Source: Religion News Service – Annalisa Musarra
WASHINGTON – The recession and a sluggish recovery have made for a lighter collection plate in recent years, but a new study shows that giving to U.S. congregations bounced back in 2011 as the economy improved.
According to the fourth annual “State of the Plate” survey released on Tuesday (March 27), 51 percent of churches last year saw an increase in giving, up from 43 percent in 2010 and 36 percent in 2009.
The national survey, sponsored by MAXIMUM Generosity, Christianity Today and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), asked more than 1,360 congregations of different sizes to report on their donations and budgets.
“This has been the worst season of our lifetime in declines in giving,” said Brian Kluth, founder of MAXIMUM Generosity and the “State of the Plate” research. But 2011 “is the first time we’re seeing an upswing after three very hard years.”
A separate report issued last week as part of the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches showed the impact of the recession’s worst damage: churches lost $1.2 billion in giving in 2010 — nearly three times as large as the $431 million in losses reported in 2009.