Special Issue "Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert Wineburg

Jefferson Pilot Excellence Professor, Department of Social Work, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1400 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27412, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Religious service; Social Welfare Community Service; Social Program Development; Community Partnerships; Coalitions; Policy
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Jay Poole

Department of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: identity,including gender and sexuality, clinical social work practice, and gerontology in social work practice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 

For the last two decades from 30,000 feet, the average person and the distant scholar would think that religion’s contribution to public life has been embodied by a shadow boxing of sorts between the right and left. Such a broad stroke does make for good news, debate, and discussion, but does not capture the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands partnerships among religious communities, government, nonprofits, to fill the gaps mostly created by a world-wide shrinking of the “welfare state” and aimed at the “public good.” We are calling for papers that capture how houses of worship at the ground level, are increasingly “houses of service.” Papers in this Special Issue will be focused on building a better understanding of the intersection of general welfare policy, religion, and religion and service as it takes shape in the voluntary actions of the religious community.

The overall focus will be on assembling, in one volume, perhaps the first set of what may become seminal articles that cross “disciplinary boundaries” and address what is in the world at the intersection of religion, public health, social work, human services, theology, nonprofit management, medicine, community psychology, theology, and other theoretical and especially professional service fields by defining and exploring how and why partnerships work or don’t work in reality. A broad and long term goal of the volume would be to begin developing scholarship that better shapes best practices where the intersection of religion, welfare, and service converge.

Prof. Dr. Robert Wineburg
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Community Partnerships
  • faith-based social/health/behavioral health service collaboration
  • Faith and service
  • Government by proxy
  • inter-faith coalitions
  • community ministry
  • professional and lay partnerships
  • health in place

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial Introduction of the Special Issue “Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground”
Religions 2019, 10(3), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030143
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 25 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
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Abstract
In the early 1980s, when I was a young assistant professor teaching welfare policy, the Reagan administration’s severe cuts to social services left many of the most needy Americans fending for themselves [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessEditorial Postscript of Special Issue “Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground”
Religions 2019, 10(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030138
Received: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
The roots of social work and other helping professions run deep in community-based connections, and joining with local faith-based entities to explore strengths and challenges is essential to good organization and planning [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle History, Hysteria, and Hype: Government Contracting with Faith-Based Social Service Agencies
Religions 2017, 8(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8020022
Received: 23 March 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
In light of the adoption of the Charitable Choice Provision of the Welfare Reform Bill and the creation of White House Offices on faith based initiatives this article examines the history of government contracting with faith-based organizations to deliver human and social services [...] Read more.
In light of the adoption of the Charitable Choice Provision of the Welfare Reform Bill and the creation of White House Offices on faith based initiatives this article examines the history of government contracting with faith-based organizations to deliver human and social services with a particular focus on how the U. S. Supreme Court has viewed the legal status of such contracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Intersectionality of Religion and Social Welfare: Historical Development of Richmond’s Nonprofit Health and Human Services
Religions 2016, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7010013
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 14 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
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Abstract
Studying the intersectionality of religion and social welfare in Richmond, Virginia requires going back to the beginning of the Virginia colony. In the crucible of the colony, the religious and social welfare functions of a parish community were one and the same. However, [...] Read more.
