Faith-based giving remains strong despite tough economy, expected to increase in 2024

New survey says 95% of congregants plan to give the same or more in 2024 –  only 10% feel they did enough last year

Givelify and Lake Institute on Faith & Giving
Posted Feb 1, 2024

Despite the challenges posed by the tough economic climate, faith-based giving continues to hold strong, with an expected increase in 2024. This finding is based on the 2024 Giving in Faith report, a collaboration between Givelify, the leading online and mobile giving platform, and Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, a part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The new report provides insights from a national survey of nearly 1,000 faith leaders and 2,000 people of faith, shedding light on emerging trends at the intersection of faith and giving.

“In a period marked by economic unpredictability, socio-political unrest, and rapidly advancing technology, pastors and faith leaders might find themselves navigating uncertainty,” said Wale Mafolasire, founder and CEO of Givelify. “The Giving in Faith report not only addresses the multifaceted aspects of how people give to their churches and places of worship but also offers a glimpse into future expectations. Acting on the insights presented in the report will not only empower effective leadership but will also continue to strengthen the impact of faith communities on individuals and social issues affecting them, making a lasting impact for more good.”

Key report findings, which also incorporate data and insights from over 30 million Givelify donations, include giving, giver behavior, technology, and community impact trends:

  • People of faith are redefining and driving American philanthropy. Ninety-seven percent of people of faith surveyed reported giving money, time, and/or items in 2023. Despite a reported decline in overall U.S. giving1, the Giving in Faith report shows 40% of givers reported an increase in their total monetary contributions to their places of worship in 2023, up from a 30% increase reported in 2022. In addition to giving more to their place of worship, 53% also donated to nonprofit organizations in 2023.
  • Motivations play a significant role in the strength of faith-based giving with notable generational differences. Individuals rooted in faith are inspired by their religious beliefs, with 82% agreeing that giving is a core tenet of their faith. While all generations agree that helping those in need is a key reason to give, Millennials and Gen Z faith-based individuals were much more likely to report that addressing social justice is a major reason for their charitable giving.
  • Digital giving is the new norm. The collection plate has moved to online platforms, with 98% of places of worship now offering digital giving (up from 64% pre-COVID). And 88% of people of faith used digital giving to donate to organizations, causes, or people they supported in 2023.
  • The impact of faith communities extends beyond their places of worship. As a result of their congregants’ generosity, churches are doing more in their communities and for their congregations. Nearly all places of worship offer at least one outreach program to their community (compared to 90% in 2022). Primary needs, such as food pantries or clothing banks, represented the most prevalent type of social service provided by 82% of places of worship that engaged in community outreach in 2023.

Looking ahead to 2024, the report reveals:

  • Faith-based giving forecast points to increased generosity with a commitment to do more. While more than half of faith leaders are concerned that the state of the economy will negatively affect their organizations’ finances, 95% of individuals who gave money to their places of worship in 2023 want to give the same or more in 2024. And 94% of people of faith who donated money to nonprofit organizations in 2023 want to give the same or more in 2024. Only 10% of givers strongly agreed that their charitable giving in the past year was enough, while only 8% strongly agreed that they had volunteered enough.
  • Faith leaders are committed to making a bigger impact in their communities in 2024. Almost all (99%) plan to maintain or increase their community outreach efforts, and 72% plan on increasing their outreach, particularly to support: primary needs (food and clothing), housing (through rental support or shelters), women and senior initiatives, and disaster relief.
  • Ambivalence pervades the adoption of new technologies outside of digital giving. While faith leaders are excited about the potential for technology to support recurring giving and keep their congregation connected, most have mixed feelings about artificial intelligence (AI): 94% have never used AI, while some (6%) are finding innovative ways to incorporate it for automating announcements, livestreaming church services, and processing financial transactions. Others use ChatGPT for research, to generate ideas for events and funding, and to translate sermons into different languages.

“The Giving in Faith report underscores the inherent generosity of individuals within faith communities and illuminates their profound impact within their congregation and the broader community,” said David P. King, Karen Lake Buttrey Director of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. “Additionally, having a deeper understanding of the evolving trends in religious giving can equip congregations better to navigate the economic, social, and religious shifts more confidently.”

To read the full report, visit givelify.com/giving-in-faith.

Methodology The data and findings are based on the Giving in Faith survey conducted from Aug. 28-Sep. 11, 2023. The survey reflects responses from 2,000 people of faith and 980 faith leaders of diverse backgrounds, including age, educational attainment, income levels, geographic location, political orientation, denominations, and congregation sizes. See the Methodology section of the 2024 Giving in Faith report for full details.

About Givelify
Givelify is the most loved and trusted online and mobile giving platform. Along with its powerful donation management system, it’s the fastest-growing technology for advancing generosity in the world. We instantly connect people to their heart’s impulse to do good with award-winning products and experiences. A global community of more than 1.5 million generous people support their favorite places of worship, nonprofits, and causes with nearly $5 billion in donations across more than 66,000 organizations. Givelify leads all giving apps on the App Store and Google Play Store with more than 103,000 verified authentic reviews with an average 4.9 out of 5-star rating. Visit givelify.com for more information. Follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Lake Institute on Faith & Giving
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving fosters a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and giving, through research, education, and public conversation. The institute offers customized programs that translate data and giving trends into practical tools. Lake Institute supports the development of research designed to explore the broad context of religious giving. Through public forums we engage practitioners, scholars, and the community in thoughtful conversation and reflection.

About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduategraduatecertificate, and professional development programs, its research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.

1 Giving USA 2023: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2022 (2023). Chicago: Giving USA Foundation. The most recent Giving USA report for the year 2022 showed that total giving in the U.S. declined 3.4 percent from 2021 (10.5 percent when adjusted for inflation).