Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “People don’t give to need. They give to vision.” Well, that’s not
entirely true. The truth is, people give for a variety of reasons. Just like people have different
personality types, they have different motivators for being generous. Everybody in your
congregations isn’t motivated by the same thing.
Let’s talk about the five reasons why people make a donation to your church:
Reason #1: They See A Need
The bottom line is that most people will not give without being asked. You need to present the
need, offer the opportunity, and then encourage people to get involved. Some people will be
moved to give to the needs of your student ministry, a need for facility repair, or for the filling of a
much-needed staff position. You probably want to avoid over-communicating church needs to
your congregation. But you also want to avoid keeping all needs out of the public eye. Oftentimes,
when you present the need, people in your church will step up to meet it.
Reason #2: They Believe in the Vision
People want to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves. Let’s face it, keeping the staff
employed, paying the mortgage on the church building, and staying current on all bills—not very
sexy. It’s important, it’s just not inspiring. But being a part of a church that’s making an eternal
difference is a mission that will inspire people.
Like we’ve previously mentioned, stories and stats keep the vision in front of people. When you
share stories of real life change and show people the kind of impact their church is making, it
connects their financial contributions to dynamic ministry.
Reason #3: They Have a Relationship
People give because they have a relationship with someone. Whether it’s with a pastor, staff
member, or volunteer, relationships in the church are very powerful. We’ve seen it over and over
again. Once people get connected with a small group or volunteer team, they “buy into the church”
on a much deeper level.
One of the most helpful things you and your staff can do to increase the generosity levels of your
church is get to know people. Don’t manipulate them or invite them to small groups where you ask
for money. Just hang out with them. Better yet, connect them with groups and teams in your
church and watch relationships develop.
Reason #4: They Are Taught How
Many people don’t give because they don’t know how. It’s second nature to you, but you’re
innately familiar with how the church works. There are a lot of people, especially people who are
new to your church, who don’t fully understand the process. You have to educate them! Tell them
why you pass buckets or provide envelopes. If you had never been to church, you have to admit
that it’s odd when a stranger sitting to your left passes you a huge bucket with 11 dollars and 37
cents in it. You must explain why. Talk about the process of giving online. Show them how to set up
recurring contributions. Let them know that they’ll receive a giving statement for tax purposes.
Reason #5: They Want to Obey God’s Word
In addition to stats and stories, you must teach people what Scripture says about giving,
stewardship, and generosity. Show people what the Apostle Paul said about giving intentionally,
generously, and in response to God’s goodness. Talk about the Old Testament commands to tithe,
and the New Testament goal of stewardship. Help people understand what Proverbs says about
You can create intentional offering talks built around these reasons. And in the process, you can
connect the dots between generosity and ministry.