Barna says donors are less shell-shocked – I guess ‘less bad’ is an improvement

Less bad – that is the description I’ve been looking for as I’ve read several recent surveys of donor giving patterns. Things are still grim but not quite as bad as a year ago.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group says the following:

Now, even as the economy shows some signs of improvement, donors are still reluctant to return to their previous levels of generosity. They may be less shell-shocked than 15 months ago, but they are still cautious.

 “Less shell-shocked.” Good description! Donors are still hurting and still cautious, but not as hurting and cautious as a year ago.

Barna’s newest research gives a picture of donor behavior and sentiments in April 2011 with comparisons to November 2008 and January 2010. Those are good dates to compare. Their report is Donors Proceed with Caution, Tithing Declines.

A perceptive question is ‘have you reduced giving in the last three months?” Responses are:

Nov 08 / Jan 10 / Apr 11

20% / 29% / 30% – reduced giving to church or religious center

31% / 48% / 39% – reduced giving to non-profits, other than churches

(That data is reformatted slightly but still put in quotes so you know that it is their data.)

So at the front end of the recession, a lot of people reduced their giving within the previous three months. Two years later, which is half a year after the recession officially ended, even more people had reduced their giving in the previous quarter. Today, there is a small improvement – not as many people reduced their giving in the previous quarter as they did 15 months ago.

Giving may be down, but like I said, the trend is less-bad.

I recommend you read the full report.

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