Church Giving – The 55/45 Rule

55-45Leadership Network recently published an insightful article by Chris Willard and Warren Bird focused on giving metrics in the context of congregational ministry.  This piece mentions something I think should be called the 55/45 rule.

This rule comes from research conducted by David Thoroughman, CEO of the donor analytics firm MortarStone.  Thoroughman found that, on average, 99% of a congregation’s funding comes from giving units that give $200 or more a year but only 55% of all attendees give at least $200 a year.  In other words, 99% of the congregation funding comes from 55% of the active participants.

So What?

While the percentage of those participating who are unable to donate $200 or more a year (less than $4 a week!) varies widely, in most congregations far more than 55% of those who are involved are financially able to give at this level.  I have been involved in a fair amount of fundraising training over the years including some focused on congregational giving.  I don’t, however, recall any great wisdom for motivating and mobilizing the 45%.

I want to hear how your congregation has and/or is working to grow the percentage of active participants who financially support the congregation.

  • In your current congregation, what percentage of giving units (households) give less than $200 per year?  What percentage of the congregation’s annual budget is derived from giving by this group? Does your leadership board or stewardship team or other group set goals for increasing this percentage with each annual giving campaign?
  • What has helped? Share any stories of experiences you have found helpful in engaging (and lowering!) the 45%.



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