Religious giving increases, with a few caveats

December 22, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Charitable giving to religious-related organizations increased 6.9 percent between 2012 and 2013. That closely mirrors the 6.4 percent increase between 2011 and 2012. That’s according to the Winchester, Va.-based Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s (ECFA) 2014 State of Giving Report.

Total cash donations to ECFA-accredited organizations, of which there are almost 1,900, came in at $11.6 billion in 2013, up from 2012’s total of $10.9 billion. “The second consecutive year of increases among ECFA-accredited organizations and a boost to secular charities last year send a strong signal that charitable giving is rebounding,” said ECFA president Dan Busby via a statement.

Noncash giving in 2013, at a total of $3.4 billion, increased 0.7 percent compared to 2012. Total revenue was up 8.2 percent, from $21.4 billion in 2012 to $23.1 billion in 2013. Giving for camps and conference saw the biggest bump last year, an increase of 18.8 percent over 2012. Also coming in strong was giving for: children’s homes (13.9 percent increase); orphan care (12.0 percent increase); and other (11.0 percent). Giving for K-12 education dropped the most in 2013, a decrease of 7 percent.

A separate study of 2,490 board chairs, board members and chief executives showed a slight disconnect between initial perspectives of effectiveness in governance and deep thinking. Survey takers were asked to rate their board’s effectiveness twice in the study, and all scores dropped slightly between the first and second answers. CEOs initially rated their boards an average of 3.98 (out of a possible 5), while board chairs rated an average of 4.25 and board members rated 4.27. By the second time the question was asked, those ratings dropped to 3.92, 4.16 and 4.17.