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CHURCH LIFE: Growing generous kids Print Email
Written by Staff   
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 03:59 PM America/New_York

What parents say and do when it comes to charitable giving and volunteering can plant seeds of generosity in their children, according to new research.

Parental behavior had more influence than religion, politics, race, household income or any other measured factors on the generosity of today’s Americans, reports Heart of the Donor, an in-depth study commissioned by Russ Reid Company of Pasadena, Calif., and conducted by Grey Matter Research & Consulting (GMRC) of Phoenix.

“While the research doesn’t show an absolute one-to-one correlation, in real terms today’s volunteers are 125% more likely to have come from parents who encouraged their children to volunteer, and 145% more likely to have come from parents who frequently volunteered than they are to have come from parents who really never did those things,” said Ron Sellers, GMRC president.

Respondents were asked how often their parents or the people who raised them engaged in 10 different behaviors while they were growing up, such as volunteering, making charitable donations and talking to their children about these behaviors.

A majority said that their parents frequently took them to worship services, encouraged them to save money (61%) and personally donated to a church or place of worship (52%). Almost half (46%) said their parents regularly talked to them about how to handle money wisely.

Parental activity related to donating and volunteering, other than giving money to a place of worship, was much less frequent. One-third said their parents frequently volunteered with a place of worship, with another 28% saying their parents did this occasionally.

Among people who reported their parents frequently giving money to a place of worship when they were growing up, 55% said they had personally given money to a place of worship in the last year. Of those whose parents were frequent volunteers, 49% had volunteered with a nonprofit organization in the past 12 months.

Source: Grey Matter Research & Consulting

Read the full report at