Ministries and churches less than 10 years old saw double-digit growth the past two years and their annualized growth during the past five years is 12.8%. During 2020, members of the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) received 3.4% more cash giving than in 2019.
According to data from Winchester, Va.-based ECFA in its new report, churches held almost even in their cash when 2020 is compared to 2019. Specifically during the 2020 pandemic year, they received slightly less (1.2%) cash giving than in 2019. However, for all other ECFA members, cash giving did better.
The data shows that ECFA member revenue growth beat or was even with inflation in five of the past 10 years.
A ministry or church growing before the pandemic did not tend to do better through the pandemic, the data shows. The pandemic year of 2020 seems to be an exception to many historic patterns of giving, according to the report’s authors. For ministries or churches where cash giving increased by an annualized rate of 3% or more in the three years leading up to the pandemic (2016 to 2019), 50% had an increase in cash giving from 2019 to the 2020 pandemic year.
However, if a ministry or church had total cash giving with an annualized decrease of 3% or more per year in the three years leading up to the pandemic, 65% of them had an increase in cash giving from 2019 to the 2020 pandemic year.
Slight regional differences in giving were shown in the data. Using U.S. Census Bureau categories, the Midwest (1.9%) and Northeast (2.6%) regions lead the pack when looking at 10-year annualized changes. However, during the past five years, the tide turned. Ministries and churches in the South (1.6%) and West (1.8%) regions have shown greater growth. In 2020, the South region had 3.1% growth in cash giving compared to 2019, while the Northeast region experienced a decline of 0.6%.
A complete copy of the report can be downloaded at ECFA.org/StateOfGiving