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Americans Continue to Cut Contributions

             Is your church or non-profit feeling the pinch?  Does it feel like the belt tightening can’t continue?  Perhaps its time to think again—as hard as that news may seem.

            In April 2011, the Barna Group completed a study which showed that 80% of the American people believe that the economic crisis has impacted their lives.  Ouch.

            Since 2008, there has been a 10% drop in giving to churches and non-profits.  By April 2011, 30% of the people reported that they had to reduce their giving to the local church, while 39% reported reducing their giving to non-profits.  These cutbacks compare to 20% and 29% in November 2008.

            To put these numbers in perspective, consider that if you were the typical support-based missionary and you had 100 families supporting you in 2008.  But by April 2011, 40 of those families had to cut back to some degree on your support.

            Perhaps the church context is even worse.  Churches tend to already have debt over buildings and typically carry little reserves.  So in the average local church which might have 200 giving units, a drop in giving by 30% or 60 giving units has a profound impact. 

            Whether church or non-profit context, the way most attempt to reduce their deficits is by cutting program costs to the bone followed by cutting personnel.  It’s a sticky proposition, and frankly time for many to rethink the way they go about giving, the types of gifts they receive and the need for new alternative revenue streams. 

            Certainly, as these numbers tell us, the recovery is a long one.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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