If our hearts abide where our treasure goes, then the heart of American Christianity is increasingly close to the orphan in distress.
The Evangelical Coalition for Financial Accountability (ECFA) last week released its 2011 State of Giving Report. The report contained 29 giving categories. Remarkably, three of the four categories receiving the largest giving increases last year related directly to orphans and vulnerable children. This included orphan care (20.5% increase), adoption (14.7% increase), and child sponsorship (24.3% increase).
Only the general category of “Foundation Giving” (which often includes support of orphans and vulnerable children) saw a larger increase. This news comes as a remarkable continuation of a trend captured in 2010’s report (see blog post from last year).
Overall, despite tough economic times, giving to committed Christian organizations grew far faster than the economy or inflation last year. In total, cash giving reported by ECFA members reached $9.38 billion in 2010, a 5.8 percent increase from the prior year.
Although large Christian ministries saw larger increases in 2010 than small-sized ministries, giving to both groups significantly outpaced the giving received by nonprofits in the broader world of charity. According to the Chronicles of Philanthropy, the nation’s 400 charities that typically raise the most funds from private donors saw a negligible 0.2 percent in giving in 2010.
It is remarkable to consider that giving to orphan care, adoption, and child sponsorship grew at a rate more than 3, 2 and 4 times (respectively) the rate of growth in all Christian giving. Even more significantly, these three areas on average saw an increase in giving that was roughly 100 times that of the increase in giving reported by the 400 charities that normally raise the most from private donors!
Certainly, many great ministries continue to face great economic challenges. This includes some excellent frontline orphan-serving organizations that are less skillful at fundraising than in serving children. But still, to see giving rise substantially in a time of economic difficulty…and to see that hearts continue to grow for the orphan in distress…is heartening news.
It hints that—despite areas of real weakness—there is yet a health and vibrancy in many aspects of American Christianity.
For more results, and to see the 2011 ECFA Annual State of Giving Report, visit HERE.