What motivates people to give? (2019 Congregational Survey)

One question in the Fall 2019 congregational survey asked “what motivates you to give?” The survey results told us one thing, and the focus groups told us another.

Across all age groups, the number one response to this survey question was “belief in the mission.” I take that to mean that people will give when they feel like the organization is doing something meaningful and in alignment with their personal values. We will have further work to do to see if people clearly understand the mission of SOTV, and if they feel it is meaningful and in alignment with their values.

During focus groups, we had a lot more discussion about what “give” means. On the survey, the “give” question followed the “participate” question, so I assume people saw “giving” as a financial question. I don’t know that for sure. During focus groups, when we took that question out of order, we had several people ask if it was meant to ask about giving their time or money. I was surprised to hear many people said it was easier to give their money (and money people gave to a variety of causes), but more difficult to give of their time. Hmmm. The Stewardship Leadership Team, focused on giving time, talent, and treasure, will probably have fun with this one.

Interestingly, the only age group that did not choose “belief in the mission” as their primary reason to give was our high schoolers. They chose “to impact the community,” which was way down the list for all other age groups. What can this teach us? And are we willing to learn? The number one reason that people valued connection to church was to “pass on faith,” so I think it’s critical that we listen.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts with me at kari.slotten@sotv.org.