What does the term “philanthropist” mean? Would you consider yourself to be one? What factors influence how and when people give, whether that means volunteering time or donating money?

These are the key questions addressed by a new, interactive, online platform from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy called Generosity For Life. It makes a case that everyone can be a philanthropist and tells the story of American generosity and offers a multifaceted look at giving by American individuals and families.

The platform includes customizable visualizations of data on giving collected through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS). Following the same 9,000 households throughout their lives, the PPS tracks giving, volunteering, and factors that influence philanthropic practices across generations – making it the leading and most accurate resource for measuring generational giving and volunteering in the United States.

Today more than ever, we need a rich and nuanced understanding of generosity. Generosity For Life sets the stage for your further exploration of these vital questions by packaging the data from the PPS study in an accessible and digestible way. The result is a rich philanthropic landscape that deepens understanding of American giving, lays the groundwork for greater altruism, and will inspire a new generation of philanthropists.

The interactive tools:
  1. Give-O-Meter: Take a quiz that compares your giving and volunteering habits to those of your peers, and identify new areas for growth.
  2. Generosity Maps: Compare how people give and volunteer across the country via illustrated maps of the United States. Filter the data via several lenses, including geographic region, type of charity supported, age, and income.
  3. Generosity Reports: Build a detailed charitable profile of giving and volunteering trends in the U.S., customizable by type of giving and geographic area.
The website is a valuable resource for people of all ages and backgrounds:
  • For current and prospective donors, Generosity For Life offers a rich opportunity to help them consider their own philanthropic choices and inform their giving.
  • For nonprofit executives, fundraisers, and practitioners, the website enables examination of trends in giving by cause, allowing them to easily see where there is the greatest support for, and interest in, the issues their organizations are addressing.
  • For researchers and academics, Generosity For Life functions as a clearinghouse and repository for cutting-edge research into generosity, including a comprehensive database of articles utilizing Philanthropy Panel Study data, reports, and fact sheets on philanthropic trends. These tools can serve as critical resources in understanding philanthropy and inform and inspire investigation into the human trait of generosity.

Original contribution by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy