So, You Think You’re Generous?

Ever wonder how you compare to other people like you when it comes to generosity? If you’re “keeping pace” with your peers on charitable giving . . . or volunteering in the community?

Now you can know, thanks to the Give-O-Meter. It’s a nifty feature at the new GenerosityForLife website, a project of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. (One ORBITER staffer learned they were in the 87th percentile for charitable giving. But before they could pat themselves on the back, they saw they were at about the 50th percentile for volunteering. Time to make better use of those Saturdays!)

The Jolly Rancher effect

Other features include interactive Generosity Maps, showing regional differences in giving, and Generosity Reports, breaking down the data even further. Oh, and a fun feature exploring how second-graders define generosity. One example: “My Grandma was generous because she welcomed us in her home and let me have one of her Jolly Ranchers.”

The new website, funded by the Templeton Foundation, offers a multifaceted look at American families’ generosity over time, analyzing data from more than 9,000 individuals’ and families’ giving, volunteering, and factors that influence those practices.

A sobering data point: In 2014, the latest year for which data are available, 55.51 percent of Americans households gave, a decrease of nearly 11 percent since the year 2000.

The editorial staff of ORBITER magazine humbly pursues life's Big Questions, illuminating the human condition and our place in the universe.