The UK’s Institute for Jewish Policy Research, in the first in-depth analysis published in 18 years, shows that 93% of British Jews sampled in its National Jewish Community Survey make at least one charitable donation per annum – a significantly higher proportion than that found in the UK population at large.
Based on data gathered for JPR’s National Jewish Community Survey, it also demonstrates that almost four in five Jews consider charitable giving to be an important part of their Jewish identity, a higher proportion than that found among British Jews for the importance of supporting Israel, marrying another Jew or observing Jewish dietary laws. Evidence contained in the report further shows that Jewish giving is by no means focused exclusively on Jewish charities: whilst three in five give both to Jewish and to non-Jewish charities, a higher proportion of Jews give to non-Jewish charities than to Jewish ones.
The report’s authors, Dr David Graham and Dr Jonathan Boyd, were keen to try to understand more about the key determinants that inform Jewish charitable giving. Unsurprisingly, income is a key factor, but the report focuses in detail on two other critical determinants: how old people are, and the nature of their Jewish identity.
Writing about age, the authors note that “pretty much whichever way we look at the data, it is apparent that Jewish charities benefit far more from older Jewish people than they do from younger members of the community. The older people are, the more they give, the more generous they are, the more likely they are to donate to Jewish charities over non-Jewish charities, the greater the proportion of their giving is directed towards Jewish charities, and the more likely they are to consider charitable giving to be an important part of their Jewish identity.”
And concerning Jewish identity, the report finds that the more religious and Jewishly-engaged respondents are, the more they donate to charity in total, and the more generous they are with the financial means at their disposal.
Looking ahead, the authors point to three striking issues that are likely to face the British Jewish charitable sector in the years to come: increasing secularisation; the demographic growth of the strictly Orthodox sector; and the importance of the charitable decisions taken by the post-war babyboomer generation.
The complete report, Charitable giving among Britain’s Jews: Looking to the future, is available here.