The new Giving USA Special Report on Giving to Religion reaffirms earlier research findings relative to religious faith and giving. Households with a religious affiliation give on average $1590 to charitable causes, households with no religious affiliation give on average $695 to charitable causes. While attendance at a house of worship is declining, people who attend once a month give an average of $1,737 more to religion than people who attend less regularly. One of the most insightful findings of the study is that younger people of faith and religious practice  give to religion at a rate similar to that of earlier generations. This suggests that generational differences in giving may be less about the “generation” and more about a commitment to religious faith and practice.

What does this imply? Thad Austin, a doctoral student at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Fellow at the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, writes: “If religious practitioners desire to increase charitable giving among any generation they will focus on the spiritual formation and involvement of their parishioners. For religious leaders, money and giving conversations can neither be ignored nor separated from larger issues of spiritual development and religious life.” I say “Amen!”

The report is based on the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Panel Study (PPS) which tracks more than 9,000 individuals’ and families’ giving and the factors influencing those practices throughout their lives. See: Giving USA Special Reporton Giving to Religion and Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Religious Affiliation and Engagement Remain Vital.    

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