Why create different stewardship paths for donors?

13th July 2016

One of the hardest things for a church leader or a Christian fundraiser to understand and apply is that they should treat donors unequally.  This means creating different stewardship paths that involve spending more face to face time with some donors and communicating via mass media and church visits with others.

Let me explain.

Although it is undeniable that in Jesus all Christians are equal – ‘for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ says Galatians 3:28, yet some Christians have the capacity to make larger gifts than others. That’s because God has blessed His people with varying amounts of money and material assets.

Some Christians who earn large amounts of money or have more assets than others often expect their church or a Christian charity to approach them differently from how they might approach donors who might make smaller contributions.

For example, the wealthy Christians are more likely to ask for a project business plan, commonly known as a case for support, before they decide to make a financial contribution. They might even want to meet with the church leader or the CEO to discuss the project, to examine the budget, to discuss potential outcomes, project timelines and how much they should give.

While a Christian donor of lesser means is likely to be satisfied with reading an appeal or a newsletter form the charity. And. they are more likely to respond to the needs and the stories shared in these communications.

So, if the charity fundraiser or the CEO showed up at the donor’s home they might be surprised, even uncomfortable with the idea that the charity leaders are coming to see them in person to solicit a £30 donation.

What I am trying to say here is that because different types of donors respond to different kinds of giving opportunities a church or a Christian charity should treat these donors differently, even unequally, in terms of the time and resources it invests in developing relationships with them.

However, just because a CEO or a church leader gets to spend time with some major donors this does not mean that they should esteem these wealthy individuals more than those Christians who make smaller donations.

The parable of the widow’s mite is a powerful lesson on this matter. It reminds us that the amount given by a wealthy Christian donor, no matter how large, is not more precious than the £5 monthly gift donated by a widow who lives on a small state pension.

I genuinely believe that our calling as fundraisers in Christian charities is to create effective and unique stewardship paths for all different types of donors and to encourage each of them to give as they are called to give.