Christian-based Charity Giving: Trends
The largest share of the $428 billion worth of charitable giving in the U.S. in 2018 was donated to religion (29%, which equated to $125 billion). Accordingly, most of our findings pertain to church giving because religion is the top recipient of all U.S. charitable giving. Four trends in Christian-based charity giving in the U.S. include Millennials making "meaningful" gifts, giving to children and youth purposes, giving tithe money to Christian ministries, and the fact that most church-goers give to their churches.
Christian Millennials Like to Make "Meaningful" Gifts
- Millennials give more money when they are encouraged "to make a 'meaningful' gift rather than a 'generous' one."
- A research study conducted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability surveyed over "16,500 people who had recently donated to 17 of its member ministries" and found interesting insights about Millennials' giving patterns. The study surveyed Millennials and people ages 35 and over.
- Among Christian Millennial first-time givers, 69% felt hopeful from giving, in contrast to the 60% of people 35+ who reported the same.
- Among Christian Millennial first-time givers, 45% felt generous from giving, compared to the 25% of people 35+ who felt that way.
- Among Christian Millennial first-time givers, 18% felt spontaneous from giving, in contrast to the 11% of people 35+ who reported the same.
- What's more, the survey found that Christian Millennial first-time givers were "more likely to feel every emotion . . . asked about."
- As the public population ages, it seems likely this trend will impact Christian-based charity solicitation.
Christians Give Most for Children & Youth Causes
- A podcast episode titled "7 Church Giving Trends to Watch in 2019" discussed the top causes receiving Christian donations.
- The podcast episode is just over 13 minutes long and contains a lot of interesting content.
- The most relevant information is discussed beginning at the 4:46 minute mark.
- A 2018 Giving USA report surveyed 2,744 Christian donors.
- That survey identified the top causes that Christians give to. Those causes and the percentages of Christian donors who gave to them are as follows: Children & Youth (17%); Faith & Spirituality (11%); Health & Wellness (11%); Animals & Wildlife (10%); and Human & Social Services (8%).
- This trend is impacting Christian-based charity giving by increasing funding for children and youth purposes and thus lowering funding for other purposes.
3. Giving Tithes to Christian Ministries
- A 2018 article discussed giving statistics determined by a study conducted by LifeWay Research, which surveyed 1,010 people in the U.S. who go to nondenominational or Protestant churches on "at least [a] monthly" basis and 1,000 Senior Protestant pastors.
- That survey found that approximately half of the people said "they can give their tithes to a Christian ministry instead of a church."
- This trend is impacting Christian-based charity giving by increasing tithe-based funding for Christian ministries at the expense of church funding.
4. Most Church-Goers Give to Their Churches
- The LifeWay Research study referenced in section three above also analyzed giving behaviors among the same group of individuals.
- The study found that 54% of the people "give a tenth or more of their income to their church."
- One in five people reported that they give on a regular basis.
- Among those surveyed, 8% said that "their finances make it difficult to donate."
- A mere 2% of the individuals said they don't give "to their church."
- Other research has found that Christians give 2.5% of their income to churches. For reference, that number was 3.3% in the time of the Great Depression.
- This trend (the majority of church-goers giving to their churches) is impacting Christian-based charity giving by helping to maintain consistent funding for churches.
We identified the four trends included above by reviewing numerous articles about Christian-based charity giving from a wide variety of sources. As was explained in the introduction, many of our findings pertain to church giving because religion is the top recipient of all U.S. charitable giving. We categorized each of the above trends as trends because they were either expressly described as such by a reputable source or based on the supporting data clearly demonstrating the prevalence of such, thus making it a trend. All our findings are specific to the U.S. Furthermore, all our findings pertain to giving among Christians specifically and not faith-based giving in general (which much of the research was about).