“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”
—Albert Camus

Shaping Our Future

The average person who makes a planned gift isn’t a millionaire or independently wealthy. Rather, most planned givers are simply members of Unitarian Universalist congregations who want to make a commitment to the future of our liberal faith. They are people who wish to shape the future of our church beyond their lifetimes.

While planned giving involves many details of financial and estate planning, it is not a substitute for those activities, but rather part of them. We encourage every person considering a planned gift to consult professionals who can guide them along the process. While the church cannot offer financial or tax advice regarding your gift, members of the Endowment Committee will be happy to discuss ways in which we can help you fulfill your vision with your gift.


Why Planned Giving?

Planned giving allows church members to assure the future of the church beyond their lifetimes.

Planned giving allows members to think beyond today and show their commitment to the future vision the church provides.

The UUA’s Planned Giving Guide says this more expansively:

“Planned gifts, including charitable bequests made through a will, are often the single largest and most significant gifts an individual can and will make to your congregation. Individuals usually give bequests and planned gifts to what has mattered most to them in their lives – family, friends, and institutions that share their core values. The level of commitment and interest shown by a planned gift is deep and for the long-term. It is a rare person who gives away his life’s savings on a whim. Many instead evaluate their fundamental values and priorities and apply these core values to a plan for how they want the assets in their accumulated life estate to be distributed and used after they die.”

“More often than not, it is a gift intended to provide long-term or perpetual support to your congregation, such as a gift to your permanent endowment. Planned gifts therefore are essential to the financial future of your fellowship, society, or congregation. Indeed, a planned gift can be the ultimate gift of a lifetime for both your congregation and the donor. Planned gifts will not be made from disposable annual income or by digging a little deeper for a “stretch” gift as in a campaign. Instead, a planned gift is usually a donation made from the assets accumulated over a person’s lifetime, and it is usually a contribution to the endowment.”

Planned giving allows you to make your vision for the church a reality, usually in the form of a bequest from your estate. A planned gift can made as easily as adding a paragraph of language to a simple will. Planned gifts are more often part of a larger estate plan that a donor has built in conjunction with their financial advisor. While in many situations, gifts to the church may offer charitable tax benefits, church cannot advise prospective donors on tax benefits or consequences of these gifts. Instead, we recommend that donors consult with a trusted financial advisor to properly judge how your planned gift might affect the value of your estate to your loved ones and beneficiaries.


Your Steps to Giving

We recommend that people who wish to make a planned gift to do so in the following four steps:

  1. Speak to your financial advisor. We recommend discussing your plans with a trusted advisor who knows your financial goals and situation to ensure that your planned gift supports those goals.
  2. Decide how you want your gift directed. To minimize the costs and complexity of administering your gift, we recommend that donors direct your gifts to one of the three primary endowment funds: Unrestricted, Buildings and Grounds, or Social Action. If you wish to direct your gift otherwise, please contact the church Endowment Committee to be sure that we are able to properly address your wishes.
  3. Add language directing your donation to your will and/or estate plan. We recommend keeping the language simple and direct as shown below.
  4. Notify the Endowment Committee. Once you have added the language to your will or estate plan, notify the Endowment Committee of your planned gift. We will then add you to our list of donors and enroll you in the Donor Recognition Society.

Bequest Language

We recommend that donors instruct their lawyer or financial advisor to add language to their will similar to the following:

I give_____ [$ amount, description of property, or % of estate] to the General Endowment Fund of the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, a Massachusetts charitable corporation located at 9 Ayer Road, On the Common, Harvard, Massachusetts, to be to be used for one or more of the three Endowment Purposes: Unrestricted, Buildings and Grounds, or Social Action.

Donor Recognition

The church wishes to honor and acknowledge those who make planned gifts and their willingness to plan for the future of the church. When you notify the Endowment Committee of your gift, we will automatically enroll you as a member of the Recognition Society. Those who do not wish to be recognized as part of the society will be listed as anonymous bequests.


We recognize that many complex types of charitable bequests are possible. Our planned giving program today focuses only on simple bequests and at present, we have no framework or legal advice with which to handle more complex charitable structures. We will examine other arrangements as the program matures.

Contact Information

We hope that this begins to answer some of your questions around making a planned gift to the church. If you have further questions, please email your name, phone numbers, and email address to the address below, and someone will contact you to help answer your questions.

Email: admin@uuharvard.org