This Faith Spotlight is adapted from the CCS Fundraising 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at nonprofits in this sector.

This Faith Sector Spotlight is adapted from CCS’s 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at the data provided by 50 survey respondents from that sector.

Respondents representing a congregation, house of worship, or parish constituted the most common (47%) type of survey participant. The four most common religious affiliations included Roman Catholic (57%), Anglican/Episcopal (18%), Jewish (8%), and Presbyterian (8%).

fundraising practices

Just under half (48%) of all religious organizations report revenue increases vs. their prior fiscal year, as compared to 57% across all sectors. The majority (52%) of organizations get 20% or less of their giving in the form of noncash assets.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of religious institutions achieved 0-20% of their endowment in 2023. Religious institutions might consider leveraging endowment fundraising tactics from the education sector to inform an alternative approach to sustainable funding.

religious institutions’ projections and priorities

Fifty-two percent (52%) of participants expect major and mid-level gifts and annual appeals to increase in 2024. With a renewed focus on digital giving, faith-based organizations might consider highlighting faith-based values in online communications. For example, Jewish synagogues could include a Tzedakah donation page on their website.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of respondents believe DEI is important to define their organization’s values, compared to 77% across sectors.

To support pastoral planning, houses of worship participated in a myriad of staff exercises (below). Religious leadership could leverage our seven steps for planning, implementing, and integrating a visioning workshop at their congregation.

staffing and resourcing in the faith sector

In 2023, 18% of responding organizations increased their fundraising staff, compared to about one-third across sectors. While 68% of all organizations increased staff pay by 1-10% over the past three years, 48% of organizations in this sector saw an increase. In one national survey of Christian institutions, 37% cited staff recruitment and retention as their top challenge. Improved benefits, increased pay, and a focus on staff referrals may help support funding and retaining top talent at your faith institution.

donor acquisition and retention

Sixty-four percent (64%) of organizations indicate that their number of new donors has increased in the past 12 months, as compared to 57% across sectors. Sixty-four percent (64%) of organizations report retaining over half of their new donors over the past 12 months, compared to 67% overall. Faith-based institutions might consider leveraging specialized legacy societies as a powerful donor acquisition and retention tool.

Notably, 66% of Catholic respondents achieved over 80% of their annual stewardship appeal goal. Successful parishes leverage peer-to-peer strategies and archdiocesan resources to ensure an efficient approach to fundraising.

data and technology in the faith sector

Forty-eight percent (48%) of participants describe their organization’s reporting and analytics capabilities at a leading level or higher of sophistication, versus 58% across sectors. While 58% of all organizations have not addressed the use of AI technology in their operations, 70% in this sector have not. Faith institutions could could leverage guiding questions to implement AI in their fundraising practices.

The data on this page was curated from a questionnaire taken by over 600 responding organizations during the fall of 2023, reporting on FY23 results.