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Bad Economy = Bad Givers?

Conversations about the anemic state of the economy have mostly focused on the disappearing middle class, but a recent study from the Barna Group has brought another unexpected casualty to light: charities. Americans not only have less money to spend; they also have less to give away.

According to the study, 41 percent of Americans have cut back on giving to nonprofit organizations, and 34 percent have stopped donating to their church or religious institution completely. For Christians, the results are slightly more dramatic, with 46 percent saying they’ve reduced how much they give to nonprofits and 6 percent saying they’ve had to stop giving to their churches altogether.

David Kinnaman, president of Barna, says he expects these numbers to climb in coming months as the recovery continues its gradual trek. “For faith leaders and fundraising professionals,” Kinnaman says, “this means planning on modest donation levels and capital campaigns and the need for clear, compelling and consistent information to donors.”

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