A massive study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy revealed that the American middle class gives a far bigger share of its discretionary income to non-profits than the wealthy.
"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," according to an article in The Chronicle or Philanthropy.
Why is the generosity divide so great between middle class and wealthy Americans? Blame the "rich enclaves" - neighborhoods in which households making more than $200,000 a year account for more than 40% of the taxpayers. Those Clusterbucks (not bad, right???) give an average of only 2.8% of discretionary income to charity, the study found. By contrast, rich people living in more culturally diverse communities give at about the same percentage as the nation's middle class. In other words, rich people do not care about the problem they can't see. This is why it's so important to engage donors in stories - heart-warming newsletter pieces, youtube videos, and even first-person anecdotes at fundraising events - about those that have benefited from your organization.
Other interesting tidbits:
*Red states are more generous than blue states. The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity voted for John McCain in 2008. The seven-lowest ranking states supported Barack Obama. For what it's worth, those eight highly charitable Red states all have a strong tradition of giving to religious organizations. Utah and Idaho each have high numbers of Mormon residents that traditionally donate at least 10% of their income to the church. The remaining states in the top nine are all in the Bible Belt.
Some religious-affiliated causes are worthy ones; others are not (i.e. building funds, new Bentleys for Evangelical preachers,advocacy efforts against birth control/stem cell research/etc.).
*Illinois residents gave more than $6-billion in charitable gifts, the fifth-highest level in the country. However, the state ranked 29th in average household giving by percentage (4.2%).
*The most shocking statistic about America's giving characteristics came from another study conducted by The Center on Philanthropy called Women Give 2012. The study found that women in the highest income bracket donate more than two times as high as men. "For a $100 average gift given by an older affluent man, women of similar age, income level, and other characteristics donate $256 on average..." this according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy article: "