What the CARES Act Means for Top Givers

Last Friday, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the President signed it into law. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are already talking about yet another major coronavirus response package. Let’s set that aside for today and focus instead on some critical elements of the CARES Act for your top givers.

The CARES Act is a new massive piece of legislation that contains many provisions of interest to churches, some of the sector-wide import and others to specific sub-sectors (such as emergency funding for cultural organizations, higher education, and community health centers).

Embedded within the CARES Act is a distinct opportunity for your top givers.

The CARES Act encourages individuals to contribute to churches by relaxing some of the limitations on charitable contributions:

  • Suspending the 60% adjusted gross income limitation on individuals and increasing it to 100% (Note: This change will especially be advantageous to top givers);
  • increasing to 25% then 10% limitation on corporations;
  • and increasing to 25% of the 15% limitation on food inventory.

The suspension of the individual contribution limit is only for cash gifts. If a giver gives cash to a private foundation, the previous deduction rules apply. Churches that manage donor-advised funds also fall under the previous deduction rules.

If a giver’s assets are substantial enough that they can give more than their taxable income this year, they won’t lose the deduction for the excess amount. They can carry the unused deduction to the next year.

How does this affect your top givers, and how should you communicate this opportunity with them? 

1. Pull the Top Givers report from MortarStone.

2. Make a list of the Top Givers that have given in the last 30 days and note if they have increased or decreased in their giving. 

3. Segment your top givers into three groups: 

a. Top givers that have given more in the last 30 days.

b. Top givers who have kept their giving the same.

c. Top givers that have decreased their giving.

4. Send an email to each group:

  • Top Givers that have given more: Thank them for their generous giving; remind them how their giving is helping the church and community; inform them about the new rules for deductions in 2020; and encourage them to share their giving stories with you. You can share these stories during online services to encourage your online viewers to participate in worship through giving.
  • Top Givers that have given the same amount: Thank them for their generous giving; remind them how their giving is helping the church and community; inform them about the new rules for deductions in 2020; and encourage them to consider giving more during this time.
  • Top Givers that have decreased or not given in the last 30 days: Thank them for their generous giving in the past; remind them how their giving is helping the church and community; inform them about the new rules for deductions in 2020; and offer to pray for them during this time. These givers are potentially in need of ministry support or counsel.

5. Top Givers that have not given also need a phone call.

These givers believe in the vision of your church and have been significant supporters of ministry in the past. Reach out to them; they need to know the church that they passionately supported in the past is here for them during this time.


When giving trends change, the church needs to understand and be able to adapt to these changes. This is why more than ever, it’s important to understand the giving analytics of your church. Who are your givers, why are they giving, how much are they giving, and when are they giving? If we identify these trends, we can apply a strategy that will help us thrive in times of financial uncertainty.

MortarStone is the solution to knowing your giving and givers, and we’re here to help! Schedule a FREE 30-minute giving consultation today! We’ll help you develop a plan to increase your giving now and build sustainable long-term funding for the future.

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