As many charities suffered a decline of 10 percent or more in annual giving, donations to religious organizations fared relatively well from 2007 to 2009, according to a new study released on Tuesday by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
Charitable contributions declined by just 0.1 percent among 1,148 religious organizations whose financial statements were examined by the council. Sharper decreases have been found in other surveys: For example, the total raised by the Philanthropy 400, the nation’s largest charities, fell by 11 percent last year alone. All told, religious organizations in the study—which make up some 80 percent of the council’s members—raised $12.10-billion last year, down from $12.11-billion in 2007 before the recession hit.
Big Charities Did Best
Large religious organizations, with revenues that exceed $10-million a year, did better than smaller groups: Their contributions increased by 1.4 percent from 2007 to 2009. Religious charities with smaller budgets saw a 6.9-percent decline in giving.
Comparing the findings to other surveys that have found bigger recession-related drops in giving, council officials said that their study underscores the commitment of Christian donors during hard times.
The council found the largest increases in contributions among 62 religious organizations that serve children. From 2007 to 2009, giving to 11 groups that seek child sponsors who make monthly gifts to help needy youths rose by 26 percent. Thirteen other charities that care for orphans reported a 12-percent increase, and 14 charities that provide adoption services saw donations rise by 9 percent. Twenty-four children’s homes in the study reported a 6-percent increase.