Evangelical Christians tend to give more to charity than their peers, according to a new study by the Barna Group.
The study finds that 79 percent of evangelical Christians gave money to a church or charity last year, while 65 percent have donated items and 60 percent volunteered their time. Only 1 percent of evangelicals say they donated nothing at all, which beats the national rate (13 percent) and the rate among those who claim no faith at all (25 percent).
“A person’s religious identification has a lot to do with whether or not they donate to causes they believe in,” the study said.
The study concluded that Americans support churches and non-profits about equally. Of those who gave in the last 12 months, 43 percent say most of their contributions went to a church, while 45 percent indicated a non-profit.
Evangelicals are least likely to give to a non-profit (28 percent), while about two-thirds of evangelicals (66 percent) who made charitable contributions gave to a church. Conversely, the study reported, 82 percent of atheist and agnostic donors gave to a non-profit, while only 4 percent gave to a church.
Evangelicals are also most likely to give relatively large amounts, while atheists and agnostics are more likely to give relatively small amounts.
The study found that the more financially secure donors felt, the more they were likely to give.
“For most Americans, giving is a luxury or a nice thing to do, but not typically viewed as a necessity,” the study said. “While the economy and donor outlook continue to show signs of improvement, it would be a tragedy if donors did not reevaluate the overall basis of their giving – that it’s not just an extra thing to do or for the tax benefits, but rediscovering the truest meaning of generosity.”