When it comes to the most generous countries in the world, Australia ranks No. 1 for giving in 2010, according to a Gallup World Giving poll released in September.

The U.S. ranked No. 5. Even Ireland and Canada beat us when it comes to giving time and money. What does this say about giving in the U.S.? Why do certain countries outdo us in generosity?

“I think that the U.S. does not rank as high because Americans work longer hours,” said Kim Gerstman, associate director of development at the Population Council, an international nonprofit that seeks to improve global health. Gerstman has worked in nonprofit fundraising for over 20 years.


“Americans have less time to volunteer and are retiring later in life than in these other countries,” she continued. “Also, I think that many feel less secure about having enough savings for their own health care and education expenses.”

We may not rank as high as expected, but it’s not all bad news.

“We saw a downturn in giving to nonprofits since the end of 2008, directly related to the U.S. economy, but I do think that people in the US will be giving more in the future as the economy stabilizes,” said Gerstman. “I’ve seen this happen in the past with an economic upturn.”

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