EXPORT, PA — A new study from Grey Matter Research and Infinity Concepts explores monthly partner giving among evangelical Protestants, and projects nearly $2.4 billion annually in dependable income could come from prospective monthly partners.
The findings are detailed in The Sustainers: Exploring Monthly Donor Partnerships, a study of over 1000 American evangelical Protestants released today.
The research found that 58 percent of evangelicals gave to at least one charity or ministry outside of a local church in the last 12 months. Among these donors, 34 percent have signed up to give monthly to at least one organization. In the charitable world, these people are generally referred to as either sustainers or monthly partners.
Another 22 percent have previously been sustainers with a charitable organization, meaning 56 percent of all evangelical donors have experience as sustainers.
Evangelical donors are 27 percent more likely to be current sustainers than American donors in general.
Evangelicals with higher incomes, along with those who give more overall, are considerably more likely than other evangelicals to be sustainers. Those who are more spiritually engaged—read the Bible regularly, attend church regularly, etc.—are also substantially more likely than others to be sustainers with at least one charity or ministry. Pentecostal and Charismatic evangelicals are also much more likely than other evangelicals to be sustainers.
The study explored reasons for being a sustainer and for not being a sustainer.
“The main reasons for being a sustainer come down to three things: convenience, connection, and certainty,” explains Mark Dreistadt, founder and president of Infinity Concepts. “Convenience is that it’s easier for the donor or ensures they don’t neglect to give. Connection is that a monthly partnership demonstrates their commitment to the organization or helps them feel more connected to it. And certainty is not just for the donor, but that the organization has a dependable monthly income stream to fund its work,” Dreistadt continued.
Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research, notes the reason evangelical donors most commonly cite for not being sustainers is that the amount they can give varies from month to month. “Over half the non-sustainers say inconsistent finances cause them to avoid monthly partnerships,” Sellers notes. “The other major reason is that a third of them prefer to vary whom they support, rather than have an ongoing commitment with the same organization.”
Sellers noted some good news for charities and ministries in the findings. “Only 28 percent of evangelical donors cite trust issues as a reason they avoid being sustainers. This might be a reluctance to provide bank or credit card information to any organization, worries that they will not be able to get out of the program, or just not trusting any organization enough to make a monthly commitment.”
The report notes there are about 6.7 million evangelical Protestants who are ready prospects for sustainer relationships: they already give $200 or more annually to organizations outside of their church, and they do not cite inconsistent finances as an obstacle. If each of those donors signed up to give $30 a month ($1 per day) to just one organization, that would represent a dependable monthly income for charities and ministries of over $2.4 billion annually.
As Dreistadt stated, “Just thinking about what could be accomplished with over $2.4 billion each year should make ministries and charities take a hard look at whether they are forming the kinds of connections with donors that lead to monthly partnerships.”
For interviews, contact:
- Clem Boyd, Infinity Concepts: firstname.lastname@example.org, 724-930-4003, or
- Ron Sellers, Grey Matter Research: email@example.com, 602-684-6294
Definition of “Evangelical Protestant”
This study uses the definition of “evangelical” favored by the National Association of Evangelicals, based on four key spiritual beliefs.
About Infinity Concepts
Infinity Concepts has served clients worldwide for 20 years as America’s premier Christian brand communications agency and fundraising consultancy.
About Grey Matter Research
Grey Matter Research is a marketing research and consumer insights company with extensive experience serving the charitable and faith-based sectors.
Sources: Christian News Wire, New Study: Huge Income Potential to Charities from Evangelical Monthly Partner Prospects