Nearly one in five adults in both the United States and Canada say that a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion is a “common problem” in houses of faith, according to a report published by the Better Business Bureau’s on June 6.

Among U.S. adults, 18% said a lack of DEI was a common problem in houses of worship, 24% “sometimes a problem,” 20% “rarely a problem” and 25% “not a problem,” while 13% did not know.

Nearly one quarter (24%) of Generation Z (18-to-24-year-olds) in the U.S. said lack of DEI is a common problem in houses of worship, followed by 21% of Millennials (25-to-40-year-olds), 17% of Generation X (41-to-56-year-olds), 16% of Boomers (57-to-75-year-olds) and 12% of Matures (76 and older).

Among Canadian adults, the responses were 16% (a common problem), 24% (sometimes a problem), 20% (rarely a problem), 19% (not a problem) and 21% (did not know). Age group data for Canadian respondents was not provided in the report.

Of the U.S. respondents, 48.64% never / rarely attend religious services, while 27.96% attend frequently and 20.45% occasionally. The remaining 2.9% didn’t know or preferred not to answer.

For the Canadian respondents, 64.26% never / rarely attend, 14.95% attend frequently, 18.03% occasionally, and the remaining 2.76% didn’t know or preferred not to answer.

Nearly half of all Canadian respondents said they would not donate to charitable causes in which the organization’s culture discriminates against people served or against staff.

Regarding a charity’s discrimination “against people served based on sex, race, gender, disability, color, creed, national origin or religion,” 45% said they would not donate to such causes, with 18% saying they would want to know more.

Regarding a charity’s discrimination against staff on these bases, 42% of Canadians said they would not donate and 21% would want more information.

A slightly lower number of U.S. respondents said such discrimination would negatively impact their donations – 41% said they wouldn’t donate when such discrimination existed against people served (19% would want to know more) and 39% said they wouldn’t donate if there was such discrimination against staff (20% would want more information).

Among respondents less likely to contribute due to diversity, equity and inclusion concerns, a strong majority (82%) said they would donate again to a charitable organization once it addressed the lack of DEI.

Of this total, 48% would donate again “as soon as [they] understand the charity reacted appropriately,” 15% after a few months, 10% after one year and 9% after “at least a couple years,” while 18% would never donate again.

Most U.S. respondents said DEI within the board and staff positively impacted how they viewed the charity.

A majority or plurality said they have a more positive view of a charity’s trustworthiness, ability to serve constituents, mission focus, achievements, creativity, qualifications of employees and incorporation of broader perspectives when the board and staff are diverse, equitable and inclusive.

“A lot has been said about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but not from the perspective of individual donors” said H. Art Taylor, President and CEO of BBB’s, in a press release announcing the report’s publication. “Our survey shows that most people assume a diverse, equitable, and inclusive charity is more trustworthy, better able to serve its constituents, and incorporates broader perspectives. While each charity’s DEI journey is complex and unique, the pursuit of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive charity is part of an organization’s strategy to be ethical, effective, and trustworthy.”

The full report is available here. The margin of error for U.S. adult responses is plus or minus two percentage points, and the margin for Canadian adult responses is plus or minus three percentage points.

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