The trend of declining religious affiliation in the U.S., especially among younger donors, is not necessarily a bad omen for nonprofit organizations, according to a recent study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The Women Give 2014 study investigated how the intersection of religiosity, gender and age were related to charitable giving.
According to the institute, previous research had shown that for both genders, those engaged in religion were likelier to give and to give more to charity than those reporting no religious affiliation.
The new research identified an important shift from the standard religiosity-giving story. Young single women who were religiously unaffiliated—referred to as “Nones”—gave approximately two times larger amounts to charitable organizations than women who were affiliated but infrequently attend religious services.
The study encompassed 762 people divided into two categories by age—44 years old and younger and 45 years old and older—and divided by gender.