vendredi, décembre 01, 2006

On Charitable Giving

A friend sent this article to me.

Interesting findings:

The rich and the working poor give more than the middle class (in terms of percentage of income).

The working poor give more than the rich in terms of percentage of income.

Conservatives give more than liberals do.

If a person is religious or spiritual, they are more likely to give to charity.

The article, which is a teaser for a show on 20/20 tonight also makes note of a study done by 20/20 on Salvation Army donations in San Francisco v. Sioux Falls.

Now, I’d love to give the article a critical read, but study methodology is not included. What counts as a charitable donation? How are cash donations linked to political philosophies? Are donations of time (like pro bono services) included? What about stock donations, trusts, and estate gifts? Do donations to quasi-political organizations (like right to life groups or the NRA) count?

But I can say this: the Salvation Army test is flawed. I don’t give a cent to the Salvation Army on philosophical and moral grounds. They are a religious organization (which is fine), and they require prayer before administering benefits (which is not fine, IMHO). As well, they have policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (which is despicable and unchristian).

But, having said all that, it would not surprise me that conservatives give more than liberals do. I do, however, dispute that philosophies on the role of government drive those decisions.