Sharing the Pain

The 400 biggest charities offer a bellwether that suggests giving will drop sharply in 2009

Bruised by the deepest recession in decades, the nation's largest charities anticipate that giving will decline this year by a median of 9 percent. That would mean that half of the nation's most successful fund-raising groups expect an even steeper drop — one that signals continued pain for charities and the people who rely on them.

The fund-raising outlook for 2010 is not much better. Nonprofit officials say they are hopeful that the stock market's climb will prompt donors