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Stewardship should embrace the power of one.

When it comes to giving, there really is nothing that beats the individual donor. A few weeks ago, we ran across an article that shared some interesting statistics proving that point:

  • Americans gave a total of $298.4 billion in 2011. Of that, a whopping 70 percent came from individuals through donations—not from grants or foundations.
  • The field with the largest drop-off in giving was religious organizations, which saw a decrease of 4.7 percent in funding.
  • Across the board, 90 percent of donations come from 10 percent of the givers.

While there are certain things that might stand out to you about these numbers, none of them probably come as a shock. However, for us, the article provided further evidence that creating a culture of generosity in your church requires embracing the power of one.

Churches rely on individual giving just like any other nonprofit. Therefore, churches need to be the best when it comes to communicating why individual donations are crucial to ministry ability of the church.

Here are three things your church needs to realize when it comes to embracing the power of the individual donor to increase your capacity for ministry:

1. Knowing your planned givers is important. Recognizing how these three facts relate to your individual givers will help your church identify what they care about, inspire them to give, and cultivate them into consistent givers.

2. Understanding why people give is the key to effective communication. Why do people give to your church? According to research, the two most generous types of people give because they know the leadership, because a friend asks them, or because they are giving to a cause or an organization that has directly affected their lives. These statistics should be encouraging to your church. When it comes to the reasons people give, churches are set up to succeed better than any other nonprofit organization.

3. Major gifts are important. You probably weren’t surprised to learn that 90 percent of donations to nonprofits come from 10 percent of the givers. In contrast to a capital stewardship campaign that cultivates a response from the entire congregation or organization for a common purpose, a major gifts emphasis focuses on that 10 percent of individual givers, those who have both a passion for your need and the financial resources to make an impact toward its vital growth. Leveraging that statistic, along with a strategy for connecting with individuals who have the capacity to give major gifts, is essential for effectively embracing the power of one.

In what ways has your church emphasized the impact of individual giving to your members? How are you working to embrace the power of one?

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