Studying the intersectionality of religion and social welfare in Richmond, Virginia requires going back to the beginning of the Virginia colony. In the crucible of the colony, the religious and social welfare functions of a parish community were one and the same. However, after the Revolutionary War it was just a matter of time before the entire system was disassembled. The process of disentanglement of church and state created an identity crisis in Virginia. In the late 1700s, the emergence of charitable efforts began with leading men of Richmond who tried to address the temporary needs of travelers, followed by groups of women who discovered new roles they could play through charitable works. The new “system” became a potpourri of societies, congregations, associations, and county units attempting to provide for the social welfare of the populous. The intersectionality of religion and social welfare continued as a diverse landscape of small and large organizations and congregations performing the social welfare functions in Richmond and throughout the Commonwealth emerged. Today, to attempt to separate the church from the state in this conglomerate of agencies is neither possible nor desirable. However, understanding its’ historical complexity is essential if one is to engage in contemporary practice within Richmond’s health and human service system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Re-Building Coal Country: A Church/University Partnership
Religions 2016, 7(6), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7060075
Received: 25 March 2016 / Revised: 13 May 2016 / Accepted: 24 May 2016 / Published: 13 June 2016
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Abstract
This paper describes a developing partnership between a church-based service learning center and a university initiative to build a field station in a low-income community in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. It is a case study of how secular and religious institutions [...] Read more.
This paper describes a developing partnership between a church-based service learning center and a university initiative to build a field station in a low-income community in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. It is a case study of how secular and religious institutions have been collaborating to achieve the shared goal of improving social conditions in specific communities. The theoretical focus of the paper is on how a change from a “glass is half empty” to a “glass is half full” perception of the community opens new possibilities for change. This paper concentrates on the story of one partnership as a case study demonstrating current trends in service learning both within universities and within the Catholic Church in America. Analysis centers on the basic question of why the project had symbolic power for both partners and on the institutional processes within both organizations that helped the partnership grow. We use the framework of Assets-Based Community Development (ABCD), also known as the “strengths perspective”, to conceptualize the contrast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Small Faith-Related Organizations as Partners in Local Social Service Networks
Religions 2016, 7(5), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7050057
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 7 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
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Abstract
Efforts to enlist small faith-related organizations as partners in public service delivery raise many questions. Using community social service networks as the unit of analysis, this paper asks one with broader relevance to nonprofit sector managers: What factors support and constrain effective integration [...] Read more.
Efforts to enlist small faith-related organizations as partners in public service delivery raise many questions. Using community social service networks as the unit of analysis, this paper asks one with broader relevance to nonprofit sector managers: What factors support and constrain effective integration of these organizations into a local service delivery network? The evidence and illustrations come from longitudinal case studies of five faith-related organizations who received their first government contract as part of a California faith-based initiative. By comparing the organizational development and network partnership trajectories of these organizations over more than a decade, the analysis identifies four key variables influencing partnership dynamics and outcomes: organizational niche within the local network; leadership connections and network legitimacy; faith-inspired commitments and persistence; and core organizational competencies and capacities. The evidence supports shifting the focus of faith-based initiatives to emphasize local planning and network development, taking into account how these four variables apply to specific organizations and their community context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative: Toward a Vision for Community Health through Religious Tradition and Philanthropy
Religions 2016, 7(6), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7060062
Received: 16 March 2016 / Revised: 3 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
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Abstract
The relationship between social work field education, religiously affiliated organizations, and local philanthropic organizations is explored in this case study of a grant-funded project called the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative. Religiously affiliated organizations have traditionally been involved in the provision of social [...] Read more.
The relationship between social work field education, religiously affiliated organizations, and local philanthropic organizations is explored in this case study of a grant-funded project called the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative. Religiously affiliated organizations have traditionally been involved in the provision of social welfare services; yet, social work education has not embraced this tradition in ways that are intentional. Additionally, the impact of religion-based traditions on philanthropy is interesting and, here, this relationship is explored through tracing the history of a prominent family in the community of Greensboro, North Carolina. The unlikely collaboration between social work field education, religiously affiliated organizations, and a local philanthropic community health entity yields some interesting considerations for how communities can come together toward a vision of improved health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Envisioning Religiously Diverse Partnership Systems among Government, Faith Communities and FBOs
Religions 2016, 7(8), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7080105
Received: 11 March 2016 / Revised: 25 June 2016 / Accepted: 21 July 2016 / Published: 12 August 2016
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Abstract
Recent U.S. policy regarding faith-based organizations (FBO) envisions “partnerships with government” that include both financial and non-financial relationships. This paper explores the current nature of a three-way partnership among faith communities, FBOs and government, proposing ways that government could more effectively partner with [...] Read more.
