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Giving fosters giving, study finds

24 February 2011

by Ed Thornton

PEOPLE who donate money to a church or other place of worship are more, not less, likely to give further money to charitable organisations, a new survey suggests. The findings indicate that churches and charities are not necessarily in competition for the “donor dollar”, as “giving fosters giving.”

Heart of the Donor, a study of just over 2000 American adults, commis­sioned by the fund-raising consul­tants Russ Reid, and conducted by Grey Matter Research, found that, among those questioned who had given money to a place of worship during the past 12 months, 54 per cent had also donated to one or more charities. Among those who had not finan­cially supported a place of worship, 28 per cent had given money to a charity.

The report concluded that “people who give to a place of worship are 93 per cent more likely to support char­itable organisations than those who don’t support a place of wor­ship.” It also suggested that “on average those who support a place of worship give 14 per cent more money to other non-profits than those who do not.”

“Rather than being in competi­tion for the donor dollar, it seems that giving fosters giving,” the president of Grey Matter Research, Ron Sellers, said.

The senior vice-president of Russ Reid, Lisa McIntyre, said: “Charit­able organisations can partner with places of worship to help both accomplish things they can’t ac­complish on their own. Many charit­able organisations have goals that people of faith can get behind, such as education, poverty relief, and health care, even if those causes are not specifically religious.”

She warned charities not to make “the leaders of congregations feel as though they’re just a giant blank check [cheque]”. They should com­municate “a shared vision” and help the churches “see the results of their financial help”, she said. “It’s far more than just fund-raising.”

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