From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Donors to Religion are More Generous Overall, Study Finds

From "Nat'l Council of Churches" <>
Date Thu, 27 Jun 2002 14:11:53 -0400

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Faith and Philanthropy Report Shows Donors to Religion Are More Generous
New Report Measures Impact of Faith-Based Giving and Volunteering

June 27, 2002, NEW YORK CITY -- A new report released today by Independent
Sector and the National Council of Churches details the extraordinary
philanthropy of Americas givers to religion. Faith and Philanthropy: The
Connection Between Charitable Behavior and Giving to Religion reveals that
households that give to religion are the bedrock of giving to the nations
nonprofit organizations. Households that give to both religious and secular
causes give more money and volunteer more than households that give to only
one type of organization.

Nearly 70 percent of households give to religious congregations. Households
that give to both religious congregations and secular organizations give
over three times ($2,247) more than do households that give to only secular
organizations ($623).

Faith and Philanthropy explores the links between faith and charitable
giving and illustrates how the values and beliefs of religious-giving
households influence their decisions to make donations and volunteer to all
types of nonprofit organizations.

7	Fifty-two percent (52%) of all households give to both religious
congregations and secular organizations, but those households account for 81
percent of all donations;
7	Households that give to both types of institutions give more to religion
($1,391) compared to households that only give to religion ($1,154); and
7	Fifty-five percent (55%) of dual-giving households give to at least two
other kinds of organizations.
The extraordinary generosity of religious givers knows very few
 boundaries, said Sara E. Melindez, president and CEO of Independent
Sector. Donors to religion are more generous than those who give only to
secular organizations. This research clearly demonstrates that their giving
to religion does not detract from giving to secular causes but inspires them
to give to all causes, added Dr. Melindez.

The Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, NCC deputy general secretary for research
and planning, commented that the findings corroborate and extend the
research results weve observed over several decades.  They are remarkable
not only in their strength but also in their consistency across income,
region and field of giving.  This fine study cries out for more of the same.
The well-being of our society and our world requires that we understand and
foster generosity.

Robert W. Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches,
board member of Independent Sector, and author of the foreword of the
report, said he was not surprised that people who give both to religious
congregations and secular organizations give more than people who give only
to secular organizations, because in our traditions we learn the concept of
stewardship, philanthropy and giving.   But the gap was greater than I had

In our houses of worship, we hear over and over again that it is more
blessed to give than to receive, he said.   We also hear stories about
how giving makes a difference.

As the role of the religious community is being debated in the public
policy arena through faith-based initiatives, Faith and Philanthropy offers
new incentive for religious leaders to expand their congregants capacity
for even more generosity and civic involvement, Dr. Edgar added.

7	Distribution of Donations by Givers to Religion by Subsectors
The top five secular recipients of giving by religion donors are: health,
human services, youth development, education, and arts and culture.
Fifty-three percent (53%) of givers to religion also donate an average
yearly contribution of $249 to health organizations such as hospitals.
Forty-seven percent (47%) donate an average of $336 to human service
organizations. For every cause, the vast majority of support for secular
organizations is given by households that also give to religion. For
instance, 78 percent of all contributions to education come from givers to
religion. And 74 percent of individual support to arts and culture comes
from households that give to religion.
7	Giving by Region
Among all contributing households, the highest average annual contribution
comes from households in the West, about 45 percent greater than the average
in the Northeast ($1,889 to $1,298). Givers in the West also donate the
highest contribution ($929) to secular organizations. Over 92 percent of
Midwest households give to religious congregations, followed by 88 percent
of Southern households, 87 percent of Northeast households and 79 percent of
households in the West.
7	Volunteering by Religious and Secular Givers
People who volunteer with both religious and secular organizations also give
more time to organizations than those who volunteer with either kind alone.
Approximately one in ten Americans are dual volunteers, and their time makes
up 30 percent of all volunteering hours. Over 54 percent of all volunteers
serve only at secular organizations, 25 percent volunteer at religious
congregations only and 20 percent volunteer at both. Faith and Philanthropy
shows the striking difference in volunteering rates between those who only
volunteer at religious congregations versus those who volunteer at both
religious and secular institutions. Volunteers who serve at religious
congregations give an average of 10 hours per month. Volunteers who give
time to both give an average of 23 hours a month.
Faith and Philanthropy: The Connection Between Charitable Behavior and
Giving to Religion is based on analysis from Independent Sectors Giving
and Volunteering in the United States, 2001 national telephone survey of
4,200 adults.

Faith and Philanthropy is available for $15.95 for Independent Sector
members and $19.95 for non-members plus shipping and handling. To order call
1-888-860-8118 or log on to
<> .

Independent Sector is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of more than 700
national organizations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs,
collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every
state across the nation. Its mission is to promote, strengthen, and advance
the nonprofit and philanthropic community to foster private initiative for
the public good.

The National Council of Churches, founded in 1950, is the leading
organization in the movement for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in
the United States. The NCC's 36 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox member
communions and denominations include more than 50 million persons in 140,000
local congregations in communities across the nation.


Media Contacts: Carla Bundy or Patricia Nash, Independent Sector,
202-467-6100, <>
Carol Fouke or Pat Pattillo, National Council of Churches, 212-870-2227, <>

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