This is a series of articles about real world problems that churches often find difficult to handle. They are presented in the form of emails for ease of conversation but can come in many different ways.
Disclaimer: All the names are made up and in no way identify actual people nor does the author assume responsibility for the opinion expressed in the response.
In this case the response is actually easy. This is illegal and contrary to tax law so the solution is easy.
“Sorry this is against the law, we cannot do this.”
A more nuanced response might be to open a conversation about scholarship funds for worthy folks but that donations may never be given to a specific individual designated by the donor. It separates the generous person from a person looking for a way to deduct college expense from their taxes.
Charitable giving can never be for the benefit of the donor or specific persons. Giving is given to the institution of the church and the church decides how to spend it. The donor may direct the category but not the specific recipient.
This goes beyond just the tax code but to our understanding of giving from a Christian perspective. It becomes an opportunity or teachable moment to help folks understand the value of generosity...
(Content written by our new contributor, Rev. Paul Johnson, CCA)