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Photo by Bayu Prayuda on Unsplash
Photo by Bayu Prayuda on Unsplash
Church News

New study reveals untapped giving potential among UK Christians

by Lydia Davies

New research suggests there's significant "untapped" potential for charitable giving among the UK's practising Christians, with the possibility of contributing thousands more annually to various causes.

The study, initiated by the Christian charity Stewardship and conducted by Whitestone Insight, aimed to explore the disparity between existing and potential generosity among UK Christians to gain insight into the nation's Christian giving habits.

According to the research, practising Christians in the UK have the potential to donate an average of £2,784 annually to charitable initiatives, substantially exceeding the current average by over three and a half times.

During a survey conducted between 9th and 16th November 2023, involving 4,056 Christian adults and 15 in-depth interviews, Whitestone Insight discovered that UK Christians typically donate £73 monthly (£876 annually) to both Christian and secular causes. This amounts to 3.2 per cent of their post-tax income, which is £8 more per month than the national average donation of £65 reported by all UK citizens in the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) UK Giving Report 2023.

Practising Christians, defined as those who engage in church activities and Bible reading at least once a month, were found to contribute an average of £167 monthly or 6.3 per cent of their income. This figure is £102 higher than CAF's reported average.

The Stewardship report noted that if every Christian practised tithing, donating 10 per cent of their income after tax, the total contribution would increase to an average of £232 per month (£2,784 annually).

Regular churchgoers were found to be more than twice as likely to donate, with 71 per cent contributing monthly across all Christian causes. This contrasts with just 28 per cent of cultural Christians, those who identify as Christian but seldom attend church, making similar contributions.

It was revealed that trust levels also play a crucial role in donation habits. Around 76 per cent of regular donors trust their church significantly, compared to only 16 per cent who have minimal trust.

For Christian charities, trust levels stood at 51 per cent for those who have a lot of trust versus 33 per cent for those with little trust.

The study identified two primary obstacles to giving: financial constraints and scepticism regarding how donations are utilised.

Half of the respondents felt they couldn't afford additional contributions, while 20 per cent were concerned about excessive administrative spending by churches or charities. Additionally, 15 per cent doubted that their donations were being effectively used by recipients.

The report concluded that increased engagement with faith and transparent communication from charities can help bridge this gap by building trust and demonstrating the impact of donations on supported causes.

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