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Giving Lags With Continuing Economic Downturn

Downturn. It continues to be the language of the day. This weekend’s edition (July 31-August 1, 2010) of the Wall Street Journal reports that the outlook for the remainder of 2010 remains bleak.

The growth the economy experienced in late 2009 and early 2010 is now slowing. Some economists and now predicting that they will cut growth estimates for the second half of the year.

Perhaps most troubling is that “growth” is largely dependent on consumer spending. As the Journal reports, “purchases account for 70% of economic activity.” It is a vicious cycle. Consumers won’t spend if they think their jobs are in danger, but businesses won’t hire unless they see consumers spending.

This stalemate of activity will certainly lead to stagnant giving trends. Like their corporate counterparts, many non profits slashed budgets to match decreases in giving. The ongoing message, however, appears to be that robust giving is not likely to return for sometime.

As we ponder the decrease in giving, we must also ponder the foundation of our economy. When we become dependent on consumer spending to drive growth, we have misaligned priorities. Whatever happened to production? Making something? When we return to an economy of production, we can see a robust economy and ultimately an increase in giving.

William High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation. Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at

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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