Giving To Small Groups Repeats Decline

June 25, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

While charitable giving to large Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability-accredited (ECFA) nonprofits and churches increased a modest 2.4 percent in 2012, as compared with a 1.4 percent decrease for 2011, giving to small organizations declined for the second consecutive year.

When adjusted for inflation, cash gifts to ECFA members with fiscal years ending Dec. 31 were $5.3 billion last year, compared with $5.1 billion for the previous year.

“Religious nonprofits are still fighting to regain their pre-2008 giving levels.  When comparing pre-recession to current-giving data, giving to ECFA members is up a scant 0.4 percent over the six-year period,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president.  “It underscores that this is a time for Congress to maintain, and even increase, charitable giving incentives for charities.”

ECFA released its latest giving figures in part one of its fourth annual State of Giving Report (www.ecfa.org). The second segment of the 2013 report will be issued in August, with the final data to be released in November.

Organizations with under $5 million in annual revenues saw cash donations decrease by 3.6 percent in 2012, while those above $5 million in revenue saw a 2 percent increase.  Charities with under $1 million in annual revenues saw cash donations decrease by 9.6 percent, an even greater decrease for this group than shown in the 2011-2010 comparison, which was down 4.8 percent.

Busby continued, “The near 10 percent drop in giving to the smallest charitable organizations is especially troubling because it is the smaller charities which dot America’s landscape and provide most of the services to program recipients at the grassroots level. These small organizations comprise nearly 60 percent of the ECFA members included in this study.”

The 2011-to-2012 data is representative of 610 ECFA-accredited organizations. While ECFA currently serves more than 1,750 accredited organizations, the data on remaining organizations will be received by ECFA in the second half of 2013. Data comes directly from financial statements prepared by independent Certified Public Accountants — primarily audited financial statements — not from member organization surveys.

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