4 Types of Giving

4 Types of Giving

by Bill High

When we think about giving, there are actually at least 4 different kinds.

Support Based

The first and most common is support-based giving. This kind of giving is all based upon some affiliation. We go to church, so we support the church. We belong to a soccer or baseball club, and we buy cookies to support the team. We support the ministry, the efforts of that organization. Organizations need support to carry on their missions. On the other hand, support-based giving can be inefficient because an organization may be unable to execute its mission.

Relationship Based

The second form of giving is relationship based. In essence, we have a relationship with a person in an organization, and we support that person. Sometimes support-based giving may overlap with relationship-based giving. For instance, you know the pastor, so you support the church. On the other hand, because your neighbor’s son is going to China, you support the son, even though you don’t know anything about China.


Direct giving is based upon a direct need. There is typically no organization involved. Our neighbor has cancer, so we bring a meal, or we give cash so she and her husband can have a night out. We see a need and respond. It is real—and immediate. Sometimes, individuals make use of Helping Hands to facilitate a direct gift to an individual.

Strategic or Initiative-Based Giving

This kind of giving is not necessarily based upon an organization or a relationship. It is not support based in nature. In fact, there may be no organization in existence at all. It is based upon giving to a strategy. For instance, a few years back, Mission Increase Foundation was created because the founder, Dale Stockamp, saw a gap in how ministries were being trained on fundraising. So he gave to start a new organization. This kind of strategic giving is based upon understanding who you are, and what you are called to do. If there is no road, then build one. If there is an existing organization, then make it better and more efficient.

Today, givers stay focused, typically, on support- or relationship-based giving. More and more, giving should turn to strategic, or initiative-based, giving. By so doing, we can create solutions to the ills of the world today.

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Published September 7, 2010

Topics: Giving Strategies

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