2010 ECFA Annual State of Giving Report

November 9, 2010

Charitable Giving Stays Strong amid Recession

Donations to ECFA Members Hold Steady during Two-Year Span

WINCHESTER, Va. – The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced today that charitable giving to ECFA members stayed strong during the U.S. recession, totaling $12.10 billion last year, just a 0.1 percent decline from the pre-recession level of $12.11 billion two years earlier.

“It is very significant that this segment of the giving world was resilient and maintained itself during a difficult economic time,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president. “Our report suggests a strong commitment of givers to the Christian faith and the generosity of God’s people.”

ECFA’s first Annual State of Giving Report showed charitable contributions held up especially well among larger charities. Donations to ECFA-member organizations with more than $10 million in annual revenue increased 1.4 percent in 2009, compared with 2007, while organizations with less than $10 million in annual revenue fell 6.9 percent during the same span.

Overall, non-cash giving rose 4.9 percent in 2009, compared with 2007, according to the ECFA analysis. Cash donations dropped 2.3 percent during the same period.

Giving to ECFA members decreased 0.7 percent in 2009, compared with 2008’s tally of $12.19 billion.

Recent reports indicated much steeper donation declines to large charities and nonprofits nationwide. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported last month that donations to the nation’s 400 charities that raise the most funds from private sources fell 11 percent in 2009, compared with the previous year, the survey’s worst annual decrease in two decades. An earlier report by the Giving USA Foundation estimated donations to charities nationwide fell 3.6 percent over the same span.

The ECFA report breaks down giving into 29 segments, including organizations, churches, rescue missions, missionary-sending ministries, colleges and universities, and camps and conferences. Ministries focused on children showed four of the largest increases in total 2009 giving, compared with 2007. Donations to the child sponsorship segment gained 26 percent, orphan care 12 percent, adoption 9 percent and children’s homes 6 percent during the two-year span.

Data used to compile ECFA’s first Annual State of Giving Report comes directly from financial statements prepared by independent certified public accountants.

Summary of 2007 to 2009 Change in Donated Income

Organizational Segment

Total Donated Income

Cash Donated Income

Adoption 9.1% 10.1%
Alcohol/drug rehabilitation -7.9% -5.7%
Associations -6.5% -7.9%
Bible study 8.6% 9.7%
Camps and conferences -19.1% -18.1%
Child sponsorship 25.7% 27.7%
Children’s homes 5.5% 3.1%
Church: denominations -3.2% -1.8%
Church: local -2.6% 0.2%
Community development 7.1% 11.5%
Counseling -10.1% -10.2%
Education: higher education -16.3% -15.9%
Education: K-12 -22.9% -22.0%
Evangelism 8.6% -2.9%
Foundations -28.6% 23.1%
Leadership training -24.0% -23.9%
Literature publishing -47.0% -45.5%
Media 25.0% 4.4%
Medical 1.7% -12.6%
Messianic 3.8% 3.6%
Missions: international 10.9% 5.8%
Missions: domestic 0.3% -2.7%
Missions: short-term -4.1% -4.3%
Orphan care 11.6% 3.0%
Pregnancy resource centers -3.6% -0.4%
Prison -17.5% -17.1%
Relief and development -6.7% -13.0%
Rescue missions 8.6% 5.2%
Student/youth 1.6% 2.2%
      Total -0.1% -2.3%

The above data is based on the data of 1,148 ECFA members. The 2007 data (years ending in 2007) is compared with the 2009 data (years ending in 2009) for 1,148 member organizations, representing nearly 80% of ECFA’s current membership of 1,475 (the primary reason that certain members are not included in this study is because they were accredited by ECFA in the last two years and the comparable financial data for 2007 is not available). The data is not from surveys of the member organizations but comes directly from financial statements prepared by independent Certified Public Accountants—primarily audits.