Americans continue to reduce giving to churches

The economy continues to impact Americans' giving to churches and nonprofit organizations, with a recent Barna Group study showing one-third of those surveyed had reduced the amount they gave to churches in the last three months.

"Americans' considerable charitable behavior remains intact, but each year seems to bring new economic burdens to donors," David Kinnaman, Barna's president, said. "Church donors stayed more consistent in their giving than did those donating to nonprofits.

"However, church donors are now showing increasing fatigue. We expect the next six months to be continued cautiousness for donors of all types," Kinnaman said. "For faith leaders and fundraising professionals, this means planning on modest donation levels and capital campaigns and the need for clear, compelling and consistent communications to donors."

Barna also found, according to a study released June 28:

• With each passing year, the economy continues to burden a growing number of households, with one-third of the roughly 1,000 adults surveyed saying they have been affected in a major way.

• Half of the adults surveyed said they expect an economic recovery to take three or more years or the economy will never return to its pre-2009 status.

• 41 percent of adults said they have reduced giving to nonprofit organizations in the last three months as a result of the economic downturn.

• 11 percent of Americans surveyed said they have completely dropped all giving to churches in recent months. In the fall of 2008, just 4 percent had cut giving to churches entirely.

• Practicing Protestants were among the least likely to reduce giving to churches, but they were among the most likely to give less to other nonprofit organizations because of the economy.

To read the entire report, visit www.barna.org.