Reported by Nigel Boys
According to the Giving USA Foundation, although charitable donations increased in 2013 from the previous year, some organizations such as educational, arts, humanities and health were up, while churches were down.
However, the annual report also found that while churches received $105 billion in gifts, more than any other organization, their share is the lowest percentage of the total giving of $335 billion for over forty years.
The report also found that most of the donations that were given to churches came from the lower income groups, while the most affluent Americans tend to donate to universities, hospitals and the arts.
According to the report, this is the fourth straight year that giving has increased, and if it continues, it may reach the pre-recession total giving figure in one year of $347.5 billion.
Patrick Rooney, associate dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, who partnered with Giving USA in the study, said that many wealthy Americans remember who is responsible for who they are today and consequently give to their alma mater.
Rooney went on to say that the reports of declining attendances in churches is reflected in the donations they received, which has pretty much stayed the same for about 15 years. He added that most churches don’t have a scientific approach to recruiting donors and those who don’t go to church, are not likely to be giving to them because most of their donations are from the collection plates.
According to Sylvia Ronsvalle, vice president of Empty Tomb, a Christian research organization based in Illinois, church leadership is at fault for the fall in donations. She added that they don’t give people a vision in order to secure their donations and therefore, other organizations with more clear visions are claiming that money.
Bill Townes, vice president for finance of the Southern Baptist Convention said that although giving in churches dropped by around 1.4 percent last year, they were still confident that they could turn that around and receive the financing to continue its mission.
During the 2011 financial year, 35 percent of all charitable donations were given by the wealthiest top 3 percent of American households, according to a 2012 study by the Bank of America.
However, those with incomes in the range of $100,000 to $1 million only gave around 2.5 percent of their income, while those under $100,000 gave about 3.6 percent, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.