Evangelical Group Sees Hike In Fundraising Results

Members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) raised $9.38 billion during 2010, a 5.8 percent increase from the $8.87 billion raised during 2009. Noncash gifts decreased, however, with larger organizations seeing the greatest increases in charitable giving.

These results come from the 2011 ECFA Annual State of Giving, which compares the charitable giving of 2009 with 2010.

“It is very significant that this segment of the giving world continues to receive support during a difficult time,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president. “Our report demonstrates a strong commitment of givers to the Christian faith and the generosity of God’s people.”

The data was based on information provided by 1,360 ECFA members. Although the council includes 1,600 accredited members, some could not provide data because they recently became members and comparable data was not available.

Larger ECFA-affiliated organizations enjoyed the lion’s share of growth for 2010. Those organizations generating more than $10 million in annual revenue saw increases of 6.7 percent when compared with 2009. Organizations with revenue less than $10 million only saw a 1.6 percent increase during the same period.

“I hear from members that organizations are paying particular attention to major gift donors,” said Busby. “They play such an important part. I hear a focus is on providing communication to challenge them while presenting engagement projects.”

Busby speculated the 13.5 percent decrease in noncash gifts was caused by the “significant ebb and flow of noncash gifts based on the timing of natural disasters.”

The report breaks down charitable giving into 29 segments including organizations, churches, rescue missions, missionary-sending ministries, colleges and universities and camps and conferences.

Ministries focused on children demonstrated four of the largest increases in total 2010 giving, compared with 2009.

“I suppose the two largest takeaways is the increase in giving to foundations and organizations who help children in need,” said Busby. “Givers to faith-based organizations seem to favor those who are reaching out to children in need.”

From 2009-2010, the greatest increases and decreases in charitable giving occurred in the following categories:

  • Foundations +68.8 percent;
  • Child sponsorship +24.3 percent;
  • Orphan care +20.5 percent;
  • Adoption +14.7 percent;
  • Short term missions +13.4 percent;
  • Medical -15.8 percent;
  • Alcohol/drug rehabilitation -8.5 percent;
  • Student/youth -6.6 percent;
  • Prison -5.9 percent; and,
  • International missions/rescue missions tied with -1.9 percent.

“While the survey results are positive the economy is still a specter on the radar screen along with the threat to charitable giving incentives,” said Busby. “That’s a cloud over the head of charities and givers. There are still some dark clouds on the horizon.”

Members of ECFA are Christian nonprofits organization demonstrating compliance with established standards of “financial accountability, fundraising and board governance.” These include Christian ministries, denominations, churches education institutions and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations. Collectively, the organizations represent more than $18 billion in annual income.

Organization affiliated with the ECFA must meet a series of seven basic standards demonstrated through an application process and must annually resubmit materials. They are also subject to a field reviews.