By Gina Calvert

The Giver Lifecycle: Frequent & Top Givers

This is the fourth in a series of 6 posts on growing generosity in the digital age by exploring the Giver Lifecycle. Start at the beginning: How to Nurture Generosity in the New Digital World.

In our last post, we looked at the first two stages of the Giver Lifecycle: the New Giver and the Infrequent Giver. These two stages represent long-term growth. They must be nurtured if you are to move them enough that they grow into more Frequent or Top Givers. These two groups represent both short- and long-term stability and promise.

Let’s take a look.

Frequent Givers

Frequent givers set a solid, reliable baseline of revenue that fuels your ministries, so it’s important to convey how much you value them. Newly consistent giving is a signal that something good is happening with them. Perhaps it’s a renewed dedication to the church, a new job, or some other positive life event. Understanding the reasons for the new giving will help you to serve them better.

What’s most important about this group is that they are where your next top givers will come from. So, be generous with your gratitude and include them in initiatives where their passion lies. They’re more likely to give beyond their tithe or current giving and become financial leaders when they feel pivotal and invested in the life of the church.

Your data holds the power to identify those frequent givers who possess similar traits as your top givers but haven’t yet reached that level. With proper nurturing, they could become top givers themselves.

Top Givers

Top givers are your best opportunity for developing the programs the church needs NOW. They require a strong sense of relationship. Their interests and passions move them to generosity. Allow them to make an impact in the areas of their interest. Otherwise, their desire to invest heavily in the church may wane. If that happens, rest assured that they will find other organizations to invest in.

As your budget’s primary “bread-and-butter,” so to speak, it’s important to know this group well and include them early in initiatives that speak to their heart.

Your top givers are amazing stewardship leaders. So following their giving trends is crucial for encouraging their long-term engagement and the church’s short-term financial strength. You will want to reach out directly to your top givers regarding giving campaigns, special events or simply to personally acknowledge their enormous generosity. Ask their advice on matters related to the church and make them feel heard.

Manage risk by tracking how much you’re relying on your most generous members for revenue. For example, if the percentage is too high, you’re blessed, but your church could be negatively impacted by a sudden loss of one or more of these donors. (That’s why you must focus on your non-givers and those in other giving stages and continually seek to move them along the Giver Lifecycle.)

This group is invested in your church, usually beyond just their giving. If you have a good relationship with them, top givers can be approached about inheritance or legacy giving (putting the church in their will).

Technology and Your Giving Lifecycle

All phases in the Giver Lifecycle must be constantly addressed, but first, you need to classify your givers into giving frequency groups. 

Technology can help you effectively classify and focus on all these growth stages at one time. It can help you see the most important thing of all: Transitions.

Examples of transitions include:

  • New givers scheduling recurring gifts
  • Infrequent givers beginning consistent giving
  • Frequent givers not giving

These milestones and lapses matter.

In our next blogpost in this series, Nurturing Givers: 3 Steps to Getting Personal, we’ll show you what to do next, after you’ve classified your givers.

Or download How to Nurture Generosity in the New Digital World to get access to an expanded version of the entire series in one printable PDF.