FR Perspective: Endowment Funds | InFaith Community Foundation

FR Perspective: Endowment Funds

Endowment Funds Inspire Others to Give

Ryan VanDeLoo explains endowment funds to his clients and prospects quite simply. “I tell them to think of it as a fund to help their grandchildren’s mission for their church,” he says. That image gets people thinking about the future in a positive way.

The Thrivent Financial Consultant advises endowment committees at two Lutheran churches. While they have different priorities for their endowments, they share a common mission to sustain ministry for years to come.

One church had already established its endowment when Ryan got involved. However, church leaders, unsure how to manage it effectively, left the $100,000 balance in a low-interest CD and needed help.

The other church had potential donors looking for a way to make a difference. A couple in their 70s had been active members of the church for more than 30 years. “They wanted to leave a legacy and inspire other people to give,” Ryan recalls.

He introduced both churches to InFaith Community Foundation and watched the excitement grow as members began seeing the possibilities. “When I retire decades from now, one of the things I will be most proud of was my ability to help these churches double or triple their endowment fund,” Ryan says. “I hope that will be part of my legacy.”

Bringing In the Experts

Introducing endowment funds is the simple part. But church leaders and committee volunteers may be intimidated by the concept.

That’s where InFaith comes in. “I have InFaith’s team behind me to answer their questions,” Ryan says. As the fund administrator, InFaith is responsible for accounting, investing and reporting on the fund. That has proved invaluable for Ryan. “It adds confidence as well as checks and balances for the church to know that I am not solely involved,” he says.

Tips You Can Use

If you are building relationships with churches and faith-based charities in your community that are considering an endowment fund, Ryan has these suggestions:

  • Use the endowment guide InFaith and Thrivent created to help committees understand the steps involved and the benefits of endowment funds. (View PDF.)
  • Convey that giving to an endowment fund is over and above current pledges or capital campaigns. Being clear about the intent from the start can avoid tension over priorities later on with church leaders.
  • Position education effectively. Ryan cautions against promoting the endowment too much. “Twice a year is often enough that they will remember it but not too often that they resist,” he says.
  • Take advantage of Thrivent Action Team grants at events by offering a coffee hour, hors d'oeuvres or luncheon.

Get Started. To learn more about InFaith or consult about specific churches or faith-based organizations, call our gift planners at 800-365-4172.