Generous Congregations, Generous Givers: Congregational Contexts that Stimulate Individual Giving

Citation: 
Olson, Daniel and David Caddell. "Generous Congregations, Generous Givers: Congregational Contexts that Stimulate Individual Giving." Review of Religious Research, 36, no. 2 (December 1994): 168-180.
Abstract: 

Using a very large but little-analyzed study of United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations and members conducted during the mid-1970s, Olson and Caddell found that the amount of money given to congregations is strongly related to individual background characteristics such as disposable income, level of church participation, and desire for meaning in life. However, the researchers also found that people gave more when they attend certain kinds of UCC churches than one would expect given their individual background characteristics. The authors concluded that, consistent with the predictions of "free rider theory," individuals gave more generously to small congregations but less generously to congregations where others have high incomes and where the congregation receives substantial income from rents and endowments. Moreover, contrary to some other studies, the researchers found that individual giving did not increase in response to membership declines. (SM)

87