Religion and Giving
Today is the first day of the Christian Ministry Advancement (CMA) conference, being held at the Brisbane Convention Centre, where our own Myles McGregor-Lowndes will be co-hosting a panel discussing the ACNC review. ACPNS will also be well represented by Dr Ruth Knight and Margaret Scott each speaking at the conference as well.
In light of this, today’s key messages focus around the role of religion in giving and volunteering.
Giving Australia found that approximately 23.5% of givers each donated $932.50 on average to religious charities in the 12 months prior to interview, and 18.3% of volunteers volunteered 119 hours on average in the same period to religious organisations.
This equates to $3.2 billion donated to religious organisations in a year or 28% of all donations. Furthermore, 17% of all volunteer hours went to religious organisations, an estimated 161 million hours.
According to the ACNC, some 681,574 people are volunteers for religious organisations, with religious organisations each having 47 volunteers on average. This is the largest total of any sector, and more than 100,000 more volunteers than the next largest sector, social services.
Do religious people give more?
Overall giving by those who identified with a religion was nearly double that of non-religious givers ($1,000.81 vs. $551.47), this was due to religious people giving on average $1,006.36 to religious causes in the year. When looking at giving to non-religious causes, those who identified with a religion gave $559.31 on average, compared to $545.97 for those who did not identify with a religion.
Those who attended religious services several times a week donated the greatest amount, and as the number of services attended decreased, so too did the average amount donated to religious and non-religious organisations.
A similar pattern emerged with volunteering. Those who identified with a religion volunteered on average 121 hours in the year to religious organisations and 127 hours to non-religious organisations. Those who did not identify with a religion volunteered 123 hours on average to non-religious organisations. Overall, those who identified with a religion volunteered 145 hours to all causes in the year, compared to 123 hours for those who did not identify with a religion.
Those who attended religious services several times a week volunteered the greatest number of hours to religious organisations over the year. They also volunteered 150 hours on average to non-religious organisations over the year.
Those who identified with a religion but never attended religious services volunteered 155 hours on average over the year to non-religious organisations.
Those attending religious services 2–3 times a month volunteered the least number of hours on average to religious services (49 hours) but volunteered 141 hours on average over the year to non‑religious organisations.
To read the full reports and factsheets, go to https://www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au/about/research-projects/giving-australia-2016/
 Cortis, Natasha, Andrew Young, Abigail Powell, Rebecca Reeve, Roger Simnett, Kerrie-Anne Ho and Ioana Ramia. 2016. Australian charities report 2015: Centre for Social Impact and Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia. http://www.csi.edu.au/media/Australian_Charities_Report_2015_Web_ND8DU2P.pdf.