This Faith Spotlight is adapted from the CCS Fundraising 2023 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at nonprofits in this sector.

Explore the 2023 Philanthropy Pulse report in its entirety.

The 96 responding religious institutions were comprised of congregations or houses of worship (44%), (arch)dioceses (25%), and other (31%) types of religious organizations. Nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents indicated that their revenue increased or stayed the same in FY21 compared to the previous year.

Religious organizations received gifts and/or pledges from a variety of gift vehicles, notably donor advised funds (76%), bequests (70%), qualified retirement plans (66%), and family foundations (62%). However, 90% of organizations sourced 40% or less of their donations from these, and other, non-cash sources.

94% of respondents who collect offertory reported that their income from this source increased or stayed the same. Additionally, fundraising time is dedicated to an (arch)dioceses’ annual appeal.

Two-thirds of all religious respondents noted that their organization's reporting and analytics capabilities were at expert or leading level. However, 70% also reported that data is inconsistent, inaccurate, or incomplete, while 43% say that their CRM is dated or not user-friendly. Successful religious organizations will learn how to maximize their donor databases.

Approximately 60% of religious institutions indicated that donor acquisition and donor retention were among the top three challenges facing their organization. However, the sector saw notable success in donor acquisition, with over 50% of respondents reporting that their number of new donors increased in the previous 12 months.

Additionally, nearly 60% of all respondents reported that they retained 51% or more of the donors gained in 2020 and 2021, a marked difference from data collected across all sectors.

All respondents indicated that they send thank you letters to donors. Most perform personal calls to recognize donor contributions.

Respondents in the faith sector were among the least likely to report discussing the concepts of diversity, equity and/or inclusion (DEI) with donors.

Combined, nearly 60% of all religious organizations reached or exceeded their annual appeal. No respondents indicated that they received 20% or less of their annual stewardship appeal goal.

Among responding faith organizations, 48% expect an increase in annual appeal revenue in 2023, followed by 44% in major gifts and 41% in mid-level gifts.

Fundraising staff size has and will predominantly remain the same among religious institutions.

The data on this page was curated from a questionnaire taken by nearly 1,200 organizations during the fall of 2022 reporting on FY21 results.