1 in 3 Americans Giving Less to Charities

Ongoing hard economic times have led more Americans to dig less when it comes to giving to charities.

The majority of U.S. adults (three out of four) say the current economic climate has affected their charitable giving, according to a Child Sponsorship survey, released by Christian non-profit World Vision on Monday.

One in three is giving less to charities. Only ten percent of Americans say they're giving more to charities this year.

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"The sputtering economy has made it more difficult for hard working Americans to give what's on their hearts," said Lana Reda, World Vision vice president for Donor Engagement.

One in five adults is less likely to sponsor a child. More than half say they would be more likely to sponsor one if they had more money. Still, World Vision reported that their sponsors have remained loyal and the charity even experienced a modest increase of three percent in sponsorship numbers.

And while revenue is expected to grow eight percent in 2009, private cash donations are expected to drop by three percent. World Vision's 2009 fiscal year ends in September.

Earlier this summer, World Vision began employee layoffs partly as a result of a decrease in cash donations. The humanitarian charity organization also announced that it would reduce contributions to its employees' 403(b) plans and hold annual merit raises.

Results from the new survey, which was conducted in August among 1,006 U.S. adults, reveal that more than six in ten Americans say faith-based organizations and non-profit foundations should bear responsibility for helping the world's poor.

Charities aren't the only sector seeing decreased giving. Churches and Christian schools are also struggling financially, moreso than usual.

David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, told The Associated Press that he expects to see 10 or 15 percent of the more than 320,000 U.S. congregations in serious financial trouble next year.

Mainline Protestant denominations, including The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and The Episcopal Church, were all forced to make cuts in their budgets and staff this past year.

Also, the Association for Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,800 private schools, reported a drop in enrollment by nearly 5 percent, and about 200 Christian schools closed or merged in the last academic year, according to AP.

Despite the continuing financial troubles across faith-based groups, World Vision's Reda sees brighter days ahead. "As the economy gets better, we believe Americans will step up to meet the urgent needs of children and families around the world."

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