Recent U.S. policy regarding faith-based organizations (FBO) envisions “partnerships with government” that include both financial and non-financial relationships. This paper explores the current nature of a three-way partnership among faith communities, FBOs and government, proposing ways that government could more effectively partner with faith communities and their organizations. I use data from the Faith and Organizations Project and earlier studies of refugee resettlement and social welfare supports. The paper combines research and policy literature with research findings to describe how faith communities organize social services, education, health, senior services and community development through their FBOs, differences among religions and denominations and current forms of partnerships with government. Conclusions provide policy suggestions for U.S. systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Maintaining the Connection: Strategic Approaches to Keeping the Link between Initiating Congregations and Their Social Service Off-Spring
Religions 2016, 7(9), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7090111
Received: 7 March 2016 / Revised: 10 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
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Abstract
Whilst much research has established that religious congregations have a long history of initiating social services that address many and varied community welfare and health issues, little attention has been paid to the process involved in this congregationally-based response as well as little [...] Read more.
Whilst much research has established that religious congregations have a long history of initiating social services that address many and varied community welfare and health issues, little attention has been paid to the process involved in this congregationally-based response as well as little paid to the unique issues that arise such as the role of clergy in their development and operation. Some research has however identified examples of congregationally-initiated programs evolving to the point where their link to their initiating congregation becomes effectively severed. The research reported in this article is drawn from a larger research project that identified a framework for understanding the complex processes by which congregations initiate, operate, and modify their social services. However, it focuses in particular on the resources such congregations can bring to a wider community and the need for intentional strategies to address the risk that such resources may be lost if the link to the congregation is allowed to atrophy. Whilst the more comprehensive framework focuses on an integrated understanding, this article gives specific attention to those issues and strategies relevant to maintaining the link where that is the implicit expectation of the congregation rather than taking it for granted and being surprised when it is found to have gone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessArticle The Dual Role a Buddhist Monk Played in the American South: The Balance between Heritage and Citizenship in the Refugee Community
Religions 2016, 7(5), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7050050
Received: 13 March 2016 / Revised: 3 May 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 7 May 2016
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Abstract
Buddhist Monks in Vietnam struggle with cultural preservation differently from a monk in the U.S. where the forces of acculturation for new arrivals, often refugees, are extraordinarily overwhelming. The author provides a case study examining how Buddhist leaders engage in cultural preservation and [...] Read more.
Buddhist Monks in Vietnam struggle with cultural preservation differently from a monk in the U.S. where the forces of acculturation for new arrivals, often refugees, are extraordinarily overwhelming. The author provides a case study examining how Buddhist leaders engage in cultural preservation and community building in the American South. Fusing ideas of Engaged Buddhism and community building, the author will demonstrate how a Buddhist monk is able to navigate the broader American culture and assist Vietnamese immigrants and refugees to acculturate, while maintaining their own cultural heritage, beliefs and religious traditions; ultimately building a viable and sustainable Buddhist community that contributes greatly to its new host community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Social Work Field Education in and with Congregations and Religiously-Affiliated Organizations in a Christian Context
Religions 2016, 7(5), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7050052
Received: 13 March 2016 / Revised: 1 May 2016 / Accepted: 3 May 2016 / Published: 9 May 2016
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Abstract
Recent attention to human spirituality, research on congregationally-related practice, and growth in employment within religiously-based organizations energize the creation of educational initiatives to prepare future professionals for competent social work practice within these settings. Internship experiences with congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations (RAOs) play [...] Read more.
