The Generous Steward Resources
Helping your hands touch God's world

Hi, I'm Fred Milligan.
Welcome to my website.

My mission is
to help individuals, congregations and faith-based organizations practice as well as inspire generous stewardship.


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In this website you will learn about . . .
  • Reviews of current books and resources on the topics of generosity and stewardship
  • Articles and blogs relevant to the topic
  • Links to recommended sites and other resources

My e-mail address is :Fred(at)
or call me at 570-575-5611

Grace and Peace,
Fred Milligan, M.Div., A.M., C.F.R.M.



Fred’s Blog August, 2008

Give it Now!

A lot has been made in recent years out of the idea that over the next several years over a trillion dollars will be inherited in estates of various sizes. Thus, institutions and charities are scrambling to set up endowments and solicit bequests. While this is certainly important work and should be part of every congregation’s overall plan for funding its ministries it should not replace encouragement of increased proportional giving. Claude Rosenberg, co-founder and chairman and Timothy Stone, president and executive director, both of New Tithing Group, argue that we should calculate our annual giving as a percentage of our entire assets and not of our income alone. (“Stanford Social Innovation Review” fall, 2006).

They cite “Rosenberg’s Rule” based on their belief that donating money to charity now yields more substantial rewards for donors and society than donating money later. According to this rule, developed in response to the decision by Warren Buffet to begin distributing his wealth now rather than waiting till his death, a donation now will likely solve more than that same donation later because “societal ills generally increase at an exponentially greater rate than does return on capital.”

Prior to this decision, Buffet had followed the conventional wisdom “ that by postponing his giving, he could use his wealth to generate superior investment returns, which would benefit society more in the long term. Rosenberg’s Rule is buttressed by a McKinsey & Company report that concludes,`The time value of money shows that delaying investments in the social sector exacts an enormous [societal] cost.’ ” (Jansen, P.J. & Katz, D.M. “For Nonprofits, Time is Money,” The McKinsey Quarterly 2002, no. 1.)

“The McKinsey study confirms our own observation that if ignored, societal ills may cascade through families, potentially disadvantaging siblings, parents, future generations, and the community at large.”[emphasis added]

Rosenberg and Stone show that while the richest among us give the most as a percentage of income, they actually give about 17% less than middle class and poor families as a percentage of total assets. They calculate that if the richest Americans gave at the same rate as the middle class and below (those with under $200,000 in annual income and from $45 to $335 K in assets), then there would be an increase of around $25 billion a year in giving to charitable causes.

Determining How Much to Give

“To help donors more wisely decide their giving levels, NewTithing Group has developed the PrudentPal Charitable Giving Planner, an online tool available at

This tool encourages users to explore their emotional reaction to various high-, medium-, and low-donation levels. By monitoring their gut reactions to donation levels and financial scenarios, users can employ a “Goldilocks method” to find just the right giving level.

PrudentPal’s scenarios are based on donors’ investment assets, charitable deductions, and living expenses, as well as on conservative long-term rates of return. Accounting for these factors, our giving benchmarks aim to preserve donors’ assets ahead of inflation after charitable gifts. According to these

benchmarks, average households earning over $200,000 in adjusted gross income can comfortably afford to more than double, or even quadruple, their annual donations (see “The Generosity of Rich and Poor,” p. 27).”

While pastors often assume, correctly, that most of the members in the congregation are at or below their own income level, we should always be prepared to provide guidance to those whose income levels far exceed our own. For those members in our churches who are in the $200K plus income bracket with over $335 K of assets, the PrudentPal Charitable Giving Planner offers us a tool to use in providing the kind of spiritual guidance they may well need.

Grace and Peace,
Fred Milligan

All rights reserved copywrite 2008 The Generous Steward Resources

Archived Blogs:
February_2008 [pdf]
March, 2008 [pdf]
April, 2008 [pdf]
May, 2008 [pdf] The annual response process
June, 2008 [pdf] Will Our Pastors be Stewards?
July, 2008 Not available

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