Research & Insights

Religious Conservatives More Likely to Give

By Kaylis Baxter

Religious conservatives are more liberal with their wallets when it comes to charitable donations.

These results come from a study published in the October 2015 Journal of Applied Business and Economics. Researchers Roger J. Edger III, Bruce D. McDonald III and Amanda L. Wilsker used survey data from 1,530 adults to look at the relationship between religious practices, beliefs and charitable giving.

Participants answered questions about their religious beliefs and practices, as well as demographic questions.

They then responded to questions about giving to secular groups (such as arts and cultural organizations) as well as religious donations (to their religious organizations and to religiously-affiliated programs and causes).

The researchers found that religious conservatives gave more money to charities – both religiously affiliated organizations and nonprofits – than liberals. Likewise, people who attend religious services more frequently contributed more to charity than those who attend services less often.

The researchers say this may have to do with connections between a religious attitude and people’s search for meaning. Many people who are looking for spiritual meaning find it through donating to nonprofits and charities.

“As the importance of the nonprofit organization in American society continues to grow, we recognize that the funding of their programs is likely to come from moderate and/or conservative sources,” The researchers note.

Journal of Applied Business and Economics 


Robert J. Edger, III, Naval Postgraduate School
Bruce D. McDonald, III, Indiana University South Bend
Amanda L. Wilsker, Georgia Gwinnett College


Kaylis Baxter is a writer for frankology. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, studying Sociology and African-American Studies.

Posted: April 14, 2016
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