New Research: 2017 Best Year for Charitable Giving Since 2014

ECFA Finds Charitable Giving Is Up Among the Nation’s Largest Christian Ministries

WINCHESTER, Va., Nov. 27, 2018 – The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) released State of Giving 2018 today, it’s ninth annual report on annual cash giving to ECFA-accredited organizations. The data reveals a notable increase in charitable giving, particularly among the largest ministries in the U.S. Cash giving to ECFA members increased 5.9 percent between 2016 and 2017, reflecting total cash donations of $13.3 billion in 2017 to 1,772 ECFA-accredited organizations. (Cash gifts include cash, checks and electronic monetary contributions.)

Following a multiyear trend, larger-budget organizations saw increases much higher than smaller-budget ministries. This trend occurs in both in ECFA-accredited nonprofits and churches.

The 5.9 percent average increase is the strongest in three years. It compares to a 2.2 percent increase in annual cash giving between 2015 and 2016, an identical 2.2 percent increase between 2014 and 2015, and a 5.0 percent increase between 2013 and 2014.

“I am so pleased to see this increased support for Christ-centered churches and ministries,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president. “This surge in generosity positions ECFA members to make a greater positive impact for their causes both domestically and internationally.”

From 2007 to 2017, average cash donations to ECFA's total membership increased annually by an average of 3.4 percent. This amount outpaced wage growth, which averaged an increase of 0.6 percent annually for that same time period. It also outpaced individual giving to all charities including religious charities, which was 2.7 percent annually for that same period.

The ECFA State of Giving report breaks down giving into 26 segments. The areas of ministry with the most growth over the last five years (2012 – 2017) are medical services (8.9 percent), camps and conferences (8.2 percent), adoption (7.6 percent), leadership training (7.4 percent), student/youth (7.4 percent), and evangelism (7.0 percent).

While ECFA’s State of Giving report focuses on cash giving, ECFA records also track non-cash giving, which experienced a very slight decrease of -0.1 percent in 2017 based on $3.6 billion of non-cash gifts. Examples of common non-cash giving are real estate, vehicles, securities, clothing, household items, contributed services, and use of facilities and equipment.

Data used in ECFA’s State of Giving report comes directly from its member financial statements, which are prepared by independent, certified public accountants—primarily audits. Though ECFA currently has some 2,300 accredited members across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, not all members were represented in the study because some ministries are newly accredited and thus do not have two-year membership comparison numbers.

Visit to view the full report and to download an infographic depicting the findings. Previous State of Giving Reports are available online: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.


About ECFA

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with 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 or call 800.323.9473.





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