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New Study on How America Gives Offers Insight into Your Donors

by Beth Johnson, Communication Specialist, Salsa

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released its newest study this week on how America gives and their interactive tool allows you to learn about charitable giving statistics in your state, city and community. It’s got a lot of potentially useful demographic information about your donors- particularly helpful as you plan your end-of-year fundraising strategy. We’ve complied some of our best year-end tips and resources to help you and the new information will only make your campaign plans stronger.

While you explore The Chronicle of Philanthropy data, here are a few key things the study revealed:

Making an Impact- Donors making $50,000 or more gave a median of 4.7 percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes. This totaled more than $135 billion in contributions- about two-thirds of total charitable gifts given in the United States.

Geography Matters- States vary widely when it comes to giving rates of its citizens, particularly when viewed based on the political affiliation of the state, and the role of religion in a given region. Overall, Utah, Mississippi and Alabama rank highest in terms of giving, while Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire occupy the lowest ranks.

The Middle Class is the Giving Class- Households earning $50-75K gave an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income, compared to 4.2 percent given by those making $100,000 or more.

Diverse Communities Give More- Rich people (making $200K or more) who live in economically diverse communities are more likely to give than those who live in communities where more than 40 percent of residents are also rich, possibly because seeing a need around them inspires people to give.

Tax Incentives Motivate Donors- At least 13 states offer tax benefits to charity donors and the higher giving rates in those states appear to reflect a positive view of the policies. This is key for your organization as you make your end-of-year fundraising plan.

Just in case you’re wondering, the data for this study was gathered through IRS records and is based on taxpayers who earned more than $50,000 in 2008 and itemized their giving. You can also find out exactly how the data was complied on The Chronicle of Philanthropy website.

Topics: Fundraising