Recent attention to human spirituality, research on congregationally-related practice, and growth in employment within religiously-based organizations energize the creation of educational initiatives to prepare future professionals for competent social work practice within these settings. Internship experiences with congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations (RAOs) play a pivotal role in delivering the competencies required by the social work accreditation body. Conceptual tools are needed for understanding congregationally-related practice, for navigating potential conflict between faith and professional practice, and for delivering effective internship experiences. This article, written from the faculty’s perspective of a Christian, religiously affiliated social work degree program, offers a framework for conceptualizing social work with congregations and RAOs and a beginning discussion for sorting out dilemmas in the integration of faith and practice in these settings. Two models, individual placement and rotational model placement, for congregationally-related internship experiences are presented and evaluated. Recommendations for enriched internship learning and future research are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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Open AccessArticle Baby Boomers as Congregational Volunteers in Community Ministry
Religions 2017, 8(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8040066
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
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Abstract
Religious congregations are a significant setting for volunteerism in the United States, and increasing rates of volunteerism correlate with age. Because of their prolonged health and increased longevity, the large boomer generation represents a potentially significant volunteer resource for congregations. But current research [...] Read more.
Religious congregations are a significant setting for volunteerism in the United States, and increasing rates of volunteerism correlate with age. Because of their prolonged health and increased longevity, the large boomer generation represents a potentially significant volunteer resource for congregations. But current research on boomers and congregational life provides little information about this age cohort for engaging them in community ministry. Using a large purposive sample (n = 2883) drawn from Protestant congregations in four regions of the U.S., we explore differences between boomer volunteers and non-volunteers including self-reported motivations, barriers, and outcomes. Despite similarities in most demographics and barriers to volunteering, volunteers and non-volunteers report differing levels of motivation for and outcomes of volunteering. Using service-learning concepts to explore how characteristics of volunteer opportunities influence the faith of volunteers, we found that certain program characteristics indeed correlate with positive outcomes while other characteristics are generally absent. Based on these findings, we provide guidance for both congregation and community agency leaders to increase and enhance opportunities for boomer volunteers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Congregations and Social Services: An Update from the Third Wave of the National Congregations Study
Religions 2016, 7(5), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7050055
Received: 9 March 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2016 / Accepted: 12 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
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Abstract
Congregations and other religious organizations are an important part of the social welfare system in the United States. This article uses data from the 2012 National Congregations Study to describe key features of congregational involvement in social service programs and projects. Most congregations [...] Read more.
Congregations and other religious organizations are an important part of the social welfare system in the United States. This article uses data from the 2012 National Congregations Study to describe key features of congregational involvement in social service programs and projects. Most congregations (83%), containing 92% of religious service attendees, engage in some social or human service activities intended to help people outside of their congregation. These programs are primarily oriented to food, health, clothing, and housing provision, with less involvement in some of the more intense and long-term interventions such as drug abuse recovery, prison programs, or immigrant services. The median congregation involved in social services spent $1500 per year directly on these programs, and 17% had a staff member who worked on them at least a quarter of the time. Fewer than 2% of congregations received any government financial support of their social service programs and projects within the past year; only 5% had applied for such funding. The typical, and probably most important, way in which congregations pursue social service activity is by providing small groups of volunteers to engage in well-defined and bounded tasks on a periodic basis, most often in collaboration with other congregations and community organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Coopting the State: The Conservative Evangelical Movement and State-Level Institutionalization, Passage, and Diffusion of Faith-Based Initiatives
Religions 2016, 7(6), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7060071
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 7 June 2016
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Abstract
In the following, we characterize the contemporary conservative Evangelical movement as an example of contentious politics, a movement that relies on both institutional and noninstitutional tactics to achieve political outcomes. Examining multiple institutional and legislative outcomes related to the Faith Based Initiative, we [...] Read more.
