Evangelical Financial Group's Annual Report Shows Rise in Charitable Giving

An evangelical financial organization has released on Wednesday the findings of its fourth annual "State of Giving" report, which notes that giving to member groups has increased over the past two years.

Among their findings, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability found that annual monetary giving to ECFA-accredited organizations increased 6.4 percent between 2011 and 2012.

ECFA also found a 1.7 percent overall increase in contributions to ECFA member groups from 2010 to 2011, as well as a 5.8 percent overall increase from 2011 to 2012.

"As many American families experience economic challenges, church and nonprofit donors continue to demonstrate faithfulness in supporting God's work," said ECFA President Dan Busby in a statement.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Busby explained that among the many different entities that members were donating, the strongest trend regarded child-centered philanthropies.

"Some of the strongest trends over the last few years relating to the strength in giving increases for charities which provide services to children-adoption, orphan care, and child sponsorship," said Busby.

Busby also told CP that giving to ECFA member groups had increased more so than the nation's leading charities.

"The best comparison is with the Chronicle of Philanthropy study released in late October in which giving to the 400 largest charities in the U.S. was up 4 percent, compared to a comparable 6.7 percent increase for giving to ECFA members," said Busby.

The State of Giving report findings derived from data collected from approximately 1,600 ECFA members for 2011-2012 statistics and approximately 1,500 members for 2010-2011.

According to its website, ECFA was founded in 1979 as an entity for nonprofit financial accountability and accreditation.

"ECFA assists its member organizations in making appropriate public disclosure of their financial practices and activities, thus significantly enhancing their credibility and support among present and prospective donors," reads the History section of their website.

"ECFA conducts an on-site field review program to further enhance its accreditation certification of member organizations. Member organizations are randomly selected for on-site visits by an ECFA representative to verify the information submitted on the Annual Membership Renewal form and to confirm compliance with the ECFA membership standards."

The release of the State of Giving report came not long after a major evangelical academic institute earned accreditation according to the ECFA's standards.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary of Wake Forest, N.C., was accredited by the ECFA late last month. In a statement, Seminary President Dr. Daniel Akin said he was "excited" by the news.

"We believe financial integrity is one of the foundational items in honoring Christ through the training of the students that are sent to us by churches," said Akin. "We are grateful for the monies that God has given to us through churches, individuals, and tuition from our students. We have a responsibility to them and King Jesus to faithfully steward these resources."