Who Controls the Wallet? Couples Giving Shows Unity, But Reveals Disagreement As Well

Sep 21, 2023

EXPORT, PENNSYLVANIA – Who controls the wallet when it comes to donations in two-adult evangelical Protestant households?

The latest research report from Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research, Who Controls the Wallet? How Evangelical Couples Give, explores that very question.

While the report revealed that a majority of Christian couples make their giving decisions together, there is still a surprising amount of disagreement and a variety of differing approaches when it comes to husbands and wives donating money.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Seventy-eight percent (78%) of all evangelicals gave some money to church or charity in the last 12 months, while 22% gave no money to church or charity
  • Among two-adult evangelical households, 65% do all their giving together, as a couple.
  • Among evangelical couples giving at least some donations separately, 24% say the man tends to give more, and 32% say it is the woman.

Who tends to drive the giving decisions? It was close, but women were somewhat more likely than men to lead the donation process. Download the full report here to learn more.

“It’s easy for organizations to assume a gift from ‘Antonio and Alice Silva’ is truly from both Antonio and Alice, while a gift from ‘Richard Craig’ is only from Richard,” said Ron Sellers, President of Grey Matter Research.

“The reality is far more complex. Richard may be in charge of making actual payments, but he and his wife carefully discuss where to give and make decisions jointly. Alice may be passionate about a ministry and drive the decision to give out of their joint account, while Antonio begrudgingly agrees but has little interest in the organization.”

For organizations that rely on donor dollars, the way couples arrive at giving decisions should raise questions:

  • When you receive a gift from a joint account, do you routinely assume both spouses are equally passionate about your mission?
  • Is communicating with one-half of a giving unit good enough?
  • Do you ask the donor on record whether his or her spouse wants to receive e-mail or text updates about your impact?
  • Does your CRM system have a way to send messages to multiple people on the same account?
  • Are your communications created more for women than for men, or vice versa?

“You need to assess carefully how much you assume versus how much you actually know,” said Mark Dreistadt, President and CEO of Infinity Concepts. “And if your assumptions are wrong, what impact might that have on your ability to build solid, long-term relationships with the people who support your calling?”

To download a copy of the report, click Who Controls the Wallet? How Evangelical Couples Give.


To schedule an interview with Mark Dreistadt or Ron Sellers, email Clem Boyd, Director of Public Relations, at clem@infinityconcepts.com or text or call him at 724.930.4003.


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