Q. In the mechanisms of charitable giving, you don’t mention religion or religious belief. Is this because you don’t see it as being important, or that (as I believe) it enhances many of the mechanisms, you have identified?

A. Religion is an important correlate of charitable giving. It is likely to influence donations through various mechanisms. We go into these possibilities in our 2011 VSR article (Part 1). Some religious beliefs can be categorized under the values mechanism and will determine what causes people support. For instance those who believe compassion for people in need should be limited to co-religionists members will limit their donations to (own) religious organizations. Other specifically religious beliefs will prevent donations to recreational goals. Still other religious beliefs could enhance giving across the board. Those who believe there is life after death may give more when they also believe that gifts count as an entrance ticket to heaven.