028 DGM – Are Californians Generous or Scroogy? How About Your State?

Are Californians generous or scroogy? How about your state?

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This is Ed Long. In each podcast I talk about charities and provide actionable tips to help donors and volunteers to take their philanthropy to the next level and do good even better.

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Episode sponsor

  • Today’s sponsor is the number 4.7.
    • 4.7% is the median percentage of disposable income given by households covered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s report on generosity in America. This is a median (not an average), so it’s the percentage in the middle (about half of households give more, half give less). Read more about the report below.

Main topic

  • Are Californians generous or scroogy? How about your state?
    • BackgroundHow About Your State?
      • The Gallup organization just published (May 8, 2014) the results of a poll it took, focused on whether a person gave money or volunteered time in the most recent month. Gallup poll report.
      • In August 2012, The Chronicle of Philanthropy issued it How America Gives report, focused on what percentage of disposable income households give.
      • About the reports

        • The reports give quite different results, in terms of which State is the home of the most generous. Utah, however, tops both lists. In this table I show some rank results from the Gallup poll, compared to the How America Gives rank results. Rank differences 30 or greater in bold.
        • State Gallup How America Gives
          Utah 1 1
          Minnesota 2 34
          Hawaii 3 24
          South Dakota 4 35
          New Hampshire 5 50
          Kansas 6 16
          Illinois 7 29
          Montana 8 37
          Idaho 9 6
          Maine 10 49
          Texas 15 13
          California 33 25
          New York 46 17
          Mississippi 47 2
          Arizona 48 18
          Nevada 49 41
          Kentucky 50 15
        • The Chronicle of Philanthropy report in August 2012 gave us lots of numbers and drew some conclusions. Back then, I reacted this way (and now feel the same, including the results of the Gallup poll report),
          • I guess “class warfare” must sell. Having checked out the new How America Gives report, I’m getting the drift that we’re not all in this together. The report told me that –
            • 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.”
            • And red state donors whup blue state donor in their generosity.
            • And free-range rich folks whup those who hang out together.
          • And it shares much more (like giving statistics by state, zip and even town). I see that people in the town where I now live are more generous than in the town I grew up in — whew, glad I got out of there!
          • It’s kinda’ good to have all this information, I guess. The presentation came across to me, however, as pretty divisive. U.S. residents as a group are wonderfully generous, both with their donated cash and their volunteer hours. Everyone can help, and almost everyone does.
        • Are Californians generous or are they scroogy? They’re generous. Based on these two reports, Californians as a group are in the middle range. But even the bottom of the range is remarkably generous.
        • I like numbers and statistics, probably more than then next guy. And these two reports have lots of numbers. But they don’t help you or me do good even better — so I don’t suggest we spend meaningful time focusing on them.
    • Your smart and easy assignment for today
      • Ignore giving statistics for your state, city, political views and wealth level. Focus your giving on a few strong charities doing solid work that you care about.
    • A big part of giving smart from your heart is focusing your time, energy and giving on strong charities working on what you care about. 
    • Had experiences? Have feedback? Share your thoughts  in the Reply / Comment section at the bottom of the page. Or email me at ed[@]seriousgivers.org

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    About Ed Long, the podcaster

    Podcaster Ed Long has been preparing more than 40 years to do this podcast. He knows charities and the rules that apply to them. He’s analyzed charity finances and operations.  He’s founded and run charities, and volunteered for them. He’s helped the public and law enforcement fight fake charities, and has served as a philanthropy educator and coach. Before all that he worked as a partner with a major Wall Street law firm. Ed is the founder and CEO of SeriousGivers, which itself is a charity. Ed knows the great work that strong charities can do with the resources entrusted to them, and is passionate about helping others find and support strong charities.