Updated Mar 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

America the generous: U.S. leads globe in giving

Illustration of Uncle Sam holding a dollar bill
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

From Axios Finish Line, here's a stat to savor: America was the world's most generous country this past decade, according to the Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index, which surveyed 1.3 million people in 125 countries.

  • Not only do we give money, but 72% of Americans help strangers and 42% of us volunteer.
  • We grew more generous during the pandemic: 2020 and 2021 donations each topped 2019.

Why it matters: This cuts across religion, region and age, with nearly 60% of Americans giving money last year. Average donation: $574.

Trend to watch: There's a big surge in people setting up Facebook and TikTok fundraisers in lieu of birthday presents. You might roll your eyes at the exhibitionist dimension of public giving ... but it beats the alternative.

  • Facebook says birthday fundraisers bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Top beneficiaries include St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Alzheimer's Association, the American Cancer Society and No Kid Hungry.
  • Try it.

An even newer, real-time wave to surf: Booking an Airbnb stay in Ukraine — not to visit but as a way to send money to a family in need.

  • Last week, 61,000 nights were booked at Airbnbs in Kyiv and other cities — 34,000 of them by Americans.
  • Try it.

Tip to go: Be careful when giving. These four sites, all recommended by the Federal Trade Commission, let you verify whether a charity is reputable: 

And remember, if you want a deduction, you can make sure the charity qualifies by hitting the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Editor's note: This story originally published on March 8.

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