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Study: Religious Donors Don’t Plan to Cut Back

Despite the economic downturn, more than half of actively religious donors plan to give the same or more to charitable causes in 2009 as they did last year, a new survey shows.
Cygnus Applied Research, a Chicago-based international research firm, completed a survey of more than 17,000 U.S. donors to charitable causes in February. It found that 57 percent of actively religious donors said they expected to give more or the same amount to charitable causes as they did in 2008.
Researchers found that that more than a third (37 percent) of donors described themselves as “actively religious.” About a quarter (24 percent) said they were “not at all religious” and 38 percent said they were “somewhere in between.”
More than a quarter (28 percent) of the most religious donors who planned to increase or maintain their level of giving cited a sense of obligation. They said they would do so because they made commitments before the economy worsened and intended to stick with them.
The study found that 43 percent of actively religious respondents remained seriously committed to giving in the face of economic uncertainty, compared to 23 percent of those who were not religious at all.
“Religious conviction is the only relevant characteristic that statistically differentiates these highly committed donors from other respondents,” the study concluded.
About a quarter of actively religious donors said “it was too soon to tell” how much they would give in 2009; 17 percent said they expected to give less.
Last year, on average, actively religious donors gave considerably more to charitable causes than other donors surveyed. The average total donation by actively religious donors totaled $13,356, which was 16 percent more than the average total contribution of all donors.
The overall online survey of 17,365 donors has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.74 percentage points.
By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • pagansister

    I expect the amount of giving would depend on whether people still has a job or not…and if they can still pay their bills, and mortgages etc. My mortgage would come first. Food and shelter would certainly come first. Those who haven’t been affected and can still give what they pledged…is good.

  • nnmns

    I can imagine a person, knowing that some folks would have to give less, if they could would give more to their charities, whatever their natures.

  • jestrfyl

    I would NEVER ask or expect anyone to endanger their housing or health in order to give to the church. In fact, I have discovered that when people cannot give money, they are very generous with their time. This is not as easily quantified, but just as significant. We have not taken as deep a hit as many churches. But those who have had to cut their giving have been just as welcome, just as present, and just as important as they have ever been.
    Of course, I do not know and do not want to know how much any member or friend of our church gives. But as their pastor I have a good idea how each household is doing. I also am well aware of how our contributions and donations are doing. It is not hard to make some connections, but I try also never to make assumptions.

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