Religious Donors Are Ready To Take Risks, Support Broad-based Causes

courtesy Jumpstart Labs
courtesy Jumpstart Labs

Turning upside-down the stereotypical image of religious givers whose primary philanthropic concern is their own faith group, a new report released by Jumpstart reveals that charitable givers with deep connections to faith traditions are less in-group-focused than donors with looser ties. Donors who are the most connected to their faith traditions are not just more likely to give, but do so with a sense of openness, experimentation, and risk tolerance, according to the report, Connected to Give: Risk and Relevance.

“Connection fuels innovation – not the other way around,” said report co-author and Jumpstart co-founder and COO Joshua Avedon. “Organizations that use unproven programming as a way to engage prospective donors are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Don’t be afraid of asking your existing supporters to do new things and take risks.”

Connected to Give: Risk and Relevance concludes the 13-month Connected to Give series, which combines quantitative and qualitative data to paint a new picture of the role of faith and community among charitable giving in the United States. This final report, co-authored by Avedon with Jim Gerstein and Shawn Landres, and issued by Jumpstart Labs, explores the questions posed by philanthropies and nonprofits alike in an environment marked by increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

“This offers new evidence-based tools for funders to use with grantees in planning for the future,” said Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, chair of Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. “They’ll be able to look at changes in the world of philanthropy with eyes wide open, and encourage their grantees to leverage innovation and creative programming as routes towards, not away from, their core supporters.”

Connected to Give: Risk and Relevance is the sixth and last in a series of reports based upon the wealth of data drawn from the National Study of American Religious Giving and the National Study of American Jewish Giving.