Where can I find data on giving and volunteering? (FAQ)

Indiana University Center on Philanthropy (COP) studies COP has conducted a variety of research on giving and volunteering.

Independent Sector creates the Giving and Volunteering Research Clearinghouse (12/2005) "A growing number of researchers at universities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and in many states and regions in the United States and around the world are delving deeper into the national giving and volunteering trends explored in INDEPENDENT SECTOR's research. As a service to the field, INDEPENDENT SECTOR maintains the Giving and Volunteering Research Clearinghouse, currently comprised of nearly 400 studies. The Clearinghouse offers brief descriptions of and links to these myriad resources to give nonprofit and foundation leaders, media, and scholars access to a comprehensive listing of local, state, national, and international research works on charitable behavior."


  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes data from the September supplement of the 60,000 household Current Population Survey (conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau). It's report can be found here.
  • The U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service has created a website -- and data on volunteering. Also see its page on performance research..
  • The University of Texas has a useful primer identifying other sources of data at
  • For Youth Volunteering

  • Tufts University's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has a range of reports at
  • A useful compilation of research on volunteering by youth was created by the Ad Council. The report, Engaging the Next Generation: How Nonprofits Can Reach Young Adults is intended for a general audience. The appendix provides some detail on research methodology.
  • For Area-Specific Information on Charitable Giving

    Individual charitable contributions in 1999 at the state level are here text, chart, or appendix

    Demographic profiles of contributors who itemize deductions on their annual tax returns are not available. National estimates of contribution levels of non-itemizers are available based on the Urban Institute Charitable Giving Model, but there are no state, regional, or local estimates.

    For some areas, individual giving data may be available from local United Way affiliates. This information can be accessed at the United Way of America website.

    For Demographic Information on Charitable Donors

    Through 2001, Independent Sector provided demographic information on individual contributors based on its biennial Giving and Volunteering survey.

    More recent data is available through the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study at

    For Information on Large Individual Contributions

    Prior to 2002 Worth Magazine tracked the largest individual donations.

    In 2002 Indiana University began tracking this information. It's "Giving USA 2002" includes a list of all gifts of $5 million or more in 2001 compiled from publicly available reports in newspapers. Since this is based solely on publicly available data, some contributions may be missing.

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of donors of $10 million or more is online and searchable by name or state or other variables. The site is The issue with information for 2001 was dated February 7, 2002.

    For Other Estimates of Contributions

    The Giving USA Foundation and the Giving Institute publish Giving USA, the annual yearbook on American philanthropy written by Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy.

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy publishes statistics on charitable giving.

    Key words: individual donations, individual contributions, charitable giving.

    Added 01/03/2006 by tpollak, Modified 04/19/2010 by tpollak


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