Study: Re­li­gious peo­ple giv­ing more to char­i­ties

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

Newly re­leased data show that the re­li­gious among us are more likely to give to char­i­ties than those who do not iden­tify with a faith tra­di­tion.

The data re­sult from the Phi­lan­thropy Panel Study, an on­go­ing project at the Univer­sity of In­di­ana’s Lilly Fam­ily School of Phi­lan­thropy that tracks U.S. house­hold giv­ing.

David King, direc­tor of the In­sti­tute on Faith & Giv­ing at the school, said the “Giv­ing USA Spe­cial Re­port on Giv­ing to Re­li­gion,” re­leased on Oct. 26 by The Giv­ing In­sti­tute, reaf­firms what many re­searchers in the field have long known: that there is a “sub­stan­tial con­nec­tion be­tween re­li­gion and giv­ing.”

“Re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion re­ally mat­ters,” Mr. King said. “Some­one with a re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion was more than two times more gen­er­ous than some­one with­out a re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion. And among those with a re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion, re­li­gious in­ten­sity re­ally mat­ters. Those who at­tend ser­vices were much more likely to give, whether it’s monthly or weekly. We re­ally see the con­nec­tion grow with con­tin­ued in­volve­ment in a re­li­gious com­mu­nity.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, re­li­giously af­fil­i­ated house­holds are much more likely than non­re­li­gious house­holds to do­nate to re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions de­fined in the re­port as con­gre­ga­tions, de­nom­i­na­tions, mis­sion­ary so­ci­eties and re­li­gious me­dia.

But re­li­gious peo­ple also con­trib­ute to other types of char­ity at sim­i­lar or higher rates than their sec­u­lar coun­ter­parts.

The re­port says there is a “stag­ger­ing dif­fer­ence be­tween the char­i­ta­ble giv­ing prac­tices of the re­li­giously af­fil­i­ated and those with no re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion.” While 62 per­cent of re­li­gious house­holds give to char­ity, only 46 per­cent of non­re­li­gious house­holds do.

On av­er­age, re­li­giously af­fil­i­ated house­holds do­nate $1,590 to char­ity an­nu­ally, while house­holds with no re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion con­trib­ute $695.

And in 2016 re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions re­ceived more than twice as much char­i­ta­ble giv­ing, $122.94 bil­lion, as any other in­dus­try in the non­profit sec­tor. The next-high­est cat­e­gory, ed­u­ca­tion, re­ceived $59.77 bil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions.

Re­li­gious giv­ing ac­counts for 32 per­cent of all U.S. char­i­ta­ble giv­ing, the study found, but that num­ber may un­der­es­ti­mate the in­flu­ence that re­li­gious be­lief has on char­ity.

The study used a nar­row def­i­ni­tion of “re­li­gious giv­ing” that does not in­clude do­na­tions to faith-based non­prof­its that pro­vide hu­man ser­vices, such as Catholic hos­pi­tals or uni­ver­si­ties.

Some stud­ies, us­ing a more ex­pan­sive def­i­ni­tion of “re­li­gious giv­ing,” have es­ti­mated that faith mo­ti­vates as much as 75 per­cent of all char­ity in the United States.

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