Despite the economic recession, ministry giving was higher than expected, according to a recent survey by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
In a survey of 300 member ministries, the ECFA found that 72 percent met, exceeded or came within 10 percent of their fourth-quarter contribution goals. More than a quarter - 28 percent - were more than 10 percent below their goals.
"Many of the parachurch ministries we surveyed reported small donations [those between $10 to $100] were relatively unaffected, and in some cases, donations in this category increased," said Dan Busby, acting president of ECFA. "In fact, some of our members had the strongest fourth quarter they've had in years and ended the year debt-free."
Founded in 1979, the ECFA provides accreditation to Christian nonprofit organizations that comply with their standards for financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance.
The organization said some member ministries attributed the survey results to increased prayer and greater interest in supporting organizations that help the poor and disadvantaged.
More than half of member organizations said they increased one-on-one contact with key donors to buffer fund-raising during the economic downturn. More than 30 percent said they changed their message to donors about how the ministry was responding to a changing economy.
Despite the good news, half of those surveyed reported that their investments had lost 15 percent to 30 percent of their value. And many ministry leaders are concerned about how the recession will affect 2009 giving.
Most ministries are reducing costs, 41 percent have frozen or delayed salary increases, and 38 percent have frozen or reduced hiring.
Conference travel and capital projects have largely been reduced or delayed. Roughly 20 percent are sharing resources with other organizations and businesses.
"Most ECFA member ministries expect 2009 to be more challenging, primarily because major donors who made gifts in 2008 have expressed they may not be able to renew their financial commitments because of the economy," Busby said. "But for leadership and staff members, this is ministry, not a job. Despite challenges, most remain committed to making positive operational and structural decisions, including developing contingency plans, which will enable them to continue to carry out God's purpose despite limited resources."
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details