If you were given $30,000 unexpectedly, what would you do with it?

Of course, it’s tempting to spend it on something you’ve been wanting or even to save it for a rainy day. However, one couple decided that giving would be better than accumulating and got a different kind of payoff in the end.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

These verses have special meaning to Ronald Blue Trust as the foundation of our firm’s mission: we exist to help Christians become financially free to assist in fulfilling the Great Commission. As advisors to those who are “rich in this present world”, our goals are very similar to those of ministry staff and leaders. We’re committed to helping our clients become more generous in their giving for kingdom work.

There are several concepts around the subject of generosity and engaging donors that we want to cover that we hope will help you in your own mission.

Being Generous is a Choice

When clients are presented with unexpected opportunities for generosity, we want to encourage them to take advantage of it!

Ronald Blue Trust advisors have had the privilege of seeing this in action. As an example, one of our advisors has a client who received a ‘gift’ from his insurance company in the form of an unexpected refund. As a result of auditing his business’ policies, the insurance carrier determined that he had been overbilled over the course of 10 years and was due a $30,000 refund of excess premiums!

This client and his wife spent time in prayer asking the Lord why He had provided these excess funds. Several days later, as they attended a Jesus Film event, they got their answer. They saw an opportunity to use their resources to sponsor a Jesus Film translation for a small Muslim country that they’d been praying for. Can you guess the cost? The price tag for the translation was exactly $30,000!

Engage the Heart

So what gets clients more excited about giving than accumulating?

We believe it begins with effective discipleship and recognizing that participation in the Great Commission is far more valuable than the accumulation of excess resources. One of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits today is establishing a connection with donors. If your ministry or cause is unfamiliar to donors, it’s very important to share your vision and story, and help relate the ministry to donors’ own personal experiences.

By building an authentic, personal relationship and inviting and encouraging direct involvement, organizations like yours can help donors cultivate a vision for their personal giving that engages them at the heart level. Generosity, after all, is a product of emotion and the heart.

Understand What Drives Donor Behavior

Once you have their hearts, you’ll need to convince their heads.

But how you convey data is important. In early 2010, Hope Consulting’s “Money for Good” research studied the motivations and preferences of 4,000 individual donors. In 2011, in partnership with Guidestar, Hope Consulting then released “Money for Good II,” which is a deeper dive into donor behavior. This study included a survey of more than 5,000 individuals, 800 philanthropic advisors, and 700 foundation grant-makers.

Although conducted several years ago, we believe the key takeaways are still very relevant today:

  1. Give donors only the information and data they need. Don’t make them wade through excess information.
  2. Show the impact of donations. More than half of the respondents were looking for information on use of funds, legitimacy, and mission.
  3. Follow-up. Donors want to ensure that nonprofits are using their donations appropriately.

In Summary

Giving can be contrary to human nature, so it’s important to understand the task at hand when ministries reach out to the hearts of donors. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal: to expand His kingdom work with the time and resources we’re given while we are here. It’s our responsibility as Christians to be good stewards of our financial resources.

At Ronald Blue Trust, we seek to provide clients with financial strategies based on biblical wisdom to free up resources to allow for a more generous life. If you would like for us to meet with your donors, or for more information about our firm, please contact us at 800.987.2987, visit our website at www.ronblue.com or send an email to clientservices@ronblue.com.

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