Dec. 1 noted as Giving Tuesday.

Fresh off the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday comes the day that highlights giving back to the community.

According to the website givingtuesday.org, Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City that has used the values of service and giving back as a way to bring people together.

“#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving,” the website notes.

According to an analysis from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which looked at itemized tax returns from 2006 to 2012, the average American gives about 3 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity. In Delaware, according to the Chronicle, the average is 2.67 percent, putting it 37th in the nation for giving.

Residents of Kent and Sussex counties gave a little more – 2.9 percent – according to the survey, while New Castle County residents averaged 2.68 percent.

Still, according to Sheila Bravo, president and CEO of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, people in Delaware are generous in their support of nonprofits.

“Nonprofits are woven into the whole fabric of life in Delaware with community and recreation services, care for people in need and so much more,” Bravo said. “And they do that at costs and fees much lower than government or for-profits would do.”

 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy looks only at deductions from tax returns. Typically, nonprofits also benefit from volunteers and in-kind donations of time and expertise.

Bravo said DANA estimates about 90,000 people volunteer at Delaware nonprofits annually, accounting for an estimated 1.4 million hours and a value of $31 million.

“The nonprofits are able to deliver their services sometimes for free,” Bravo said. “If they were required to have employees to do that work they might not even be able to be open.”

 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy study also found that while the nation’s highest wage earners increased giving by $4.6 billion – to $77.5 billion – over the period examined, their percentage of giving as it relates to their total income dropped 4.6 percent. That was made up by people on the lower end of the earnings scale, who increased their giving by 4.5 percent as it relates to their total income.

In Delaware, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, people making $25,000 or less annually contributed 7.6 percent of their adjusted gross income to charities. In Sussex the percentage was 8.14. In Kent it was 8.06 percent and, in New Castle, it was 7.18 percent. Those making $200,000 a year or more gave 2.5 percent of their adjusted gross income to charities, according to the study.

Bravo said that while demand for services continues to increase, state and federal funding for many programs is decreasing, making it all the more important to support nonprofits.

“It’s not just about giving money,” Bravo said, “but people who have the ability to share their time, talents and treasures to help others in their community.”