October 17, 2010; Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy | If anyone was wondering whether the recession was over—this may be an indicator. Donations to the nation’s biggest charities dropped 11 percent last year (2009), a decline that was the worst in the two decades according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 400 ranking. Worse, they do not expect to do any better in 2010.

The 400 charities surveyed raised $68.6-billion in 2009. The drop they suffered in contributions was nearly four times as great as the next biggest annual decrease—2.8 percent in 2001.

Six of the ten organizations that raised the most money in 2009 saw declines. Two of the hardest hit were, Food for the Poor (No. 6) saw contributions fall by more than 27 percent, while, reportedly, donations to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (No. 7) plunged by 40.3 percent, this due to the fact that donations to the Fund are often made in stock and those were “not very popular” last year.

Four charities in the top 10 reported increased contributions last year: Catholic Charities USA (up 66 percent); the AmeriCares Foundation (up 18.1 percent); Feed the Children (up 1.2 percent); and World Vision (up 4.5 percent).—Aaron Lester