Search for Donors Within the Most Charitable Cities in America

Every year, studies go out assessing the charitable nature of US cities. Between public records, social media, and charity searches, these studies reveal their own lists of the top philanthropic cities within the United States, based on how much time and money the people of the community are contributing. Knowledge about these charitable cities could serve as a valuable addition to your existing research.

Not sure where to host your next alumni event? Looking for new potential donors? In addition to focusing on your alumni data, you could also take into account some of the top cities where philanthropic giving seems to be a trend.

Top Charitable Cities

Charity Navigator does a yearly ‘Metro Market Study’ based on data collected from many different charities. [1] This year’s results are in – and the top 10 charitable cities of 2017 are:

1. San Diego
2. Houston
3. St. Louis
4. Tampa/St. Petersburg
5. Dallas
6. Cleveland
7. Miami
8. Minneapolis/ St. Paul
9. Kansas City
10. Portland

This particular study goes beyond just ranking cities but also helps nonprofit leaders and prospectors better understand each community’s differences such as top causes, cost of living, or market maturity. [2] The study doesn’t focus on donations to higher education systems but rather donations to top charities. However, it’s still an excellent indicator of the community’s philanthropic nature.

Top Cities for Online Giving

Online giving is becoming a more and more popular way to give. In 2016 alone, online giving grew 7.9% with Millennials leading the way [3] and according to the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, 50% of wealthy individuals now engage/give online, as compared to 15% just eight years ago.[4] A recent Blackbaud study looked at the top cities for online giving and came up with these results:

1.Seattle, WA
2. Alexandria, VA
3. Atlanta, GA
4. Washington, DC
5. Cambridge, MA
6. Ann Arbor, MI
7. Arlington, VA
8. Cincinnati, OH
9. Bellevue, WA
10. San Francisco, CA

Steve MacLaughlin, director of product management for Blackbaud, thinks that the results show that certain cities have ‘younger, wealthier, and tech savvier donors’ along with ‘a unique mix of businesses, nonprofits, and education institutions’ that promote giving. [5]

No matter the form of the study, it seems the people of these communities know that they have a lot to offer. Sean McCaffery, director of development for Missouri History Museum, whose city, St. Louis, was ranked #3 in the 2017 Charity Navigator Metro Market Study, showed no surprise at their placing and shared, “the people of our city are very supportive.”

Find Alumni living in Philanthropically Inclined Cities 

It seems therefore that there is an atmosphere within certain cities that promotes giving. Research those cities and use that data to your advantage in order to complement your prospecting research, find great cities to host alumni events, start searches for alumni volunteers, or find new potential donors.


Sources & Further Reading

[1] 2017 Metro Market Study, Charity Navigator

[2] Most Charitable Cities in the U.S.,

[3] How Millennials Have Disrupted Traditional Charitable Giving,

[4] The 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, Bank of America Newsroom

[5] Where Do The Most Generous Online Donors Live? Charting U.S. Digital Giving,

[6] 50 Most Generous Cities in America,

[7] 25 Most Giving Cities in the U.S.,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *