While some cynics believe that charity is dead in the United States, recent studies prove that this is certainly not the case. It seems that generosity is alive and kicking throughout the nation, based on a recent report from Convio Inc., the leading provider of software and services to nonprofit organizations.
In this enlightening report, Convio ranks "large" cities (those with a total population of more than 100,000) and "small" cities (less than 100,000) based on actual per capita online giving between January 1 and August 31, 2009. During this time period, nonprofit organizations using Convio online fundraising software processed more than $422 million in online donations - a double digit increase over the same time period in 2008. (The charity isn't the only things that benefits from your donations. Find out more in It Is Better To Give AND Receive.)

While some towns seem to be somewhat charity-challenged, others are leading the way when it comes to giving. Based on per capita giving, these five cities win the prize for being the most generous so far this year:

  1. Alexandria, VA
    Based on the Convio Inc.'s 2009 rankings, Alexandria is the number one most generous large city. This giving Virginia town also won the title as the most generous city in 2008. Alexandria citizens made 25,143 donations, adding up to a whopping $1.8 million. The average donation was $74.36, and the donation amount per 1000 people in the town comes out to a remarkable $12,993. Talk about a town that understands the gift of giving!
  2. Cambridge, MA
    When it comes to generosity, Cambridge, Massachusetts grabs the silver. From January 1 through August 31, 2009, Cambridge dwellers made 10,282 donations worth a total of $963,253. This comes out to an impressive $9,122 per 1000 people.
  3. Minneapolis, MN
    Folks in Minneapolis may be cold, but they're certainly not cold-hearted. This giving town donated more than $2.8 million in the first part of 2009. Although that grand total is actually more than the Cambridge donation sum, the city's higher population kept Minneapolis in third place. (Remember, these rankings are based on per capita giving). In Minneapolis, the donation amount per 1000 people was $7,549.
  4. Arlington, VA
    Arlington, Virginia residents are anything but stingy. As the second Virginia town to land in the top five most generous cities, Arlington folks have donated a massive $1,575,336 thus far this year. That's definitely nothing to sneeze at. That comes out to $7,502 per 1000 people.
  5. Seattle, WA
    Seattle lands in fifth place for its notable generosity. This rainy Northwest town has been flooding charities with donations since the beginning of 2009. Seattle citizens have already donated $4 million this year - the highest amount out of all the top five cities. However, the donation amount per 1000 people in the heavily populated town was $6,754.

Based on the Convio data, the top ten most generous large and small cities are as follows:

Most generous large cities:

  1. Alexandria, VA
  2. Cambridge, MA
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Arlington, VA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Bellevue, WA
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Pittsburgh, PA

Most generous small cities:

  1. Paramus, NJ
  2. Princeton, NJ
  3. Georgetown, TX
  4. Katy, TX
  5. Bethesda, MD
  6. Silver Spring, MD
  7. Spring, TX
  8. Marietta, GA
  9. The Woodlands, TX
  10. Fairfax, VA

Although it may seem that our nation is filled with tight-fisted scrooges, there are countless citizens who donate both their time and money to charity - even in these tough economic conditions. This recent data on the nation's most charitable cities proves that generosity is still alive and well in the United States. (Learn more in Gifting Your Retirement Assets To Charity and Deducting Your Donations.)

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