A number of public statements by the Governing Body indicate that they are experiencing financial difficulty and they have appealed to JWs to donate more money. Public information on the financial situation of the Watchtower Society is limited. But what does the information they do publish indicate about their situation? No information is available about worldwide donations, but some limited information is available about worldwide expenditure in the Yearbooks. In particular since 2006 they have started publishing the total number of staff worldwide in branches.
Graph number 1 shows the decline in the number of branches over the last 10 years
Graph number 2 shows the increase in the number of staff at branches over the last 10 years
Graph number 3 shows the increase in money spent on special pioneers, missionaries, and travelling overseers over the last 10 years
The graphs show a number of things and also raise a number of questions. Firstly the number of branches started to decline in 2009. At the same time the number of staff at branches began to increase substantially. Why did the number of staff increase at the same time as branches were being closed? And which branches expanded the number of staff? Why has the number of staff increased so much at the same time as they have announced dramatic reductions? What's really going on here?
The amount of money spent on special pioneers, missionaries and travelling overseers has doubled in the past ten years. This is despite a number of changes that might have indicated reductions in this area: downgrading of Gilead, abolition of District Overseers, reduction in special pioneers. So why is so much more money being spent? Unfortunately no figure is given for the overall number of JWs who are supported in this way so it is not possible to tell if the numbers of JWs in these categories is increasing or if more money is being spent per special pioneer, missionary and travelling overseer.