Practising Christians give more to charity, report reveals

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A recent report by the Christian charity Stewardship highlights the significant untapped giving potential among practising Christians in the UK. The findings suggest that if this potential is fully realised, it could generate thousands more per person annually for charitable causes.

Current giving landscape

The study surveyed 4,056 Christian adults in November 2023 and conducted 15 in-depth interviews to understand the current state and potential of charitable giving within the UK Christian community. The data reveals that UK Christians currently donate an average of £73 per month (£876 annually), which accounts for 3.2% of their post-tax income. This is slightly higher than the £65 monthly average reported by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) for the general UK population.

Potential for increased giving

Practising Christians, who are defined in the report as those attending church and reading the Bible at least once a month, exhibit a higher level of generosity. On average, they give £167 monthly, amounting to 6.3% of their income. This is £102 more per month than the general average.

The report posits that if all Christians adhered to the biblical principle of tithing - giving 10% of their post-tax income - their contributions could rise to £232 per month or £2,784 annually. This figure is more than 3.5 times the current average donation.

Factors influencing generosity

Regular church attendance and Bible reading significantly boost the propensity to give. The report notes that 71% of practising and church-going Christians donate monthly to Christian causes, compared to only 28% of cultural Christians, who attend church less frequently.

Trust in religious institutions also plays a critical role. Among those who trust their church "a lot", 76% donate regularly, in stark contrast to the 16% who trust their church "a little". Similarly, those who have high trust in Christian charities are more likely to give consistently.

Barriers to increased giving

Despite the potential, there are notable barriers to increased generosity. About 50% of respondents cite financial constraints as a significant barrier to giving more, while 20% are concerned that a large portion of their donations may be consumed by administrative costs rather than reaching beneficiaries. Additionally, 15% lack confidence in how their donations are used by recipients.

Closing the gap

The Stewardship report underscores the importance of building trust through transparent communication and demonstrating the tangible impact of donations. It concludes that greater engagement with faith and clearer communication from charitable organisations could help close the gap between current and potential giving.

This research reveals a considerable opportunity for increased charitable donations within the UK Christian community, emphasising the need for better engagement and trust-building efforts to unlock this dormant potential.