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One sure sign the economy is improving is the amount of charitable giving Americans do. And last year, charitable giving to large Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability-accredited nonprofits and churches increased a modest 2.4 percent last year. In 2011, there was a 1.4 percent decrease.

According to the faith-based financial accountability, when adjusted for inflation, cash gifts to ECFA members with fiscal years ending Dec. 31 were $5.3 billion last year, compared with $5.1 billion for the previous year.

But according to Dan Busby, ECFA president, this increase just isn’t enough and he’s calling for the government to step in. “Religious nonprofits are still fighting to regain their pre-2008 giving levels. When comparing pre-recession to current-giving data, giving to ECFA members is up a scant .4 percent over the six-year period,” said Busby in a press statement.  “It underscores that this is a time for Congress to maintain, and even increase, charitable giving incentives for charities.”

The ECFA findings are part one of its fourth annual State of Giving Report. In August, the second segment of the 2013 report will be issued; the final data to be released in November.

According to the breakdown, organizations with under $5 million in annual revenues saw cash donations decrease by 3.6 percent in 2012. However, those above $5 million in revenue saw a two percent increase. And, charities with under $1 million in annual revenues saw cash donations decrease by 9.6 percent; this was an even greater decrease for this group than  2010 to 2011, when it decreased 4.8 percent.

“The near 10 percent drop in giving to the smallest charitable organizations is especially troubling because it is the smaller charities which dot America’s landscape and provide most of the services to program recipients at the grassroots level,” notes Busby. “These small organizations comprise nearly 60 percent of the ECFA members included in this study.”

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is an accreditation agency to promote fiscal integrity and sound financial practices among member organizations.

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