In the following, we characterize the contemporary conservative Evangelical movement as an example of contentious politics, a movement that relies on both institutional and noninstitutional tactics to achieve political outcomes. Examining multiple institutional and legislative outcomes related to the Faith Based Initiative, we seek to understand why some states have established state faith-based bureaucracies and passed significantly more faith-based legislation. We find that the influence of elite movement actors within state Republican parties has been central to these policy achievements. Furthermore, we find that the presence of movement-inspired offices increase the rate of adoption of legislation, and the passage of symbolic policies increases the likelihood of passage of more substantive faith-based legislation. We argue that the examination of multiple outcomes over time is critical to capturing second order policy effects in which new institutions, the diffusion of legislation and institutions, and increasing policy legitimacy may shape subsequent legislative developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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Open AccessArticle Trends in Addressing Social Needs: A Longitudinal Study of Congregation-Based Service Provision and Political Participation
Religions 2016, 7(5), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7050051
Received: 15 March 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 3 May 2016 / Published: 7 May 2016
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Abstract
When congregations seek to address social needs, they often pursue this goal through acts of service and political engagement. Over the past three decades, a tremendous amount of research has been dedicated to analyzing congregation-based service provision and political participation. However, little is [...] Read more.
When congregations seek to address social needs, they often pursue this goal through acts of service and political engagement. Over the past three decades, a tremendous amount of research has been dedicated to analyzing congregation-based service provision and political participation. However, little is known about how congregations’ involvement in these arenas has changed during this period. To help fill this gap, this study analyzes three waves of data from a national survey of congregations to assess how congregations’ participation patterns in service-related and political activities have been changing since the 1990s. It also examines trends among subpopulations of congregations grouped by their religious tradition, ethnoracial composition, and ideological orientation. Overall, this study finds that among most types of congregations, the percentage participating in service-related activities is substantial and increasing, while the percentage participating in political activities is less substantial and decreasing. This decline in political participation has implications for the role congregations play in addressing social needs. Relieving immediate needs through service provision without also pursuing long-term solutions through political participation can limit congregations’ ability to comprehensively address social needs. Among the few types of congregations that have high and/or increasing participation rates in both service-related and political activities are Catholic, predominantly Hispanic, and politically liberal congregations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Faith-Based International Development Work: A Review
Religions 2016, 7(3), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7030019
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 14 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the wake of the Faith-Based Initiative in the USA, substantial research has resulted in an increased awareness of religious congregations and faith-based organizations as welfare service providers. The next frontier appears to be the role of religious organizations in international social and [...] Read more.
In the wake of the Faith-Based Initiative in the USA, substantial research has resulted in an increased awareness of religious congregations and faith-based organizations as welfare service providers. The next frontier appears to be the role of religious organizations in international social and economic development, a topic that only recently started to attract academic interest. In this paper, we review available literature on the role that religious, or faith-based, organizations play in international social and economic development. We also provide results from our own study of USA international NGOs1 that are faith-based. We divide the paper into the positive contributions of faith-based international NGOs and the drawbacks of these NGOs. We find that faith-based nonprofits constitute almost 60 percent of USA-based international development organizations, and their contribution to international social development is quite considerable. We conclude with a call for further research and nuanced understanding of the role religion plays in international development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Unpacking Donor Retention: Individual Monetary Giving to U.S.-Based Christian Faith-Related, International Nongovernmental Organizations
Religions 2016, 7(11), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7110133
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
This article examines an important but relatively overlooked aspect in the field of international giving in the U.S.—individual monetary donations to Christian faith-related international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs)—and outlines the cognitive process influencing donors who choose to keep up their financial support to Christian [...] Read more.
This article examines an important but relatively overlooked aspect in the field of international giving in the U.S.—individual monetary donations to Christian faith-related international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs)—and outlines the cognitive process influencing donors who choose to keep up their financial support to Christian faith-related INGOs. The propositions forwarded in this article draw on existing literature on Christian giving to international causes, INGO management, donor retention and finally, the logic of self-perception to highlight how existing donors might evaluate their repeat giving decision. The more existing donors of Christian faith-related INGOs can identify themselves with the INGO’s identity—comprising its beliefs and values, its claims to legitimacy, and performance—the more likely it is for donors to be satisfied and decide to maintain a stable relationship with the specific INGO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
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