2019 State of Giving Report Reveals Charitable Giving Remains Steady

ECFA Study of Nearly $14 Billion in Cash Shows Donations to Christian Ministries On Pace With Last Year After Six Years of Increases

WINCHESTER, Va., Nov. 21, 2019—The latest numbers from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) reveals a pace in charitable giving to Christian ministries that held steady with the giving of the previous year. After six years of annual increases (2011-2017), in ECFA’s tenth annual State of Giving report, data reported by 1,940 member organizations shows cash giving declined less than 1 percent (-0.6 percent) between 2017 and 2018. The rate was stronger than the stock market, where the S&P 500 declined (6.2 percent) for the same time period. Giving USA’s national data on $125 billion in contributions to religion declined (3.9 percent) during this time period.

During the past 10 years (from 2008 to 2018), average cash giving to ECFA’s total membership increased annually by an average of 1.8 percent. ECFA’s inflation-adjusted analysis reflects total cash donations of $13.9 billion. Cash donations include cash, checks and electronic monetary contributions.

“I am pleased to see this ongoing support for Christ-centered churches and ministries,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president and CEO. “This generosity positions ECFA members to continue their positive impact for their causes both domestically and internationally.”

The ECFA report breaks down giving into 26 ministry segments. The most significant cash-giving increases occurred in the following categories (all numbers have been adjusted for inflation):

  • Community development (26.6 percent growth)
  • Camp and conferences (23.1 percent growth)
  • Medical, dental and health services (11.9 percent growth)

The areas with the greatest decline occurred in the following categories:

  • Church denominations (11.1 percent decline)
  • Leadership training (7.1 percent decline)
  • Relief and development (6.9 percent decline)

Percentage Increase of Cash Giving to ECFA Members by Type of Ministry
 

Organizational Segment

Recent Year
(2017-2018)

Previous Year
(2016 – 2017)

Community Development

26.6%

9.6%

Camps and Conferences

23.1%

1%

Medical, Dental and Health Services

11.9%

9.6%

Student/Youth

9.3%

3.8%

Associations

9.2%

-1.1%

Adoption

8.4%

2.1%

Children’s Homes & Orphan Care

8.2%

-8.3%

Publishing

7.4%

-12%

Pregnancy Resource Center

6.3%

6.7%

Child Sponsorship

5.8%

0.5%

Prison

2.3%

-5.6%

Bible Study

2%

-0.1%

Media

1.9%

1.4%

Education: Higher Ed

1.5%

-2.7%

Individual Churches

0.5%

5%

Missions: International

-0.7%

7.4%

Rescue Missions

-0.9%

-1.4%

Missions: Domestic

-1.4%

5.8%

Evangelism

-2.7%

9.1%

Alcohol/Drug Rehabilitation

-3.1%

-1.3%

Missions: Short-Term

-3.6%

-6.4%

Other (many different ministries)

-5.2%

1.6%

Education: K-12

-6.5%

10%

Relief and Development

-6.9%

11.6%

Leadership Training

-7.1%

-0.6%

Church Denominations

-11.1%

12.4%

Visit ECFA.org/StateofGiving to view the full report.

About ECFA

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit ECFA.org or call 800.323.9473.

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