Segmentation By the Numbers

Segmentation By the Numbers

Segmentation by the Numbers – Here is a reality, the few always give the majority no matter what size of the church. Consider these numbers from client churches. One key and easy way to segment your donors is to first identify what percentage and number of donors give 50% of your budgeted giving. I recommend strategies for every segment of a church. However, it is imperative that we retain these faithful givers while we work to build up the Next Generation.

Most churches see, on average, 15% of their donors contributing 50% of what comes in. The larger the church, the smaller the percentage but, the larger the number of people it takes to get to 50%.

So, again why is this important knowledge to have? First, most churches in America are experiencing an aging of their donor base. I advise all pastors to know how many of their top donors are above 50. The higher the percentage of your top 50% who are in advanced years will tell you a lot about the work you have ahead of you. Second, this group though small will drive the success or failure of not simply your operating budget but any capital campaign you hold. If you lose one donor in your top 50, it could take years to replace what one of your top 15% gives yearly.

Since top donors are so important, I advise Senior Pastors to have a plan of action for this key group. Here are some ideas on how you can keep this vital group connected to your church’s vision.

  • Specifically, you can and should meet with them on a regular basis. Let’s say that you average one lunch meeting a week with a top donor. Use that time to keep them abreast of the church and to see what needs they have that you can minister to. These meetings are about building a relationship with these members, not to talk about or focus on money unless they bring that topic up. Keep these people connected to the vision, and they will continue to give sacrificially.
  • Another strategy is to write simple notes of encouragement telling this segment of your church that you are praying for them and value their contribution. If you don’t want to know what people give, simply have your financial secretary alphabetize the list of your top donors.

Every pastor should do this. Most would never think about it in the first place, and many that do think of it would dismiss it as showing favoritism. They believe in treating everyone alike. Treating all your donors alike might sound spiritual, but it’s just throwing away an opportunity to raise more funds to fuel more ministry. The only one you are hurting is you!

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