The Norman Transcript, Norman, Okla.
When the nation's economy began to tank in 2008, one of the first casualties was charitable giving. Donors held back from supporting non-profits and churches.
Now, a new report says charitable giving shows signs of a slow recovery but not for religious organizations. In 2011, overall giving increased 4 percent but giving to religion fell 1.7 percent.
It's the second year in a row that giving to churches has declined, troubling many pastors and church finance boards. Religious giving fell from 2009 to 2010 by 2 percent. There has been a 3.7 percent drop in support for religion from 2009 to 2011.
Giving to religion is the only sector of charitable giving that has seen a cumulative two-year decline in giving, according to Giving USA. All other sectors such as giving to education, human services, international affairs, environment/animals, public-society benefit and health have grown.
Religious giving remains the largest recipient of charitable dollars. This year, it retains that honor, but the share has dropped from 35 percent in 2010 to 32 percent in 2011.