, I think, especially for the faith community, I mean it’s something that you can really talk about with legacy, with heritage within the family, that it’s so much more than just the monetary, the gift, that it’s something, it’s like, what does your family stand for? What’s the legacy that your family wants to leave that’s more than just …
Katie Allred: Right. What do you want to be known for?
Kim Garrett: Yeah, what do you want to be known for? It’s such an awesome tool that you can bring the entire family together where you’re bringing in the kids, the spouses, the grandkids. It’s like, this is who our family is. One of the tools that we do that is through our giving, but then also it’s how we serve, how we spend our time together. Spending our money is a part of that, so just being good stewards of what God has given us. It really could be a neat ministry within the church where it’s so much more than just the gift. The gift is certainly significant, but then also like, what’s your legacy within your family?
Katie Allred: Right. I worked at a mega church previously and we actually had a foundation set up in place just to handle that specifically, with financial advisors and retirement lawyers that would handle writing your will and those kinds of things.
Kim Garrett: Sure.
Katie Allred: It was a ministry of itself really, just to give people that final guidance on how do I handle retirement in general, but also how do I steward my retirement really well? I think that that’s something that churches don’t do, I don’t know, a good enough job of just educating people, like you were saying, about retirement and about what their legacy is going to be.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I mean, that’s a great way to maybe educate people too is having … If you have an attorney or a couple of attorneys that are in your church that want to serve the church some way, maybe one of the ways that they can serve the church is say, “Hey, we’re going to help the people in your church do their will,” which could save them 300 to 500 bucks to write a will.
Katie Allred: Right.
Kim Garrett: Yes.
Josh Taylor: Most people probably don’t have a will.
Katie Allred: Right. [crosstalk 00:11:36]
Kim Garrett: A lot of people don’t. A lot of people don’t have savings. They don’t have wills. A lot of people aren’t planning for retirement. Finding those financial advisors, finding those people who can really helping you think about the impact that that makes on a family, but then that might be giving them the ability to have a retirement, but then also to have the ability, no matter how big or how small, to give back.
Josh Taylor: Yeah, and to educate them using … There’s all the financial classes that you can offer to help people get out of debt and steward their finances. A part of that is often, what do you do now that you’ve paid off your debt and you’re investing? What do you do longterm? The legacy is often a part of that. It may be worth having your church go through that either on Sundays as part of your sermon series or you offer a class on it or something like that.
Katie Allred: Right.
Kim Garrett: Sure.
Josh Taylor: Have financial advisors be a part of that to help educate and let people know. Obviously, you want to be careful not to let it be a sales thing.
Kim Garrett: Right.
Josh Taylor: But I think most of the financial advisors and attorneys in your church just want to serve. It’s not about sales for them. It’s about being able to give back to the community.
Kim Garrett: Right.
Josh Taylor: Utilize them in that way because I think that’s a unique … Instead of handing them a shovel and telling them to go do landscaping, use the talents that are in your church and see how you can utilize.
Kim Garrett: Right.
Josh Taylor: I think that’s a great way to utilize those people.
Kim Garrett: Absolutely. Then it frees up the church where … I know my limitations. I’m not a CFP. I’m not … But then it’s the organizations as a church to really steward those relationships and to get those relationships through good communication, acknowledgement, transparency, to where you have that donor base who is at that level with that relationship where you have the respect and really the right to be able to talk about these significant gifts. That can be something certainly with the pastors and just having people engaged, but yeah, but then when it comes to the time where it’s actually talking the language and getting stuff in place, having that team of professionals to get everything taken care of would be great.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I think that’s so practical. I think that that’s something that our church leaders can really get on working on this summer is what is that team going to look like so when somebody comes to us and say, “You know what? I want to make the church a part of my will,” do you have that team? Do you have phone numbers in place that they could call or people that you can put in touch with them to say, “Okay, let’s get that done for you,” because I think that that’s something that is important to have an immediate call to action while that’s on people’s hearts and minds.
Kim Garrett: Sure.
Katie Allred: Kim, what do you do to thank your givers? You’ve been doing fundraising for a long time. I know it’s like something that you love. What’s something that you’ve done that you think has really stood out to you for thanking people?
Kim Garrett: Oh, gosh. I try to thank at least five donors every day. Usually I’ll write like a handwritten thank you note, but it will be calling.
Katie Allred: Ah, yes.
Kim Garrett: It’ll be having events to where we bring in a patient. Every year we have our annual event and we bring in patients who share their testimony, which always blows my mind because it’s like their personal health journey and they’re standing up in front of 500 people sharing and it’s just amazing. Something that I thought was neat and it wasn’t anything extravagant, but for that event we usually have anywhere from 500 to 520 people. We had a thank you note, a patient testimony thank you note at every single person’s seat, handwritten out. Each one was unique at each table.
Kim Garrett: The first year we did it, people were like really amazed by that. It took time. It took effort, but just the way that we can connect people with the patients and the ministry just to say thank you, because we get to see it every day. We get to see lives change. We to see people healed, restored, the transformation that comes from the counseling, but then also people experiencing the healing love of Jesus. I mean that’s just incredible. People who’ve come to faith, who come back to faith, who are introduced for the first time, but then also just to have that hope of being healed, like we see that every day.
Katie Allred: Right.
Kim Garrett: We want our donors who were such a huge part of that to really feel it just like we get to. We bring people in for tours to see it firsthand. Yeah, any way that we can thank, we always do, but it doesn’t have to be anything big.
Katie Allred: [crosstalk 00:16:07]
Kim Garrett: It’s handwritten thank you note. It’s a phone call, a story.
Josh Taylor: Cool. Well, Kim, thanks so much for sharing. I think that that’s very practical advice and especially for something that a lot of us don’t really think about is a great way to engage people and let people leave a lasting legacy. Thanks for sharing that.
Kim Garrett: Yes, of course.
Josh Taylor: To our listeners, if you guys are looking for a really great organization to be a part of, check out VictoryHealth.org because they’re doing some really great things on the Gulf Coast. They’re trying to get this vision to catch across the United States to take care of our healthcare problem here and make sure that people who are uninsured have access to really great healthcare. They’re doing that here on the Gulf Coast and doing some cool stuff. Check them out, VictoryHealth.org. Kim Garrett, thank you so much for sharing some practical advice on this subject for us.
Kim Garrett: Thank you.
Katie Allred: Yeah, thanks Kim.
Kim Garrett: Awesome, anytime.
Katie Allred: You can find us at ChurchCommunications.com or wherever you get your fine podcasts and thank you for joining us today.
Katie Allred: Our friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous. If you tweet @_kindred, again, that is @_K-I-N-D-R-I-D, _Kindrid, and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too, for free. Okay. Did you hear that? Online giving and a church app for free. Just tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need a church app. Go and do it now. What are you waiting for?
Josh Taylor: Hey, thanks for listening to the Church Communications podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, ChurchCommunications.com. You can also join us on our Facebook group, just search for Church Communications on Facebook, and we would love for you to leave a five star review on iTunes.