Giving To Ministries Jumped 5%

Total cash giving to Christian ministries was up 5 percent last year, totaling $12 billion in 2014 but still not quite reaching pre-recession levels.

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) released its annual State of Giving Report, compiling data from audited financial statements of 1,766 members. The Winchester, Va.-based ECFA has more than 2,000 members but those that have been accredited within the last two years are not included in the annual study because they do not have comparable data. Data are not adjusted for inflation.

The report breaks down $15 billion of giving, including $12 billion in cash and almost $3 billion in noncash donations. Noncash donations were up 2.2 percent to $2.9 billion last year.

The $12 billion in cash donations is up from the $11.4 billion in 2013 and the highest reported in the study since $12.19 billion in 2008. Cash donations have increased every year since 2007. The number of accredited members in the survey also has increased in most years, rising from 1,148 in 2009 to 1,525 in 2013.

Several categories of ministries saw double-digit increases in cash contributions:

  • K-12 schools, 14 percent;
  • Medical, 13.6 percent;
  • Leadership training, 12.5 percent;
  • Adoption, 11.2 percent; and,
  • Community development, 9.3 percent.

Only nine of the 27 categories in the study reported cash contributions declining or remaining flat, and none dropped more than camps and conferences (7 percent). More than half of the 29 categories in the 2010 State of Giving Report reported declines in cash donated income, including eight that reported double-digit decreases that year.

The smallest organizations, those with less than $1 million in revenue, were essentially flat, reporting 0.1 percent increase. Organizations with revenue of more than $10 million all reported more than 5 percent increase but the highest jump, 6 percent, was found among those with revenue between $5 million and $10 million.