October-14-Segmenting

3 Reasons Why Churches Should Segment Their Givers

Church leaders don’t often think about segmenting their church’s givers, either due to a simple lack of awareness or a fear of minimizing the individuality of those they shepherd. Instead, they frequently focus on either an annual number or a year-to-date number, often in comparison to the prior year’s giving.

While that number and comparison certainly has value to it, they do not provide a full picture of a church’s giving. A church’s total giving may be greater than the prior year, but discipleship challenges and concerning trends can still exist. And this is why it’s important to segment your givers.

A church’s total giving may be greater than the prior year, but discipleship challenges and concerning trends can still exist.

Segmenting is grouping givers based on their giving amount, frequency, or longevity. As an example, this is what segmenting based on amount given could look like:

Segment 1: $1 – $250
Segment 2: $251 – $1,000
Segment 3: $1,001 – $10,000
Segment 4: $10,001 – $25,000
Segment 5: $25,001 and greater

The people in our churches are, without question, individual souls and segments sometimes seem to run against this. But don’t throw out the idea of segmenting givers just yet. Segmenting givers can actually help with the care of members and church health.

1. Segmenting can improve communication.

Should you communicate with a new giver in the same way you communicate with a ten-year giver? Should you communicate to someone who regularly gives in the same way you communicate with someone who sporadically gives three or four times per year? Should you communicate the same with someone who gives $25 per year and another who gives $25,000 per year? While some messages should certainly overlap, most acknowledge that there are times when different messages are needed for these various segments. Segmenting allows churches to communicate precisely, improve receptivity, and increase impact.

2. Segmenting can improve discipleship.

Segmenting for discipleship is nothing new. Churches regularly vary their approaches to discipleship to fit a person’s life stage, spiritual maturity, or various other factors. Likewise, discipling someone on generosity looks different for a new giver than a mature giver. Different discipleship approaches are sometimes only taken for those with significant wealth. But, in God’s Kingdom, no one is greater than another. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. But varying discipleship approaches can help meet every church member and giver where they are, and segmenting can assist church leaders to do just that.

3. Segmenting can improve the identification of concerning trends.

Are church members increasingly drifting into the sporadic, instead of the consistent giving segment? Is the number of new givers not maintaining pace with the growth of the church? Is annual giving dominated by a handful of givers in the top segment? Trends like these are important to identify. They can help church leaders adjust to the spiritual needs of the church. They can also alert church leaders to the dangerous predicament of relying on only a few giving units for the vast majority of the budget.

Most church leaders understand their church’s giving at a high level, but there is significant value to digging deeper into the data and developing segments. Segmenting givers based on amount, frequency, and longevity (and maybe even some cross-segmenting) can assist with better communication, discipleship, and identification of trends. Segment your church’s giving data and consider how the information can assist your church’s present and future.

Art Rainer
Art Rainer

Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity, and is the author of The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money. Art lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

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