America sets a new individual giving record in 2016, according to Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy released June 13, 2017. It has been the fifth time in the history of their research that non-profits have experienced an increase in the amount of donors. With a major leap in individual donors, the amount of donation diverted to religion is also greater.
With 32% of the total donation amount gone to religious establishments, religious charities have become one of the major non-profits in America today. Last year alone donations made to religious institutions came up to almost a hundred and twenty-three billion dollars, which is an increase of 3% since last year. It’s is the highest amount ever in the history of this research, even with the inflation adjustment. It is the sixth consecutive year that the religious philanthropy has seen an increase. However, on a closer look, it isn’t as great as one would assume. In the five-year average growth in this category, it has been the slowest growth year in comparison to all other categories.
Institutions coming in the religious category are congregations houses of worship, national religious entities, and missionary societies. But the drop in the average growth in the religious donations in these institutions are broadly based on two factors.
Memberships of churches and synagogues has seen an overall decline. The number of people who used to go to church weekly has also declined in the recent years. There are fewer people in the country who make a donation to their house of worship to strengthen their relationship with it.
Donation Accounting Methodology
Per the report findings, the major concern in general census is that the method of accounting in these religious institutions for religious giving is not as contemporary as it could be. The traditional method of bookkeeping and basic computation power might be making the donation management a bit exhausting task. The methodology for the accounting can be improved.
There are still some variations in the results of the report. For example, if a hospital foundation, even if it has religious affiliation, will still be counted in healthcare.
Giving USA Foundation has been investing resources to improve the approach of religious non-profits in attracting and maintaining its donors. If the current methodology of accounting is improved upon a lot more clear result can be procured.
In religious category total giving is spurred largely by individuals. For the start, the donor-receiver relationship matters more than just the numbers in the value of donations, and thus should be a priority concern.
Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy was released to the public at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.