The Insanity of Putting Labels on Your Givers

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This is part 5 of 10 in a series called INSANITY: 10 Crazy Things Churches Do That Hinder Online Giving. When it comes to online giving, we’ve identified 10 ways your expectations don’t line up with most online giving vendors’ practices and platforms.

You can download a copy of the entire series for free and we’ll notify you as new information is published.


Just ask any manager, mogul or mom. It’s frustrating to see the 80/20 rule (the idea that 80% of an effect is produced by 20% of the effort) at work in your domain. You have to address this common problem. But it’s a risky move to ignore your best workers while continually trying to motivate those who don’t pull their weight. Especially if it means treating that group as if they’re all alike.

Likewise, when it comes to online giving, insanity is focusing only on the so-called 80% of NON-GIVERS in your congregation and expecting giving to increase.

The Problem with the Label “80%”

Forbes contributor Bryan Kramer stated that “Labels take on an all-or-nothing meaning.” They can stifle change in those labeled, he explains, but the risk
also applies to those doing the labeling: We “…can end up limiting our curiosity about a person. Our interest in exploring a connection can end because we think we
know who they are.”

He’s onto a vital point: Labels can cause us to miss the uniqueness of each person in a category.

Even among those who give less to the church, for example, each gives “less” differently. Some don’t give at all, some give regularly with small amounts, and some only give intermittently. Their motives and means are different. No one method of trying to reach them will do so. And you risk thinking of them as slackers, even though many are being as sacrificial and devoted as they can be.

The real question is how well do you know your so-called 80%?

“Buckets of Strength”

Kramer suggests combatting labels by flipping weaknesses over and looking for the strengths in those you’re tempted to label; in this case, your “non-givers”
or your “80%”. Changing your goals and how you see them can help you find creative ways to engage them.

For example, even those with very little to give can be engaged through a program like Central Church’s Generosity Rockstar with just a few dollars a month. Your goal isn’t about how much they give; it’s about helping them begin to enjoy the rewards of being obedient in this way.

As you disciple this group, your view of their strengths changes because you’re seeing them through a lens of growth, not a label of non-giver.

Your congregation is made up of other buckets of strength that have generational labels: Millennials, many of whom believe giving of their time is the same as giving of their money. Baby Boomers, some who give generously and perhaps some who give elsewhere generously. It’s possible many of these people have been pigeon-holed, too.

Connect With Them Differently

To connect personally with all your givers requires an online giving platform equipped to allow customized, automated communication like Vision2.

With the emotional nature of giving and the vast competition for donor dollars, showing givers that you know them is vital. It’s the only way to connect with online givers in the same engaging way you would in person.

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Stop the Insanity and Boost your Giving Now

REMINDER: You can download a copy of this entire series for free. In the guide we show you how to easily fix each insane issue so you can dramatically improve your online giving returns.