9 Fascinating Findings for Nonprofits from the ‘How America Gives’ Report

By eleventy marketing group

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a new report (“How America Gives”) that ranks all 50 states based on how much residents donate to charity. The report also charts giving patterns in every city and zip code.

There are some really interesting results here, which the Chronicle has conveniently posted for online consumption. We suggest you check out data from your local area or areas where you target your marketing efforts.

In the meantime, here are a handful of fascinating findings from the “How America Gives” report…

How The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted this study:

The study is based on exact dollar amounts released by the IRS showing the value of charitable deductions claimed by American taxpayers in 2008. To provide a fair analysis, The Chronicle’s rankings show the percentage of their income that households donated from the money they had left after paying their taxes and covering housing, food, and other essential expenses.

Nine Fascinating Findings from the “How America Gives” Report:

  1. Americans who earned $50,000 or more in 2008 donated a median 4.7% of their discretionary income to charity.
  2. In total, the Americans included in this study gave $135 billion to charity (almost two-thirds of the $214 billion donated by all individuals in 2008).
  3. Households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 gave an average 7.6% of their discretionary income to charity – compared with 4.2% for people making $100,000 or more.
  4. 2 of the top 9 states (Utah and Idaho) have high numbers of Mormon residents, who have a tradition called “tithing” where they give at least 10% of their income to the church.
  5. 7 of the top 9 states are located in the Bible Belt: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina.
  6. In Utah, the #1 ranked state, the typical household claimed charitable contributions totaling 10.6% of discretionary income (almost 3.5% ahead of its nearest rival).
  7. Utah is also the winner when it comes to residents volunteering with a 45% volunteer rate. (Nebraska was second with 40%).
  8. Residents of Mississippi, the #2 ranked state, are more likely to donate money than time. The average household donated 7.2% of its income to charity, but only 21% volunteered (below the 26% national average).
  9. The bottom 6 states in the rankings are all located in New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

What These Findings Tell Us

When targeting your nonprofit direct marketing efforts (whether phone, mail or online), you can never have too much data about your donors. Understanding regional giving trends can provide valuable insight into how different people give in different ways.

At eleventy, we also believe data begets inspiration. Analyzing the findings from this report may spark an idea on how you can reach a new audience or tailor your marketing to your audience’s unique giving influences and practices. That’s the power of data.

View The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s complete state rankings and other information on “How America Gives”.