Millions of Donations Lost to End 2008

Tens of millions of Americans have already suffered substantial financial losses in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent financial challenges. A new survey from The Barna Group shows that more than 150 million adults said they have been affected by the economic turbulence, and most of them expect it to take several years before the nation fully recovers. Americans are now passing on their financial pain to churches and other non-profit organizations by cutting back substantially on their giving during the fourth quarter of 2008. Those reductions – occurring during the most important quarter of the year for donor-driven organizations – will cripple thousands of smaller and less stable donor-supported organizations.

Two out of every three families – 68% – have been noticeably affected by the financial setbacks in America.  On average, Americans believe it will take about three years before the economy fully recovers.

During the past four months, one of the ways that adults have adjusted to their financial hardships has been by reducing their charitable giving. In total, one out of every five households (20%) has decreased its giving to churches or other religious centers.  The degree of reduction in giving is significant for churches. Among people who have decreased giving to churches and religious centers, 19% dropped their giving by as much as 20%, 5% decreased their generosity by 21% to 49%, 17% reduced their giving by half, and 11% sliced their provision by more than half. In addition, 22% said they had stopped their giving altogether.

The million-plus organizations recognized by the government as non-profit agencies have reason to worry about the economic climate, too. Nearly one-third of all adults (31%) said they have already reduced the amount of money they are donating to non-profit entities.

George Barna, whose company conducted the survey, commented that the economic woes hitting families will be felt in a major way by churches and non-profits. “The average church can expect to see its revenues dip about 4% to 6% lower than would have been expected without the economic turmoil. We anticipate that other non-profit organizations will be hit even harder.  This is a time for church leaders and non-profit organizations to demonstrate restraint and wisdom in their financial decisions.”

For more information on the study please visit barna.org.