Americans Were More Charitable Last Year Than In 2010

In what can be construed as a sign of economic recovery, Americans were in a more giving mood in 2011 than they were in 2010. Donors forked over a collective $347 billion to charities last year, $24.2 billion more than the year before.

Citing an Atlas of Giving report, MSNBC says charities as a whole received 7.5 percent more money in 2011 than they did in 2010, and are projected to see a 3.9 percent increase this year.

The news doesn’t exactly mean donations to all nonprofits are booming. The hefty unemployment rate has reduced the amount of workers able to give regular small-scale gifts. That’s a possible explanation for the reason people were a bit more stingy when passing the collection plate at church. According to the report, religious organizations received 36 percent of all donations, a slight dip from 2010.

If charitable giving is indeed a sign of optimism and abundance, charities are hoping as hard as any sector for job creation.

Report: Americans more generous in giving to charity in 2011 [MSNBC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    I have nothing left to give.

    • mauispiderweb says:

      You could volunteer! :D

      • Cat says:

        I don’t have any time, either.

        having 2 young kids and a wife that works opposite shifts (because we have to pay for health care, and we can’t afford a sitter / daycare) makes time a precious commodity.

        I do give, I just can’t give any more.

  2. rlmiller007 says:

    Proably all those bankers, that were about to get caught, donating as fast as they can so they can look like good guys

  3. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    My parents’ church has been fundraising for a new building since 1998. Sometimes when you give a church money, it is hard to see where, precisely, it goes.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Actually, you should be able to see exactly where it goes. Non-profits used what’s called fund accounting and if you mark a donation to the church as “Penguin Outreach” they have to hold that money and only use it for what you intended it for. So if they’re having a capital campaign, write that into the “memo” portion of the check and its restricted to just that. If they get caught spending that elsewhere, that can get them into real trouble.

      Cash donations… well, that’s a different story.

  4. qwickone says:

    I donated more this year because I think the Occupy movement highlighted the difference between the haves and the have-nots. It made me realize I have more than I need and there are people that don’t even have the basics. I always “knew” this was the case, but I felt compelled to act this year.

  5. longfeltwant says:

    It’s true in my middle-class household. We felt that we were doing quite well, made a list of charities, and systematically donated to each one in December.

    Some of the “charity” was paying for the podcasts (radio shows) that we listen to, such as some NPR shows, and some other science shows and whatnot. I paid for Slashdot for the first time. We also donated to some traditional charities, including one largish donation.

    This year I expect do do even better and donate even more. I sure hope so.

  6. [redacted] says:

    I think I donated a little more last year than the previous. At work, we contribute out of our checks and then some of it comes back to us for a community project. I like knowing exactly where some of the money I donate goes and being involved in the process.

    This year on the other hand I am donating about 25 percent less.

  7. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I gave more in 2011 than the year before. I am also more careful about who I give money to – early in 2010 I gave money to an organization, and before I knew it, I was bombarded with requests for money from SPCA’s in other states, children’s charities, disease research, etc. I finally quashed the requests by calling everyone and getting my name off their lists. Apparently they shared my name with a large list of charities.

    Now I give money to local charities that help people in my county and surrounding areas.

  8. LoneHighlander says:

    I work for a small non-profit and will attest that this was true for us. Still, overall giving is down. Those who several years ago gave $100 now give $50, and those who gave $50.00 now give $25, and so on. We’re also one of those non-profits where services are more in demand with the economy in tank. It’s tough out there for everyone, non-profits included.

  9. tbax929 says:

    I would donate a lot more if I were guaranteed that charities wouldn’t take my donation as an invitation to harrass me into donating more money. It’s out of control. As it is, I have my pet causes. But when they call me, I make it very clear to them that if they harrass me for money they will get none from me.

    The one organization I refuse to donate money to is my university. I paid out of state tuition to go there, and I think they’ve collected enough money from me in tuition. I refuse to give them another dime.

  10. SmokeyBacon says:

    I donated less in 2011 than I did in 2010, but I also feel like I was financially worse off in 2011 then in 2010. I didn’t loose a job or anything but costs got higher while my salary didn’t so that meant I had to spend more on things like food, gas, etc.

  11. yabdor says:

    The Salvation Army picture reminds me: Please DO NOT give money to the Salvation Army. They use some of that money to lobby against stem cell research and to promote their anti abortion agenda. So if either of those issues are important to you… STOP giving them money.