Tithe Brokerage Firm

I'm sure this is something I will need to rethink (or repent of), but from a conversation an idea came up: creating a tithing brokerage firm.  People could come and talk about their tithe portfolio.  The client comes in and states:

I'd like to be 1/3 International missions, 1/4 in church planting, 1/4 inner city and please diversify the rest amongst…

The brokers would ensure these guidelines are met, investigate potential organizations, present these to the client and ensure the monies are being used appropriately.  I imagine if you could build up enough clients you could start managing a pretty significant yearly giving amount.  Of course, these funds should came after your support of the local church.   

  • Darren

    April 12, 2007, 6:11 am

    nix it. It disconnects people from what they give to.

  • Tim Bednar

    April 12, 2007, 6:32 am

    No don’t throw out the idea. I find this really interesting.

  • Phil

    April 12, 2007, 9:06 am

    I think it is a great idea. I have been in the fundraising “business” for 6 years and I know that there are people out there that want to give, but don’t know the best place to do it. It adds accountability in that someone is researching the receiving entity to find out if they are doing things right etc., but also, they can follow up on your giving and see if the entity continues to use the money correctly. It would be a lot easier at tax time when you have one place that you gave your money too, they just split it up for you. Also, this takes out a lot of the emotional giving. I understand that this can be good or bad. In my experience though, the people that are giving the most money don’t do it from an emotional plea. They want to see results. I can see year end statements, monthly statements… in some ways I think it connect the giver to the receiver even more. The giver can see how the receivers are doing and allows the giver to have more financial stewardship.

    For further discussion: Is this a non-profit company that relies on donations or does it take a percentage of people’s money? I think both would work fine.

  • Matt Heerema

    April 12, 2007, 9:25 am

    We probably have differing understandings of the tithe, but the idea of an offering brokerage firm (or just a charity brokerage firm in general) is an interesting one. Having a group that you trust that has the time/resources to research good places to invest this kind of offered money is intriguing and may be a benefit to some, though I fear, like Darren says, it would disconnect people from what they are giving to. Your heart is where your money is, and if your money is with a brokerage firm, rather than the charity itself, your heart probably won’t be with that specific charity.

    I’m personally blessed by my personal support of several missionaries, and other works that I’m connected to this way. If I was disconnected from that relationship, I’m not sure I’d give to them…

    The tithe, however, is a long, sticky, and I feel, misunderstood topic.

  • D. Goodmanson

    April 12, 2007, 2:31 pm

    Good points, I agree tithe carries a bunch that I didn’t unpack. (Here is some of our stance on ‘tithe’ http://www.kaleochurch.com/article/stewardship)

    My hope is that it would not disconnect. The results would be brought back and at that point the giver would engage to really investigate and connect with the ministry.

  • Darren

    April 12, 2007, 3:46 pm

    Something that may aid in the discussion/consideration (and to flesh out my original comment)…

    In my fellowship here in Canada (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) they followed a central-distribution model of supporting missionaries for many years. What that means is that individuals/churches would give towards the central missions department for the fellowship and then the missions department would set budgets and distribute the funds to missionaries on the field. They would still pass out reports to churches and individuals on where their funding went but generally speaking people would just give to “missions” without any real participation in where it was going.

    In the last 5 years however the PAOC has moved to what has been called the “Shared Funding” model. Essentially what happens in this model is that missionaries are responsible for setting their own budgets (that still require some approval) and are responsible for raising their own funds. Rather than churches or individuals sending funds to a general missions fund at head office they “adopt” a missionary and give directly to their budget.

    Of course, there are more mechanics to this than what I’ll write here but basically it has been a very well-received move and something that has made a tremendous difference both in the partnership between churches and missionaries on the field and the actual number of missionaries going on the field since the PAOC isn’t limited by what comes into the general missions fund. For my own church, it has definitely made a tremendous difference in the actual giving to missions in general and our connection with the missionaries we’ve adopted. People are giving more because they are giving out of love for and connection with our missionary family rather than out of a sense of duty, obligation, guilt, or a tax-writeoff.

    I share this as a case in point. It appears to me, that what you are suggesting in the form of a tithe brokerage firm would function in a similar way as what I described as the way the PAOC used to operate their missions department. The lesson learned from our experience is that only leads to disconnect and less giving.

    Another totally different perspective to look at is from the perspective of the charities listed with the brokerage firm. There’s not only the risk of disconnect from the point of view of the giver but also from the point of view of the one receiving the gift. The partnership should really work both ways.

    I said “nix it” to the idea because I don’t really see how such a firm could be operated and continue to operate while keeping people in touch with what they are giving to. It becomes too easy to slide into “habitual” giving rather than “love and joy” based giving.

    Finally, who would pay for the services of the firm?

  • Jed

    April 12, 2007, 9:43 pm

    I’m not sure man, I don’t think the idea could ever fly! Err, wait…here’s somebody who is currently doing it: Strategic Resource Group out of Maryland – http://www.srginc.org

  • dsnyd

    April 17, 2007, 9:50 pm

    Isn’t this pretty much what the local church should be doing and in fact what many are doing? The tithe goes to support the local church and the local church supports various missions and ministries. In fact some churches are even required to do this type of thing. My fear of an actual brokerage firm is that the local church would suffer financially.