It is apparent that in Canada, there is a positive correlation between the level of religious involvement and charitable giving. The National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, conducted in 2000, provides a comprehensive look at the contributions Canadians make through gifts of time and money. This survey which was first conducted in 1997 is scheduled to be repeated in 2003.
In addition to several broad questions regarding volunteering, donating, and participation, the 2000 survey asks Canadians, “to report their religious affiliations and the frequency with which they attended religious services or meetings (excluding special occasions such as weddings, funerals or baptisms). They were also asked how religious they considered themselves to be” (Canada 20). The results of the survey gave us an indication of the relationship between religion and charitable giving. “Generally, religiosity – or level of religious commitment – is associated with a heightened incidence of charitable giving and larger donations, both to religious organizations and other types of charitable non-profit organizations” (Canada 20).
Not only are Canadians who stated that they had a religious affiliation more likely to make donations, but when they give they tend to give more. In fact, in 2000 people with a religious affiliation represent 87% of all charitable donations. These donors contributed an average of $296 throughout the year, while those donors with no religious affiliation contributed an average of $146.
In addition, the more often Canadians attend religious services, the more likely they are to make donations, and the more those donations are. While 90% of the Canadians who reported attending religious services weekly made an average donation of $577, 77% of those who did not attend services on a weekly basis contributed on average a mere $176. Those who considered themselves ‘very religious’ were again more likely to donate monetarily, and on average, to donate more. The 11% of the population who claimed to be ‘very religious’ made up 29% of all donations, and were more likely to give to religious and non-religious organizations.
|Average annual donation by religious affiliation, attendance at religious services and level of religious commitment, Canadians aged 15 and older || |
Although religious organizations received only 14% of the total amount of donations, they received 49% of the total value of donations – an amount that exceeded $2.4 billion. They were the largest beneficiary of charitable giving, followed by health organizations at a distant 20%.
|Distribution of the number of donations by type of organization, Canadians aged 15 and older || |
Canada. Statistics Canada. Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Highlights from the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. (Catalogue no. 71- 542-XIE) Ottawa: National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data, 2001.
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