The Effectiveness and Trustworthiness of Faith-Based and Other Service Organizations: A Study of Recipients' Perceptions

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Drawing on a new community study of more than 2,000 residents of low-income neighborhoods, we examine information about the kinds of service organizations respondents have contacted for assistance and the perceptions of these respondents about the effectiveness and trustworthiness of those organizations. We compare contact with and perceptions of faith-based organizations, nonsectarian organizations, government agencies, hospitals, and churches and employ a method that takes account of respondents' varying portfolios of service providers. The results indicate that the recipients of faith-based organizations resemble those of the public welfare department in the extent of financial need and scope of family problems, and differ significantly from recipients of help from congregations. The results also indicate that recipients' evaluations of the effectiveness and trustworthiness of their portfolio of service organizations are lower when they have sought assistance from public welfare agencies and higher when they have sought assistance from congregations, but are not significantly affected by having contacted faith-based or nonsectarian organizations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Princeton University, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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