August 12, 2009

21CN: Global Mission Gifts Up 13 Percent Despite Sagging Economy

Global Mission Donations Up 13
Percent Despite Sagging Economy

capDespite the sagging global economy, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is reporting a 13 percent upswing in Global Mission donations for the first six months of 2009, compared to the same fis cal period last year.

"This is encouraging news," said Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission. "This trend shows our supporters are digging deeper and making greater sacrifices."

The growth in giving also illustrates the conclusions of several recent surveys suggesting that faith-based organizations may continue to fare better amid the recession than other non-profit entities.

The 2009 Giving U.S.A. Foundation survey found that while two-thirds of public charities experienced decreased donations in 2008, religious organizations reported an increase of 5.5 percent.

While the climb came slightly later for Global Mission, which experienced a lean year in 2008, donations to date for 2009 look promising, Adventist Mission leaders said.

"This increase is coming not so much from new donors, but from our regular donors who are giving even more," said Nimfa Sumagaysay, donor response manager for Adventist Mission.

A survey conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for Dunham+Company indicates a similar pattern of giving, reporting that 60 percent of those who attend religious services more than once a week (about 27 million Americans) intend to give the same amount in 2009, while 14 percent say they intend to give more.

Along with donations received by mail, Global Mission is seeing an increase of online donations. "We're trying to make it as convenient as possible for people to make contributions," Sumagaysay said.

"There are so many projects that need funding in order to reach people," said Homer Trecartin, Adventist Mission director of planning. "The generosity of our donors makes the crucial difference between starting a project now or waiting until the economy improves."                               
                                                                                                                                         --Adventist Mission/ANN