Giving has grown in popularity among wealthy Americans, as evidenced by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and the Giving Pledge. On the other hand, the number of givers reporting gifts on their income tax returns has dropped by as much as 7% with only 24% of all people reporting making a charitable gift. What would happen if that number rose to 50%?
Similarly, giving has been stuck at 2% of income since the Great Depression of 1929. What would happen if giving rose to 4% of income?
An October 2017 Chronicle of Philanthropy article, “A Giving Challenge for the Masses,” highlights the efforts by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to grow giving among the masses. The Foundation is committing as much as $2-3 million annually to figure out how to raise giving above the 2% of income status quo.
The efforts by the Gates Foundation are laudable and necessary and equally important among the Christian community. And in my belief, the church is best equipped to lead the efforts to grow giving among the masses. Giving and generosity are matters of the heart, of faith, of compassion.
It strikes me that, as those in secular philanthropy recognize the need to grow giving among the masses, the church should also take a lead role. It’s time to address how we can see everyone live a life of generosity. Why? Because it leads to happier, more fulfilled people at the same time as it makes a difference in our world.
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Published February 1, 2018
Topics: Giving Trends