242304 Giving, God, and churches: Partnering with the faith community to increase program donations and commitment

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Laurel D. Stevenson, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Susan E. Middlestadt, PhD , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Omar L. Rodriguez , The Cornerstone Foundation, San Ignacio, Belize
Kieran C. Dolin , Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Background: Public health organization partnerships with communities of faith can be important in program sustainability. Caring for Children (CFC), a community-based program to support children affected by HIV/AIDS in Belize, relies on local donations. The purpose of this study was to explore the donating culture of Belize, specifically, to investigate meanings individuals associate with donating in order to understand donating behavior. Methods: This mixed-methods, theory-based inquiry took place in 2009-2010 in the Cayo District, Belize. A survey based on the Reasoned Action Approach was administered to 334 donors and non-donors to examine determinants related to intention to donate. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight donors to CFC and topics included: motivation for helping others and perceived impacts of donating. Beliefs about donating were correlated with intention to donate and in-depth interview were coded for emerging themes. Results: Survey results show that individuals who believe their church wants them to donate have a higher intention to do so (r=.30, p<.01). Emerging interview themes included: giving brings me nearer to God, freely give, freely receive, and giving is part of our completion as a Christian. In many instances, participants paraphrased or directly quoted Bible verses. Conclusions: These mixed-methods results show how issues of faith and Bible teachings underlie why some people give. Community-based organizations may consider partnering with churches and religious leaders in order to carry out program objectives and gain community commitment.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss meanings individuals associate with donating to this particular public health program. 2. Discuss how public health organizations may partner with communities of faith in order to increase program support and community donations.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for research concept, data collection, analysis, and dissemination.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.