Steps in the Journey

Recent Report Focuses on Generous Catholics




Using data from a nationally representative survey of 1,997 US adults in 2010, we find two decisive factors that promote financial generosity among American Catholics: intentionally deciding to give away more money and adopting habitual, systematic practices of giving. American Catholics who made a prior conscious decision to give more money away (at some point in their lives) donated three times as much money to religious and non-religious causes in the previous 12 months as Catholics who said that their financial giving “just happened.” Further, American Catholics who relied on systems or routines in their financial giving gave away two times as much money as those who relied instead on spontaneous or situational giving.

Our results suggest the need to ask parishioners: “Is God calling you to give more of your money away?” This is an incredibly important question for all of us to answer in our spiritual lives.  We also suggest that the Catholic Church would be wise to promote systems and practices of giving that routinize and habituate parishioners’ giving.  Highlighting information about tithing or other systems of giving to parishioners is an important first step, although additional steps may be necessary before parishioners decide to follow such a system.

The report can be accessed for free as a virtual magazine and it is also available for free as a pdf (click on the picture above for a pdf of the full report.)  For readers interested in a detailed discussion of sampling and survey methods for the Science of Generosity study, please access the methods report.