I have always found it strange that those with the least to give are more likely to give when compared with those who have considerably more. While it seems counterintuitive, it’s true. Research from organizations like Giving USA supports an indirect correlation between a person’s estate value and their giving habits. The greater the estate value, the less a person is likely to give.
Here are some thoughts that immediately come to mind on the subject:
1. People with money aren’t bad. I think organizations (churches especially) are better at talking to people who are struggling financially than those who are financially successful. Therefore, the lack of conversation, perspective, and investment in relationships with those with the greatest resources results in a lack of giving from the group most likely to make a significant impact through their gifts.
2. Poor isn’t better than being rich. Money as an object is not bad. Having money or not having money is not indicative of sin or virtue. We must see ourselves as catalysts for change and find ways to increase the margin in our lives (time, talent, and treasure) so we can share more with others to multiply ministry opportunity and increase Kingdom impact. Everyone can do, give, and lead something. We must determine what we have the capacity to do and then do it.
3. People don’t have a giving problem. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are making some significant commitments. I hope others follow suit. The preservation of money should never outweighs a person’s desire to leverage their margin for greater social impact. What people struggle with the most is reasoning why they should give to you. With so many options available to the individual today, it’s important that we provide a compelling reason why your cause or organization is the best investment they could make.
4. Giving must be cultivated. The idea that people will just give to anything or anyone is not an assumption a church or organizational leader should never feel comfortable making. All gifts — even the smallest — must be cultivated through relationships and consistent interaction and participation with organizations and causes that connect with the giver. If you’re waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy to find you and save the day, then you’re in trouble.
How you talk about and approach the subject of money matters. Are you prepared? Your funding depends upon it.