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(RNS) Despite the economic recession, a plurality of congregations reported an increase in donations in the first half of 2009, according to a new study.
More than two-thirds of 1,500 congregations surveyed said fundraising has increased (37 percent) or held steady (34 percent), according to the study.
Nearly 30 percent said giving had decreased in 2009, a significant uptick since 2008, when only 22 percent said giving had declined.
“While many congregations have been hit hard by the recession, this study underscores the remarkable resilience of congregations, as evidenced in the extraordinary and imaginative ways they are reaching out to meet the needs of their parishioners and people in their community,” said William Enright, director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, a program of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
The study was part of a joint project between the Lake Institute and the Alban Institute on congregations and the economy.
Certain types of congregations have survived the recession better than others, according to the report. Congregations where attendance and finances have been growing over the past five years are more likely to have a growth in fund raising than “survival congregations,” congregations, in which attendance and finances have dropped by more than 10 percent over the past five years.
While many congregations are growing, there are indicators that the recession has taken a toll. One third of responding congregations reported making budget cuts in 2009 and another 25 percent kept their budget the same, without allowing for any increases in the cost of living.
By Angela Abbamonte
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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