Distribution from an IRA
When I was a child in the 1950's attending St. Anne's Catholic Church in Castle Shannon Pennsylvania the donation process seemed quite simple. Each Sunday the ushers (my Dad was among them) would walk down the center and side isles during the Offertory with wicker baskets on long poles, stretching with their arms to reach the center of every pew. (I've since wondered if having the baskets captive on the long poles was a security measure.) They would then immediately repeat the process for the second collection (called the silver collection) where folks would toss in loose change. On special occasions there would be a third collection (for the conversion of Russia, Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Martin de Porres Society, etc.). In each weekly church bulletin the would be a listing of the previous week's donations; families were all listed by name. ranked in various categories: $1 per week club, $2 per week club and so on with a few families in the stratospheric $25 per week club. Technically simple on the surface, but we needed to remember the envelope, the cash, find it in my mother's purse and have it ready to drop in the basket at the correct instant. (Repeated for two more collections!).
Our Financial Ministry at FCC has provided some 21st Century solutions to the wicker basket process (while retaining our brass offering plates for traditionalists). Direct deposit (recurring or one time), digital payments, etc. are now available to give us less to remember on Sunday while still placing our hand in the donation plate for a symbolic gesture of giving. Recently Cathy and I have changed from a monthly direct deposit donation to a convenient and, for us, more advantageous process. Having reached a milestone significant to the IRS (an age of 70 ½), we are now able to make a contribution directly from our IRA savings using a Qualified Charitable Distribution. This contribution comes directly from our IRA manager (Vanguard) via a check made out to FCC and mailed to us. It qualifies as part of our Required Minimum Distribution but does not count towards our Adjusted Gross Income. We then get the benefit of not having taxes assessed on the amount of the donation, even if we take the standard deduction on our annual tax return. The process is quick and easy with Vanguard, 5 minutes on the website. For folks who may not itemize deductions or who would like to minimize Adjusted Gross Income, this may be a great way to support the church. The standard caveat applies- consult with your tax advisor to see if this approach is right for you. It was for us.