This study examines the differences that exist between religious, faith-based, and secular community development organizations. For the purpose of this study, community development organizations were defined as social agencies that promote the welfare of individuals and families in the community through programming, outreach, and other services. Data was collected through interviewing staff and volunteers at a faith-based organization, a religious congregation, and a secular community organization in Ohio. Questions addressed the programming, daily operations, benefits to the community, limitations, and client impact at each organization. Results suggest that faith-based and religious agencies differ from secular agencies in how they advertise services, the recruitment and use of volunteers, how employees viewed their work and each other, and the personal motivation of staff members. The overall differences were not as prominent as expected based off of previous literature, but the differences do exist. Further research could include a wider variety of agencies, and should pose additional questions about religiosity and motivation to the staff members at secular organizations.


Clayton, R. Bruce


Sociology and Anthropology


Community-Based Research | Religion | Social Psychology and Interaction

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2009 Elaine Jansen