Through research and conversations online and in person, the Generosity Commission seeks to contribute to national understanding about how individual givers and volunteers are reimagining generosity in powerful and positive ways, strengthening our society and democracy in the process. The Generosity Commission believes that the more Americans explore the power of generosity and the role they can play in building a resilient society, the more likely they are to give time or treasure—in the knowledge that their generosity matters not only to their recipients, but to the health of our society overall.

The Generosity Commission will conclude its work in Fall 2023 with recommendations focused on ways that the business, nonprofit, and policy sectors can support and enable everyday giving and volunteering. Ultimately, the Commission seeks to foster a culture of individual and collective generosity in the face of the social and economic challenges our society faces today.

Research

Commissioned research already completed includes:

  • How We Give Now: Conversations Across the United States (Stanford PACS, 2020; Research Conducted for The Generosity Commission) reinforces the breadth and scope of generosity in America and how people choose, in many different ways, to support each other, social issues and communities. The research found that generosity behaviors reach far beyond the kinds of activities that are officially counted or incentivized in the US, like tax-exempt donations to charitable organizations, and revealed that the way we count and perceive generosity needs to change.
  • The Urban Institute’s Nonprofit Trends and Impact Survey report examined donation trends to community-based and social service organizations across the U.S. and gave us an understanding of the impact of the pandemic on these institutions. This study is the first year of an ongoing panel study which will analyze long-term effects of trends using a national representative study.

Upcoming research includes:

A National Conversation

Working with partners to prompt conversations online and in person, the Generosity Commission will engage individuals and communities around the country with its research findings and hear their recommendations as to how government policy, business practice, or organized philanthropy can remove barriers to and enhance the impact of their generosity.

The national conversation will collect insights, stories, and lived experiences from people across the country about generosity – their engagement with it, participation in it, views about it, challenges associated with to enrich our understanding of the research. The insights gained will inform the capstone report and recommendations put forth by the Commission.

We believe that the more Americans explore the role of generosity, the power it has, the good it can do, and the role they can play, the more likely they are to give time or treasure—in the knowledge that their generosity matters not only to their recipients, but to the health of our society overall.

 

Given the strong connection between volunteering and giving, it is crucial for the Generosity Commission to work across sectors to understand why people choose to donate their money and time to causes they believe in. Amid signs of trouble with current downward trends in both charitable giving and volunteering, there is an enormous amount of hope. We are at a turning point where we can learn from and share the trends affecting giving and volunteering in America to support and accelerate positive change in communities.

Natalye Paquin
President and Chief Executive Officer of Points of Light