New study measures member donations

The Church continues to receive media attention with a new study focused on the generous charitable donations and volunteerism of active Latter-day Saints in the United States. University of Pennsylvania professor Ram Cnaan and fellow researchers Van Evans and Daniel W. Curtis jointly published the study.

The team of researchers analyzed survey data from 2,664 church-attending U.S. Latter-day Saints. Based on their findings, the authors concluded that active Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper quintile of religious people in America.”

According to the data, while the average American volunteers some 48 hours per year to charitable causes, an active Latter-day Saint volunteers 427.9 hours annually — a contribution worth an estimated $9,140 annually.

Although much of Church volunteerism is religious in nature, members also dedicate 151.9 hours annually to serving in the Church’s social and community initiatives, such as Boy Scouts of America or the Church’s worldwide welfare and humanitarian aid programs.

The results also indicated that 88.8 percent of active members follow the biblical admonition to tithe (donate 10 percent of their annual income to the Church).

In addition, active members not only donate, on average, a full 10 percent of their income to the Church, but donate $1,821 to other social and community causes.

“Overall, we found they are the most prosocial members of American society,” the study said. “Regardless of where they live, they are very generous with their time and money.”

In an October 2009 general conference address, President Thomas S. Monson taught, “As we look heavenward, we inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward.”