In an article from Bisdom Rotterdam, some results of a research following a poll in May 2020 were highlighted. The research was conducted by master student in Data Science & Marketing Analytics Fiona Nieuwenhuis, crowning her master with her thesis, called ‘Roman Catholic Church donation behaviour and community’. During her research, she was supervised by Professor of Marketing Research at Erasmus School of Economics Martijn de Jong. The results gave more insight in the cohesion of the Roman Catholic community in Rotterdam, providing useful information for collecting money.
The questions of the poll were concerning, amongst other subjects, church visitation, donation behaviour and the attitude of respondents towards the parish and the Roman-Catholic Church. On 5 February, De Jong elaborated on the results of the research. Illustrative of the involvement of respondents, was the response to the poll, which exceeded expectations. Within a short period of time, more than 2,000 people responded. To further increase a sense of interconnectedness, respondents suggested more bible studies and an increased effort to attract more young people to the parish. This is beneficial to one’s feeling of purpose and overall well-being: good contact with others, a sound catholic upbringing and perceived relevance of the religion contribute to this feeling.
The action ‘Kerkbalans’ (church balance), an initiative to collect money for the parish, is well-known amongst the respondents: 98% knew of its existence, 90% has donated via this initiative in the past and over 75% has done so every year during the last five years. According to bishop Van den Hende, ‘Money and goods are not the first and only gauge, but nevertheless an important fundament. We shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for financial support, since the Church is a good cause: it’s all about the evangelical message that we pass on to the next generation. Hence, the question is: in which way do we activate our network even more?’.
The research has shown that the possibility that people donate via Kerkbalans increases with one’s estimation of the amount of other people donating to the initiative. This implies that the social norm of donating to the church has a positive effect on actual donations. Other contributing factors that have a positive correlation, are faith in the Roman-Catholic Church, good contact with others within the parish and being acquainted with Kerkbalans. Another suggestion of the research, is that (especially young) people might be more prone to give when they have an insight in the financials of the diocese.