HIGHER THINKING BLOG
Types of Givers By Brad Leeper and Mark Dillion
There are four types of givers and different ways to engage each of them.
Think of your three closest friends. Now think about going out to eat, picking a place to take a vacation, or even just choosing a movie to watch on a Friday night… all as a group. Chances are, from Italian to Indian, balmy beach to ski lodge, or comedy to foreign drama, you’ll all feel like eating, vacationing, or watching something different. God made us all different in our personalities, preferences, and spiritual journeys, so why should pastors and church leaders try to reach their entire congregations through just one kind of engagement? Sure, it might be easier, but to create a real and lasting culture of generosity, you need to appeal to the four different types of givers and make the act of giving personal and meaningful to each type.
- The Gifted Givers
- The Thoughtful Givers
- The Casual Givers
- The Reluctant Givers
Today we are focusing on two of them.
THE GIFTED GIVERS
External motivation is unnecessary: The Gifted Giver doesn’t need to be reminded of the obligation to give or the joy that follows giving, they have already seen the proof and examples time and time again of the abundant life God promises when we entrust Him with our finances.
This puts your organization at a unique advantage with this type of giver: they have already decided without question to give; you don’t need to hand out fancy statistic-filled pamphlets or show them convicting scriptures… the only decision they have to make is where to give. The giving itself is the act of joy for this type, and their giving is not out of gross income alone. Gifted Givers often reach into their asset base invest in multiple causes that they care about.
The Gifted Giver’s joy is easily discernible by the ease with which the funds are released and the peace that is evident through their act of giving. This kind of giver is rare, indeed, but count on the fact that some of these people attend your church and care about your ministry. You can easily recognize them because of how passionately and outwardly they care about your organization! God has placed a handful of men and women in the orbit of your ministry who can make a huge difference in the pursuit of your mission.
Reach out to them not with pleas and reminders, but with sincere gratitude and recognition of their biblical obedience; spend time with them and consult them often and they will strengthen and encourage you as a faithful follower of Christ as well as lend wisdom and direction to your organization.
The Casual Giver’s gifts tend to be more out of obligation than joy, because they are less likely to have had Gifted Giving modeled to them by family or close friends. This person might also be more captivated by possessions or the idea of financial security than other types of givers. The what and why of your ask is very important to this giver, as they are usually wary of requests and less trusting of the organization asking. It follows then, that the joy found in giving is often forfeited and tempered by the possible consequences of parting with personal possessions.
THE CASUAL GIVERS
The Casual Givers in your church have likely given a gift to you in the past, or may even be current givers, but probably at a modest level. The great opportunity with the Casual Giver is to grow them into Thoughtful or Gifted givers. Any gift to your ministry, whether recent or the distant past, indicates a level of awareness and involvement that can be built upon through your encouragement.
The best method to grow a Casual Giver is through authentic dialogue. Do they truly understand why you exist and what ultimate value would be missing if you didn’t? Do they know how much their gift matters to your mission? Do they remember why they gave to you in the first place? Does the reason for their lapsed or infrequent giving have more to do with how the church stewarded their gift, or their heart toward the Kingdom? The answers to these questions could possibly come from some sort of survey, but more realistically, getting real with a Casual Giver requires a conversation—an important responsibility for those of us who are called to reach out for the sake of the Kingdom.
We have to understand that many adults who are now followers of Christ weren’t raised in homes with Christian values, or had poor mentoring from their parents. Even still, some people would say that the church has largely abdicated its responsibility to teach “the whole counsel of God,” particularly in the area of financial stewardship. This fact presents at least two opportunities for you and your church: individual visits to share the principles of the joy and responsibility to give to the Kingdom, and interacting with casual donors to encourage them to be rich toward God.
Brad Leeper is one of the Generis principals.Generis exists to educate and inspire churches in radical and generous giving to the Kingdom. They help ministries create opportunities to grow Christians from reluctant or Casual Givers to Thoughtful or Gifted ones
Mark Dillion is the Executive Vice President of the Christian Higher Education and Non-Profit division of Generis.
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