Religious organizations reported a 5.5 percent increase in donations last year, a marked contrast from the nationwide 2 percent decline in charitable giving, according to a study by the Giving USA Foundation.
Religious congregations and other religious organizations, which received 35 percent of the total $307 billion in charitable contributions, exceeded $100 billion in donations for the second year in a row.
Though public-society benefit and international affairs organizations also cited increases in charitable contributions, two-thirds of public charities reported a decrease. An overall decrease in giving has happened only one other time in the report’s 54-year history.
The economic recession spurred the decline, said Del Martin, the chair of the foundation. “We definitely did see belt-tightening . . . but it could have been a lot worse.” Even with the cutbacks, this was the second consecutive year in which the total exceeded $300 billion.