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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Giving, Volunteering, and Religion

Our chapter on citizenship and civic culture discusses charity and voluntarism, along with their relationship to religion.  Gallup reports:
The 83% of Americans who say they have donated money in the past year represents those who donated to a religious organization, to another charitable cause, or to both. More specifically, 55% of Americans say they donated money to a religious organization, 75% donated to another charitable cause, and 47% donated to both.
The percentage who have donated to a religious organization is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, with faith-based giving falling nine percentage points since 2005. Donations to other types of charities have been flat since 2005, suggesting the decline in religious donations may be due more to the weakening of Americans' bonds with formal religious institutions rather than to the economy.

In terms of volunteering, 46% of Americans report having given their time to a religious organization and 49% to another type of charitable group. Sixty-five percent donated their time to at least one of these types, and 30% donated to both.
Alex Daniels writes at The Chronicle of Philanthropy:
The more important religion is to a person, the more likely that person is to give to a charity of any kind, according to new research released today.
Among Americans who claim a religious affiliation, the study said, 65 percent give to charity. Among those who do not identify a religious creed, 56 percent make charitable gifts.
About 75 percent of people who frequently attend religious services gave to congregations, and 60 percent gave to religious charities or nonreligious ones. By comparison, fewer than half of people who said they didn’t attend faith services regularly supported any charity, even a even secular one.
“If your goal is to connect with donors, it’s clear that one of the things that matters to them is their religious orientation,” says Shawn Landres, Jumpstart’s chief executive and a co-author of the report.