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Giving USA 2023: The Good and the Bad News

Photo credit: GettyImages
Photo credit: GettyImages

Giving USA  released their report on generosity in the United States in 2022 this Summer. Why should you be interested? So glad you asked. It will give you an idea of how giving in your congregation may or may not match up with what is going on elsewhere. It will let you know that You. Are. Not. Alone. And that’s good news all of us can use.

The bad news first:

  • The economy has impacted giving. Are we surprised? No. But what is astonishing is how much it’s impacted generosity.
  • Giving in 2021 set a record high of $516.65 billion (yes, that’s a “b” for billion).
  • However, in 2022, giving dipped to $499.33 billion – a 3.4% drop in current dollars and a whopping 10.5% decrease when adjusting for inflation.

Not familiar with the all-important “adjusting for inflation”?

In short, Inflation Adjusted Dollars means - just like it says right in the name – the impact that inflation (increases) has on the dollar year-after-year.

For instance, if you spent $100 dollars in 2020 – because inflation has cumulatively gone up 16% – it will now cost you a whopping $116 to buy the same product in 2023.

Courtesy photo. 
Courtesy Photo.

Why does it matter? Most of us are thrilled if our congregants match what they gave the previous year. If giving to the budget stays the same, we’re not “losing” ground, right? Well, in fact, you are. Because costs are going up, less ministry is getting done if your giving stays static each year.

Now, the (sort of) good news:

  • Giving to religious institutions went up by 5.2%. Hooray! However, adjusted for inflation (see above), giving went down by 2.6%. Boo!
  • Out of the ten “mission” areas measured by Giving USA only two (foundations and international affairs) were able to outpace inflation. Good for them.

What can you do with this information?

Share it. Share it with your Finance Committee, your Generosity/Stewardship team, and your Leadership Team. They need to know how static giving does not mean more ministry. It doesn’t even mean the same ministry. It means less ministry.

Empathize. Inflation is real. Rents are crazy high. Medical costs keep going up and so do groceries. This is not an easy time for many people in the pews.

Talk about giving. There are some people who are unaware of the impact of inflation on ministry. They’ve been giving the same amount year after year without thinking about it. Challenge those people to pray about increasing their pledge or tithe.

Pray. Pray for people who are adversely impacted by the economy. Pray for ways to minister to them. Pray for generous people to step up and fill the gap to overflowing so that more, not less, ministry can happen.

The 2022 Giving USA report is a little more doom and gloom than was hoped for. However, that doesn’t mean you have to respond in kind.

We are a people of hope and joy.

We serve a God of abundance.

Let’s believe it and go out there and live it!

excerpt from a blog by Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregon-Idaho AC,

Click here to subscribe to her blog: "Inspiring Generosity." 

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.

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