60% of Congregations' Giving Not Keeping Up with Inflation

Study: Giving is up, but so are costs. Now lots of pastors are talking more about giving.

The majority of U.S. congregations reported increased giving throughout the economic recession, according to a new report from the Indiana University School of Philanthropy. But it's not all good news: Most congregations also reported significant spending increases–and less than half said their revenue kept up with inflation.

According to the report, "only about 4 in 10 congregations had revenues that kept pace or were ahead of inflation between 2007 and 2011. Congregations with the oldest average age of attendees were more likely to report that revenue growth lagged behind inflation."

Philanthropic success appears tied not only to the age of congregants, but also to pastors' attention to giving. Almost half of churches and other religious congregations participating in the survey said clergy or pastors do not know who gives and how much they give–and only 36 percent of evangelical Protestant churches said their pastors know. However, those congregations whose clergy do pay attention to ...

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