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How Americans give - and who is most generous

The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday published loads of data on giving patterns among American donors

Author: nonprofitmarketingblog, www.nonprofitmarketingblog.com Published: 2012-08-22 11-00-00 Viewed, times: 1585
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The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday published loads of data on giving patterns among American donors. You can search for your specific community giving here. The research is based on tax returns from people claiming charitable deductions.

Among the most interesting findings:

1. The rich arent richly generous. Says the Chronicle, Middle-class Americans give a far bigger share of their discretionary income to charities than the rich. Households that earn $50,000 to $75,000 give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more. In the Washington metropolitan area, for example, low- and middle-income communities like Suitland, Md., and Capitol Heights, Md., donate a much bigger share of discretionary income than do wealthier communities like Bethesda, Md., and McLean, Va.

2. You need to know the stories to care. Rich people who live around rich people are less generous than rich people who live in more economically diverse communities. If you dont see or hear about poverty, you arent as likely to act to remedy it. This is why its so critical to submerge people in the experience of those less fortunate through storytelling, events and other efforts. They have to know and feel to care.

3. Tax incentives matter. Special tax benefits for giving appear to encourage more giving.

4. Religion prompts more giving - much of it via churches. Says the Chronicle, Religion has a big influence on giving patterns. Regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not. Two of the top nine statesUtah and Idahohave high numbers of Mormon residents, who have a tradition of tithing at least 10 percent of their income to the church. The remaining states in the top nine are all in the Bible Belt.

5. Utah is the most generous state; New Hampshire, the least. While Utah is over 10 percent, New Hampshire reported charitable contributions that totaled only 2.5 percent of discretionary income.

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