Friday, November 19, 2010

So, I have been thinking....

Breast Cancer, Movember, soon we will hear the bells of the Salvation Army ringing for Christmas. There are a million ways to give to charity and a million charities to give to. We at Soul have made a push to join Habitat for Humanity to help make a difference in our community and I must admit that I am a bit disappointed in that I actually believed that we would have more than $5000 plus raised by this point. Yes, I said it! Disappointed, because I simply believe that our community has great connections to tap into. So much so, that I got to thinking about who does the giving?

It is said that 85 % of adult Canadians give to charity. Only 38 per cent of adult Canadians sent money to religious organizations, while 57 per cent made donations to health groups and 43 per cent donated to social services organizations. What distinguishes those who give from those who don't? We assume the rich give more than the middle class, the middle class more than the poor. I've heard ‘liberals’ care more about the less fortunate, so we assume they give more than ‘conservatives’ do.

"20/20" did a story with The Salvation Army, who set up buckets at the busiest locations in two different cities: one at Macy's in San Francisco and the other at Wal-Mart in Sioux Falls. Which bucket collected more money?

The answer is obvious! The Wal-mart Bucket! Arthur Brooks, the author of "Who Really Cares," says that "when you look at the data, it turns out the “conservatives’ give about 30 percent more." He adds, "And incidentally, ‘conservative’-headed families make slightly less money." People at the lower end of the income scale give almost 30 percent more of their income than those in the upper class. Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. Brooks also says that giving goes beyond their own religious organization: "Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities." And almost all of the people who gave to our bell ringers in San Francisco and Sioux Falls said they were religious or spiritual.

So, this got me thinking…are people in Winnipeg “liberals” who make too much?