Genesis: The Beginnings of The Giving Crowd
TGC Origin Story
You may not know it, but we’re in the middle of a giving movement — a movement driven by the dedication of individuals who want to change the world with their resources. We’re here to serve these amazing heroes — The Giving Crowd. Their story is our story.
Over and over again, the American people have proven themselves to be the most generous people on the planet in terms of charitable contributions.
But their views on generosity have changed significantly over the years.
For one, people view charities, houses of worship, and other nonprofit organizations differently than they did before — insisting on seeing a return on their charitable investment rather than being content giving for giving’s sake.
Their view of their own role in giving is changing too.
Now they take it personally. This is their cause. Their fight. Their crusade.
And the organizations they give to are merely extensions of themselves which they arm with resources to get the job done they care about.
Their view of the gift itself is also changing.
The Digital Age has introduced new forms of giving that didn’t exist before. Think…
- Text giving
- Social media fundraising
- Peer-to-peer fundraising
- Crowdfunding campaigns
Technologies like these are changing how people think of the resources they have at their disposal — including their ultimate resource…themselves.
Now volunteerism is in somewhat of a revival as people are realizing that “sweat equity” is many times more useful than a check.
Cause advocacy has also been emerging for decades now as people are using social media shares, likes, comments, blogs, and video blogs (vlogs) to spread awareness about causes they care about.
Technology has enabled more people to be involved in their causes than ever before.
Yet there still was an insurmountable wall in front of middle-class Americans who wanted to give in ways that were more long-term and effective.
They don’t have a multi-million dollar investment portfolio. They’re not the heirs of a vast fortune. So they were limited to current cash-based gifts.
The most common alternative at the time — planned giving — wasn’t much of a solution for most people.
Life-long givers were quickly becoming a growing crowd of people stuck in the gap between giving cash-based gifts faithfully but not having enough to leave an endowment.
So how could they give in the highly impactful way in which they were moved to give?
Planned giving expert, Greg Ring, saw this gap clearly growing in his work of over 30 years establishing healthy legacy giving programs in nonprofit organizations.
Greg opened up to colleague Richard Blackmon, a fundraising veteran of 20 years with experience in current gifts, about the barriers in front of today’s middle-class donor and the high impact gifts they wished they could give.
Together, they began looking for a way to get more people involved in non-cash giving — to move generosity to a new place.
They were inspired by the idea of providing a better way for churches and nonprofits to offer planned giving and non-cash giving options to their supporters.
“We knew that if we helped donors engage in life stewardship, rather than just momentary stewardship, we’d help people find ways to resource the Kingdom long after they’ve left this life behind.”
Several big questions moved them to find a new approach to giving that would bring about more generous outcomes for both the donors and organizations.
- How can we make Planned Giving easier for the nonprofit?
- Can we make Planned Giving cash-flow positive for them?
- How can we serve both mid-level donors and high-wealth donors?
- How can organizations bring real value to their donors instead of asking them for stuff all the time?
The Giving Crowd was born out of Greg and Richard’s search for a new model to serve donors in helping them glorify God.
This meant helping donors glorify God with everything they had to give, not just the cash they had at the moment, while helping them avoid burdensome taxes on their non-cash assets.
The Giving Crowd would serve both nonprofits and donors through breakthrough technology, top-notch consulting, and easy-to-understand curriculum.
To make this happen, Greg and Richard began looking for someone who could help them develop a scalable way to help millions of donors explore new giving options that make an impact while still blessing their heirs and avoiding taxes.
They found Steve Caton, an experienced leader in leveraging technology “to release assets for the Kingdom — either people or financial or some other resource that God wanted to use.”
For the previous eight years, Steve had helped ministry tech innovator, Church Community Builder, to serve more pastors in connecting, discipling, and growing their congregations.
“My career journey has taken me through various positions that were all centered around using technology to release assets for the Kingdom, either people or financial or some other resource that God wanted to use.”
With the belief that the work Greg and Richard were doing fit beautifully with his passions and experience, Steve transitioned off the Church Community Builder team and joined The Giving Crowd in April 2016.
The story of The Giving Crowd is the story of moving more generous people into a new kind of crowd.
- This crowd knows that giving means more than responding to annual fund or capital campaigns.
- That generosity means more than tossing more into the basket.
- That legacy means more than an inheritance plan.
By empowering this giving movement, The Giving Crowd has the potential of changing the way church and nonprofit leaders are funding Kingdom ministries.
“We’ve got a huge opportunity to re-frame the conversation around giving and planning and stewardship. I really want to help churches and nonprofits experience the possibilities of an asset-driven generosity strategy.”
Greg, Richard, and Steve bring together a unique blend of skills and experience in giving tech, consulting services, and fundraising education.
They’ve dedicated themselves to help churches and nonprofits find more generous outcomes by helping donors discover legacy giving and non-cash giving options that free them to make the Kingdom impact they desire to have.
So there you have it — our story really is their story.
The Giving Crowd is here to help you and your donors be the most generous version of themselves and move what matters most to us all.