Tithing is the practice of giving 10% back to God.  It has its roots in the tradition of giving the “First Fruits” as a sacrifice and a gift of thanksgiving for blessings received.  It’s a major component of the faith-formed mindset which considers everything as a gift from God.  The Federal, State and Local governments withhold at least 32% of my paycheck for taxes (and collect even more through sales and property taxes), and we’re supposed to tip waitpersons 15% to 20% or more for good service…so when you consider that God should get 10%, that’s an incredible bargain!

After visiting hundreds of schools over the past 11 years, I’m amazed at how many faith-based schools don’t have an annual appeal, have not committed resources to create a meaningful development program, and still consider “fundraising” as a development activity.  They complain that they have no financial aid funds to award to families with demonstrated financial need, and wonder from where will come their help.

If this sounds like your school, and even if your school is doing some of those things, you NEED to create an endowment for your school.  How to do it?  Tithe!

ANYTHING that you receive – annual appeal, gifts, contributions, fundraising, etc. – outside of operational funds (like tuition and fees) should be subject “to the tithe” for your school.  Take 10% of funds received from your school’s annual appeal, gifts, contributions, fundraising, etc., and put them into an endowment for your school.  It also gives you another “category” to which donors can make major gifts through planned giving.  What’s planned giving, you say?  That’s what many financial planners call “Leaving a Legacy.”  Unfortunately, that’s not the most effective marketing they could do.  A better “mind-changer” would be, “How do you want to be remembered by those people and organizations you love?”

Your school’s endowment becomes a vehicle through which you can provide financial aid to those families in need for your school.  The “corpus” of the endowment fund remains intact and grows; your school uses the interest generated for financial aid.

Of course, it will take time to build your endowment, as you only use the interest, and not what you’re putting into the endowment, for direct support.  If you’d like to know a way to generate a significant amount of financial aid much sooner and encourage philanthropic giving, drop an email to schooladvancement@gmail.com with the words “Generate Financial Aid” in the subject line.  It also deals with tithing, but it also deals with asking, as well as educating your school’s parent community.