In a recent survey done by WalletHub, Maryland ranked as the third most charitable state going into 2021.

Americans do more than just reach in their pockets to help others, though. WalletHub says they also contribute their time — and plenty of it. Over 77 million people volunteer in the U.S., serving a combined total of 6.9 billion hours per year, the equivalent of $167 billion of service.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted some volunteer opportunities in 2020, it hasn’t stopped people from giving. In fact, donor grantmaking was up 16% in the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Plus, the COVID-19 stimulus will allow Americans to take an above-the-line tax deduction of $300 per person for charitable donations in 2020. In the spirit of inspiring altruism, WalletHub determined the most charitable of the 50 states by comparing them across 19 key indicators of charitable behavior. WalletHub’s data set ranges from the volunteer rate to the share of income donated to the share of sheltered homeless, said the press release.

In terms of breaking down how Maryland became ranked as the third most charitable state, WalletHub lists this below

Generosity in Maryland (1=Most Charitable; 25=Avg.):

  • 19th – Charities per Capita
  • 7th – % of Donated Income
  • 26th – % of Population Who Donated Time
  • 1st – % of Population Who Donated Money
  • 24th – % of Population Collecting/Distributing Food
  • 13th – Volunteer Rate
  • 4th – Volunteer Hours per Capita

Potential donors must do a ‘deep dive’ into those organizations that they are contemplating supporting either financially and/or through ‘in-kind’ contributions. How does the mission of the organization align with the interests of the potential donor? What is the financial health of the organization? How engaged is the Board in helping to move the organization, i.e. do board members provide financial support, and are they diligent in their governance role? How much transparency is there in the operations of the organizations, both internally and externally,” says Mark L. BoddenAdjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service – New York University.

Source: WalletHub

WalletHub asked what measures can local authorities take to raise awareness about COVID-19 charity scams? “The government at the federal, state and local levels does have an oversight role in this sector. Why simply stated since tax-payer dollars are being received and utilized by the nonprofit organizations. Having said that, I believe that there are sufficient guidelines and regulations presently in-place. The issue is that due to the reduction in dollars to support oversight staff in governmental agencies to conduct proper oversight, this function is not being carried out in a robust manner, which potentially could result in the sector allowing for ‘bad actors’.”

Source: WalletHub

Most Charitable States in America

Overall Rank* StateTotal Score ‘Volunteering & Service’ Rank ‘Charitable Giving’ Rank 
8North Dakota65.68427
15New Hampshire62.311031
17North Carolina62.112414
19New York61.64451
27New Jersey59.483318
30South Dakota59.061543
39South Carolina56.673824
44West Virginia53.892748
46Rhode Island52.094437
49New Mexico47.284849

*No. 1 = Most Charitable


In order to determine the most philanthropic states, WalletHub compared the 50 states across two key dimensions, “Volunteering & Service” and “Charitable Giving.”

We evaluated those dimensions using 19 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the “most charitable.”

Finally, we determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.

Volunteering & Service – Total Points: 50

  • Volunteer Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Volunteer Retention Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Volunteer Hours per Capita: Triple Weight (~12.50 Points)
  • Community-Service Requirement for High School Graduation: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Share of Population Who Do Favors for Their Neighbors: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Amount of Money that People Would Lend Their Neighbors in Need: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Share of Population Collecting/Distributing Food: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Share of Population Collecting/Distributing Clothes: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Share of Population Fundraising or Selling Items to Raise Money: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Share of Residents Who Engage in General Labor (Supply Transportation for People): Full Weight (~4.17 Points)

Charitable Giving – Total Points: 50

  • Share of Income Donated: Double Weight (~11.11 Points)
    Note: “Income” refers to aggregate gross income.
  • Share of Population Donating Time: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
    Note: “Donors” refers to the share of the population who claim to have donated time.
  • Share of Population Donating Money: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
    Note: “Donors” refers to the share of taxpayers who donated money to charity and the percentage of the population who claim to have donated money.
  • Public Charities per Capita: Half Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: “Public Charities” is based on the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of the term. Among others, these charities include “churches, hospitals, qualified medical research organizations affiliated with hospitals, schools, colleges and universities.” They do not include private foundations, most of which do not engage in “the direct operation of charitable programs.” However, religious organizations were included in the data for the following reasons: 1) the available data does not differentiate between secular charities and religious organizations, and 2) many donors and volunteers consider their contributions to such entities as “charitable giving.”
  • 4-Star Charities per Capita: Half Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Charity Regulations: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Google Search Interest for “Charitable Donations”: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the real intent of the population to find information using the following search terms: “volunteer”, “non profit organizations”, “charity”, “charitable donations” and “charitable organizations”. “Real intent” is measured using the average monthly search volumes for those specific terms.
  • ‘Feeding America’ Food Banks per Capita: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Share of Sheltered Homeless: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Corporation for National & Community Service, Education Commission of the States (ECS), Fraser Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Cogency Global, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service, Feeding America, Charity Navigator, Windows USA, Google Ads, and Gallup.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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