Sanford Levings

"Hi, I’m Sanford Levings, President of MinistryCFO and author of this blog. The purpose of our blog is to share with you information and insights that we gather from working with and listening to our clients and partners, located throughout the country." read more

Giving Trends – Part V – Marginals

(Part 5 of 7-Part Series)

To remind you from part 1 of the series, we said that a marginal donor is a donor who is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the tithers.

As such, a margin donor is a donor who does not give a meaningful amount to the church. In our test, we set the threshold to be less than $100 per month.

Now, we want to make something perfectly clear:  $100 may, indeed, be a very meaningful amount from the donor’s perspective.  And may God bless them for their giving. Nevertheless, $100 in giving is not going to be meaningful to your church.  Your church simply can’t survive on periodic $100 donations alone.


So what do you do with your list of marginal donors?   Review the list!

  • Some of your marginal donors may have been one-time visitors.  Did you meet them or miss them?

  • Some of your marginal donors may have formerly been tithers!  If so, consider taking him or her to lunch and being sensitive to potential financial hardship that may have come their way.

  • Are any of your marginal donors in a position of leadership in your church?  If so, then you likely need to have a conversation with them.

  • Many, if not most, of your marginal donors likely have no financial margin in their life.  And so you really don’t want to ask or challenge them to give more to the church.  Instead, you need to equip them with financial stewardship know-how. For example:

    • Consider giving a sermon series on stewardship.

    • Consider offering financial stewardship classes immediately following your stewardship sermon series.


Closing thoughts:  Marginal donors are going to represent the largest segment in your donor report and will represent as much as 50% of your total donor base.  Marginal donors are easy to identify in the Donor Report because they all fall neatly down at the bottom of the Tell All report.

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Please share them with us.

Tomorrow, we will discuss the sporadic donors.

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