Mixed picture for church donations in 2010

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2011 12:20 PM
Mixed picture for church donations in 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donations increased at 43 percent of U.S. churches last year, the third annual "State of the Plate" survey found on Wednesday.

Donations fell at 39 percent of the 1,507 churches polled and more than 90 percent of religious leaders expressed concern that plans by U.S. President Barack Obama to reform tax breaks for charitable giving could harm donations.

"Charities and churches have been hit hard by the economy the past three years," said Pastor Brian Kluth, founder of Maximum Generosity, which provides information on fund-raising to churches.

"If the government's plan to change the rules on charitable tax deductions goes through, giving to charities and churches will likely be negatively affected," he said.

Varying types of churches from around the United States took part in the online survey.

A separate report by Giving USA showed that in 2009 giving to U.S. churches and religious organizations fell by an estimated 0.7 percent. Figures for last year were not yet available.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Deborah Charles)