To determine where the most generous Americans are inspiring others to be more selfless, WalletHub compared the 50 states based on 19 key indicators of charitable behavior. The data set ranges from the volunteer rate to the share of income donated to the share of sheltered homeless.
|Most Charitable States|
|1. Utah||11. Alaska|
|2. Maryland||12. Wyoming|
|3. Minnesota||13. Washington|
|4. Oregon||14. Arkansas|
|5. North Dakota||15. Maine|
|6. Pennsylvania||16. New Hampshire|
|7. Virginia||17. New York|
|8. Colorado||18. North Carolina|
|9. Ohio||19. Massachusetts|
|10. Georgia||20. Wisconsin|
The charities with the highest ratings from WalletHub include the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, Animal Welfare Institute, and World Resources Institute.
Vermont has the most charities per capita, 53.71, which is 2.7 times more than in Utah, the state with the fewest at 20.23.
Utah has the highest volunteer rate, 51.00 percent, which is 2.2 times higher than in Florida, the state with the lowest at 22.80 percent.
Utah has the most volunteer hours per capita, 58.91, which is 3.4 times more than in Mississippi, the state with the fewest at 17.29.
Experts weighed in on the findings.
What are the biggest challenges facing US-based charities in the current economic environment?
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit the nonprofit sector very hard, and the arts and cultural sector even harder. They have seen declines in revenue, a widespread cancellation of events, retraction in programming, closing their doors, and layoffs,” said Dyana Mason, MBA, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Oregon.
“Keeping up with demand for services, especially for health & human service organizations while navigating uncertain funding and ever-shifting waters in terms of COVID. Many, if not most, people who work for nonprofits are facing burnout as they have been working so hard for so long. This is especially true for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who serve communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” added Erica Mills Barnhart, MPA, associate teaching professor, University of Washington.
What advice do you have for choosing the right charity?
“First, start with the issues that you are concerned or passionate about. There are good organizations doing work from advocacy organizations to zoos at the local, state, national, and international levels. Second, talk to your friends and family and see what groups they might be involved in personally. Can you support a friend’s passion, too? Third, review the organization’s website and programs. Do they align with your values and beliefs? Last, you can review an organization’s level of transparency, along with their financial filings,” Mason added.
“Vetting of potential recipient organizations should be a holistic and comprehensive approach. Arrange a visit to the organization to get to know their employees, volunteers, Board members, clients if possible, and other key stakeholders, and learn how they operate. Request their annual report and look up their 990 tax return on GuideStar to see their financial condition and some clues as to how they bring in and spend their money…Most importantly, try to determine how effective they are in delivering their program or service…Request a copy of a program evaluation report to see how effective they are and how or if they use the evaluation results for learning,” noted Salvatore Alaimo, Ph.D., associate professor, Grand Valley State University.