Report reveals untapped giving potential among UK Christians

21 Jun 2024 News

By doidam10, Adobe

Unlocking the latent giving potential among practising Christians in the UK could release thousands more per person every year for charitable causes, according to new research.

Christian charity Stewardship commissioned Whitestone Insight to look at the gap between current and potential levels of generosity and better understand the UK Christian giving landscape.

Its report finds that some practising UK Christians could give an average of £2,784 per year to charity, which is more than 3.5 times the current level.

Christians give £73 monthly

Whitestone Insight surveyed 4,056 Christian adults between 9 and 16 November 2023 and gathered data from 15 in-depth interviews. 

The report finds that Christians in the UK give on average £73 a month (£876 a year) across Christian and secular causes, which equates to 3.2% of their income after tax. 

This is £8 more per month than the £65 reportedly given by all citizens to UK charities, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) UK Giving Report 2023

Practising Christians – defined in the report as those who attend church and read the Bible at least once a month – give on average £167 a month, or 6.3% of their income, and £102 more than the average in CAF’s report.

Stewardship’s report says: “If every Christian adopted the biblical principle of tithing – which is defined in this report as giving 10% of income after tax across all causes – the total amount being given to all causes would be an average of £232 each a month [£2,784 a year].”

Regular church attendance doubles propensity to give

The report finds that regular church attendance more than doubles the propensity to give. 

Some 71% of practising and church-going Christians (those who attend church but read the Bible independently less than once a month) give monthly across all Christian causes.

This “may be partly due to the spiritual impact of regular church attendance and Bible reading”, the report says.

In comparison, 28% of cultural Christians (those who identify as Christians but attend church less than once a month) do the same.

The report also finds that those who trust their church “a lot” are much more likely to be regular donors across all causes.

Nearly eight in 10 (76%) of those who give across all Christian causes at least once a month trust their church “a lot”, compared with 16% of those who trust their church “a little”. 

When looking at trusting Christian charities, 51% who trust them “a lot” and 33% who trust them “a little” give regularly across all Christian causes.

Barriers to giving

The report says that there are two main barriers to giving, namely people feeling unable to afford to give and a lack of trust that donations will be used well. 

Indeed, half of the survey’s respondents said they cannot afford to start giving or give more while 20% said too much of any donation could be spent by the church or charity on administration rather than beneficiaries.

Another 15% cited a lack of confidence that recipients spend donated money well. 

The report reads: “This research confirms that there is currently a gap between what UK Christians currently give and what they could give.

“The more engaged Christians are with their faith and the causes they support – especially when those causes build trust with regular, transparent communication that helps their donors understand the tangible impact of their support – the more the gap closes.”

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