According to a recent Web article by the Barna Group research organization (www.barna.org), only 5 percent of American adults tithe their income to charitable organizations. Nearly two out of every three adults made a contribution to a church, synagogue or other place of worship. The average amount given was $883 for 2007, slightly up over the prior year.

So who are the most generous? Nearly one out of every four evangelical Christians tithed and 83 percent gave at least $1,000 to their church in 2007. This compares to only 8 percent of Protestants, including United Methodists, who tithed, and 2 percent of Catholics according to the article.

Christians tend to be the most generous group of donors. An examination of the three dominant subgroups within the Christian community showed that evangelicals, the 7 percent of the population who are most committed to the Christian faith, donated a mean of $4,260 to all non-profit entities in 2007. Non-evangelical born again Christians, who represent another 37 percent of the public, donated a mean of $1,581.

The other 42 percent of the Christian population, who are aligned with a Christian church but are not born again, donated a mean of $865. Overall, the three segments of the Christian community averaged donations of $1,426 per year.