4 Types of Donor Heart Response

4 Types Of Donor Heart Responses

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:3-8).

The parable of the four types of soil reveal different heart responses of 4 types of donors. Jesus’ message of forgiveness was the same for everyone, but not everyone could receive it. Your ministry faces these same reactions from potential donors.


This donor doesn’t resonate at all with your mission. Your message bounces off their heart and never takes root.


This donor makes an emotional response to your appeal but has no genuine connection to your mission and their support quickly fades.


This person receives your message and responds but has too many other concerns that prevent them from becoming a faithful supporter. Jesus comments on this soil, “but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).


This donor receives your message and responds generously. Some produce thirty, some sixty and some one hundred.

How should this inform us regarding our major donor strategy? We can spend lots of time cultivating relationships with those along the path, on rocky soil, or infested with thorns – yet none of these soils produce fruit. Instead, focus your efforts on those donors whose heart connects with yours.

One Christian university analyzed their million-dollar gifts and discovered that in almost every situation, the donor’s first gift was small, but their gifts grew as their relationship grew.


Spend your time in the right soil cultivating gifts that are thirty, so they grow into sixty, one hundred – or even a million.

Author: Ron Haas, The Timothy Group. Ron has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

Video Animator: Madison Bluhm, The Timothy Group


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