People who describe themselves as religious give twice as much money to charity than do those without a faith, according to research by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
Results from CAF’s 2011 Market Tracker Report indicate that the average amount given to charity by those who are religious was £576 over the previous twelve months, compared to the £235 contributed by those of no faith.
The research for the report involved asking 507 donors giving at least £50 to charity a year some questions about their charitable habits.
Who do religious donors give to?
The beneficiaries of religious donors’ gifts covered a range of charitable organisations: only 31% of religious donors said that they had given money to a religious activity in the past year. Indeed, their support of causes was similar to those for the rest of the population, with 68% donating to medical charities and 48% to overseas aid. These were also the two most popular choices for those of no faith.
CAF Director of Research Richard Harrison commented: “These results not only show that those of faith are more generous to charity in general, but that their giving is not uniquely focused on their own religious activities. If anything, people of faith broadly give in line with the rest of the general public – to a variety of different appeals.”
Meaning of religious?
The term ‘religious’ can of course cover a range of views, beliefs and practices. In the CAF research, only 51% of those claiming to be a certain faith agreed that they ‘had strong religious beliefs’. The remaining participants either disagreed (6%) or didn’t specify an answer.
Nevertheless, Harrison concluded: “The survey shows that there is a link between associating with a religion and charitable behaviour, even when people aren’t actively practising their faith”.
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