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What about giving?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010  | Redina Kolaneci, Senior Fundraising & Stewardship Consultant, McConkey-Johnston international UK

What follows is part of a report on the giving habits of evangelical Christians in the United Kingdom. Undoubtedly, many of the report’s findings would pertain to the Australian scene.

In order to help church and Christian charity leaders in the UK to engage effectively with their supporters and release more resources for Kingdom work McConkey • Johnston international UK and the UK Evangelical Alliance conducted a survey of the attitudes and giving behaviour of evangelical donors as represented by the UK Evangelical Alliance constituency.

The statistical data and conclusions from this survey conducted in August/September 2009 with a random and representative sample of 2,000 UK Evangelical Alliance members, are included in a report titled: Why Christians Give? Understanding the hearts and minds of 21st century evangelical donors.

Evangelicals are generous givers

Nine out of ten evangelicals in this survey donated to their church and to charities in 2009. The average monthly amount donated by evangelical Christians is 11.5% of their household income of which 6.5% is given to local churches and another 5% to Christian charities. On the whole, giving to the local church continues to be higher on evangelical donor’s agenda than giving to charities.

Faith impacts giving decisions
The majority of evangelical donors see themselves as people who are using their faith to shape their everyday life including their charitable giving decisions. 74% of evangelicals consider their faith crucial in decision making while 73% of them find their faith relevant every day.

Evangelicals are not taught consistently about giving
Evangelicals today are receiving an array of mixed messages about giving. What’s more, we noted a lack of teaching about stewardship in two out of ten congregations.
Tithing is not being actively taught in local churches. Also, although some church leaders are emphasizing proportional giving in reality we do not know whether they are saying to their congregations ‘give what you can afford’ or challenging their members to give sacrificially.

Evangelical donors like being online as much as they like to read
Surfing the net is one of the top leisure time activities of evangelical donors yet, few of them are donating online or using social network sites like facebook or twitter.

Causes supported by evangelical donors
The top three causes supported by evangelicals in a typical month are: Christian outreach charities (83%), followed by international relief charities (59%) and healthcare and medical charities (31%).

Regular giving is an evangelical’s favourite way of giving
A decade ago giving by cheque was by far the most popular way of giving followed by giving by standing orders and CAF accounts. Today, we see a significant increase in giving by direct debits and standing orders, while giving by cheque remains almost at the same level it was ten years ago.

The rise of legacy giving
Four out of ten evangelical donors stated that they had included a charity or a church in their will. And, we believe that there is no reason why this number should not increase in the future.

Trustworthiness and transparency are key motivators for giving
The most compelling reasons for giving according to our survey are: trust in a charity’s effectiveness and transparency about how the money is used, followed by donors having some kind of first-hand experience of a charity’s work and personal interest in the people or the area where the charity is helping.

Good relationships at the heart of giving
Most evangelical donors desire a relationship with the charities they support. Evangelical donors like being in a relationship with charities that tell them how the money is being spent, that appreciated their support and do not send them too many financial appeals.

Staying in touch with their favourite charities
Four things appeared to prompt nearly half of the evangelical donors to take a stronger interest in a charity’s work. They were: being asked to pray regularly for a charity’s work, allowing the donors to determine how and when they hear from the charity, receiving excellent donor care and being asked to respond to urgent financial needs.

The recession has impacted evangelicals giving
One in four evangelical donors stated that their giving has been impacted by the recession. While most evangelicals are keeping their regular giving commitment some of them are making fewer one-off donations in response to appeals and nearly half of them are not taking on new giving opportunities.

For more of the report go to: www.mcconkey-johnston.co.uk/researchongiving

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