4th State of the Plate report released for 2011 church giving trends

ECFA and Maximum Generosity released their 4th annual survey of church giving trends. You can see the ECFA press release here and visit the executive summary here.

At an overall level, giving is improving a bit. Comparing the portion of church reporting giving up, down or flat looks like this:

  • Change in giving level
  •                  2008  2009  2010 2011
  • Increase    46%   35%   43%   51%
  • flat             25%   27%   18%   17%
  • Decline       29%   38%   39%   32%

What jumps out at me is that 2011 is roughly the same as 2008. The thought I’ve had in the past that things are not getting worse is a good thing. Not great, but not getting worse.  Less bad.

Other items of interest:

Regional trends.  Churches in the Midwest saw the best increase of 55% of churches have increase compared to 51% nationally. In the pacific coast states, 38% of churches saw a drop compare to the 32% national average.

Change in general giving.  Here is the range of changes in giving to show the extent. Amounts are for 2010 and then 2011.

  • Change in 2010 and 2011
  • 12% – 12% – Up over 10%
  • 16% – 20% – Up 5% to 10%
  • 46% – 47% – Flat (+4% to -4%)
  • 16% – 12% – Down 5% to 10%
  • 10% –   9% –  Down over 10%

Overall trend shows slight improvements, for which we can rejoice. But not a massive change in the trend.

Change in operating budget.  This would exclude designated, schools, and missions.  The executive summary presents this in eight categories which I combined into three for simplicity. I’ve listed the 2010 and 2011 changes.

  • significant increase (5% or more) – 28% in 2010, 31% in 2011
  • little or no change (between 4% increase and 4% decrease) – 53% in 2010, 54% in 2011
  • significant decrease (5% or more decline) – 19% in 2010, 15% in 2011

Again, improvement, but not dramatic. Going in the right direction though.

Check out the full report above.

One Response to 4th State of the Plate report released for 2011 church giving trends

  1. [...] this post I wrote – 4th State of the Plate report released for 2011 church giving trends. It discussed the trends in giving to local churches. My conclusion is that giving is less [...]

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