In the past, much has been made of the Granite State’s thriftiness — or, depending on your viewpoint, stinginess — when it comes to charitable giving. Surveys have suggested New Hampshire, when it comes to reaching out to pick up the check for charity, has among the deepest pockets, and shortest arms.
This seems to be changing, and it’s a welcomed gift.
GoFundMe, a popular website that enables online contributions to numerous causes, released its Year in Giving report recently and found that New Hampshire was fourth in the country in overall giving to a plethora of needs, ranging from personal local tragedies, such as children facing cancer, to broader national and global challenges, such as natural disasters.
GoFundMe, since 2010, has tracked $9 billion funneled through its site via 120 million donations globally and found that on a per-capita basis in the United States, New Hampshire ranked only behind Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington in giving through its site.
While GoFundMe is only one funnel through which cash is given to those in need, there is other evidence that New Hampshire is loosening its grip on its purse strings. WalletHub, a website serving the financial services industry, compared all 50 states in 2018, measuring two categories — volunteering/service and charitable giving — and came up with a combination score for each.
In measuring volunteerism, it looked at 10 factors with the heaviest weight given to hours of service per capita. In the donation category, the share of giving as a percentage of income received the most priority. Nearly 20 data points were examined when awarding a score.
New Hampshire placed 10th in the country in volunteering, a high ranking to which we’ve become accustomed; New Hampshire residents are generous when it comes to lending a hand at times of need. It placed 25th in direct financial assistance, a respectable finding given its woeful past performance, as measured by other groups.
It was only five years ago, for instance, that The Chronicle of Philanthropy said New Hampshire was dead last in giving per $1,000 of income at a paltry $17.40. This did not take into consideration volunteerism, but it did look at seven years of data from 2006 to 2012, so it was a thorough view of things. The study cited New England’s “independent” streak as one reason for the tight-fistedness among all six states. We think the study writers were being, well, charitable.
In New Hampshire’s defense, the study noted that money given to religious organizations and churches was included. New England church attendance tends to be low in comparison to other regions. Utah, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were considered the most generous in The Chronicle’s study.
One of WalletHub’s interesting findings is that New Hampshire is tied for second with Minnesota for the highest percentage of people who give. That’s noteworthy, though it suggests, if we are 25th in cash donations, our contribution amounts are low.
Other findings from WalletHub:
Vermont has the most charities per capita; Nevada the fewest;
Rhode Island has the lowest percentage of its people collecting and distributing food; North Dakota the highest;
West Virginia has the lowest percentage of income donated; Utah, Georgia and Arkansas are tied with the highest;
And Florida has the lowest volunteer rate; Utah the highest.
Of course, data can and are interpreted differently, but we’ll accept that New Hampshire is more charitable these days. Perhaps to ensure we continue to trend upward, a resolution to make for the new decade is to be even more generous.