News and analysis
December 16, 2015

Pope’s Visit Boosts Charitable Giving, Survey Finds

Gabriel Bouys, AFP, Getty Images

A new study says Pope Francis’s United States visit may be boosting Americans’ charitable contributions this year.

Survey: Poll of Americans on the influence of Pope Francis

Organization: Saint Leo University Polling Institute

Summary: Pope Francis’s September visit to the United States may be boosting Americans’ charitable contributions this year — especially among Catholics, according to a national survey of more than 1,000 adults. Of all the people polled, Catholics as well as non-Catholics, 61 percent said they are giving more or the same amount to charity in 2015 as they did in 2014.

"People feel compelled to do something, whether that is donating money or donating time and volunteering," Nancy Wood, associate chair of human services at Saint Leo University, said in a statement.

Among the findings:

  • 70.9 percent of Catholics said they would give more or the same amount in 2015 as they did in 2014; 24.3 percent said they would donate more.
  • 22.3 percent of Catholics said they would give to charity but didn’t specify a cause. The next highest percent said they would give to human rights, followed by the environment, and their place of worship, and refugees, all issues the Pope talked about during his visit.
  • Among all respondents who said Pope Francis inspired them to donate more, 14.9 percent said they would give to charities without specifying a cause. About 13 percent said they would give to environmental groups, 13.1 percent to human-rights groups, and 12.8 percent to their place of worship.

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