A wake-up call: how much are we really giving away?

Churchgoers are three times more likely to give over $1000 annually to charity and give a far higher percentage of their income than the average Australian. That’s according to recent research from Dunham+Company, an Australian Christian fundraising and marketing company.

The research conducted by McCrindle, who surveyed over 1000 Australians, showed that churchgoers also give more often, with 79 per cent giving in the last month compared with only 52 per cent of irregular or non-attenders.

This hard truth may make some of us squirm as we assess our own patterns of giving.

Churchgoers are also the most responsive to requests for charitable gifts both online and through the mail. In fact, churchgoers indicated they were more likely to increase their giving in 2016 and 52 per cent of those said they have set a yearly budget for doing so. Within those budgeters, 55 per cent indicated they would prioritise faith-based giving over other charities.

But it’s not all good news when you look at the percentage of income those in the church are actually giving away. Over 73 per cent of top income earning churchgoers (earning over $158,000 per year) give less than 0.6 per cent of their income. The average churchgoer isn’t much better, giving only 0.7 per cent of their income.

According to the Australian Taxation Office, the average Australian taxpayer gave 0.32 per cent of their taxable income in tax-deductible donations in 2012-2013.

“There is some good news for the church,” says Joshua Crowther from Dunham+Company. “We are putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to generosity, compared to the general population.”

But it’s not about making comparisons, suggests Crowther, who thinks the church as a whole needs to reset its thinking when it comes to giving away our wealth.

“This hard truth may make some of us squirm as we assess our own patterns of giving. If our current levels of giving are an indicator, I think mammon – our love or worship of money – may have the upper hand right now,” said Crowther. “Imagine if three million regular church attenders gave the baseline 10 per cent. On the back of a napkin, I worked out it would equate to more than $18 billion to fulfill the Great Commission and see the kingdom of God extend in this nation and beyond.”

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