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Religious Groups High In US Giving Trends

18 November 2002 at 12:11 pm
Staff Reporter
Of the largest US coalitions of community organisations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, the INDEPENDENT SECTOR has released comprehensive report on Giving and Volunteering in the United States.

Staff Reporter | 18 November 2002 at 12:11 pm


Religious Groups High In US Giving Trends
18 November 2002 at 12:11 pm

Of the largest US coalitions of community organisations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, the INDEPENDENT SECTOR has released comprehensive report on Giving and Volunteering in the United States and religious organisations are the big winners.

Americans donate time and money to a multitude of causes and charities, from their local arts institutions and religious congregations to international causes such as hunger relief and human rights.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR’s Giving and Volunteering in the United States presents a comprehensive study on the philanthropic behaviour of Americans providing a detailed look into the attitudes and motivating factors of households that give and individuals who volunteer and explores the links between giving and volunteering.

The study gives precise breakdowns on giving and volunteering patterns by the demographics of age, gender, race, household income, education, marital status and organisational type, and examines motivating factors such as childhood experiences and the influence of faith in decisions to give and volunteer.

Interestingly the study also presents quantitative data on the reasons why some households do not donate time or money to charitable organisations. Data for the study was collected in the spring and summer of 2001.

Giving and Volunteering reports that:

 69 percent of contributing households give to religion, 43 percent of households give to health organisations, 39 percent to human services and 38 percent to youth services;
 58 percent of all respondents give because they feel they owe something to the community;
 Religious organisations receive over a quarter of all volunteering hours; and
 Volunteers give the most time on average to environmental and youth service organisations at 26 hours per month followed by education organisations at 18 hours. Environmental organisations attract fewer volunteers (4.8%), but they give more hours than almost all other volunteers.

Sara E. Meléndez, President and CEO, of INDEPENDENT SECTOR says
the survey notes the effect that household income plays in contributions.

She says as previous Giving and Volunteering surveys have proved, household contributions increase as income increases, but lower income groups give a higher percentage of their income to charities.

The tendency of people to volunteer also increases with household income growth. For example, one in four people from US households with incomes of less than $US25,000 volunteered in the past year, while more than one in two from households with incomes of $US75,000 or more volunteered.

Households that contribute to charity also display a sense of empowerment that is not represented as strongly in non-contributing households.

Eighty-six percent of contributing households believe they have the power to do things to improve the welfare of others, while 73 percent of non-contributing households hold this belief.

Yet 82 percent of households that do not give have a strong belief in the government’s responsibility to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves, compared to 73 percent of giving households.

Gordon Green, vice president of research, for the INDEPENDENT SECTOR says the study provides the who, why, and how of philanthropy by giving a thorough examination of the various aspects of giving and volunteering.

The Giving and Volunteering in the United States 2001 survey is the seventh in a series of biennial national surveys by INDEPENDENT SECTOR.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of more than 700 national organisations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the US. Its mission is to promote, strengthen, and advance the non-profit and philanthropic community to foster private initiative for the public good.

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