One commonly-cited figure from the 2015 survey of the effective altruism movement (posted here) is that the median donation was only $333.
I recently read the section on donations again and noticed that things aren’t quite as bad as I’d remembered. Starting on page 13 of the PDF:
And, of course, the big question on everyone’s mind: how much money are these “earning to give” people making? And how much are they donating? Keep in mind that this question includes people who want to pursue earning to give, but haven’t started yet. In 2014, the total donations amongst the 316 people who identify their career plan as “Earning to give” was $2,719,259.
Excluding students, the median donation in 2014 for the 236 non-students on an “earning to give” path is $782.835, which is actually less than the median donation for non-students generally. This suggests that many of the people who are aiming to earn to give are aiming to give later, and perhaps building up career capital in the meantime.
We can break this down further by looking at the answers to the question “Do you believe that - for you at the moment - it is better to act now or invest to act better later?”. Of the 112 nonstudents who answered “Act now” and said their career plan was earning to give, the median donation was $1,933. Of the 59 non-students who answered “Act later”, the median donation was $131. This gives a lot of evidence to the theory that the low median donation for earning to give is due to people investing to give later.”
So EtGers who are not students and who believe that they should act now instead of later still donate less than 10%, which is severely embarrassing, but not as amazingly embarrassing as the $333 figure.
In particular, Rohin Shah points out
Assuming a $100k salary (which seems on the low end for EtG), this comes out to ~2%, which seems basically similar to your average American household, so I’m still pretty embarrassed by this :/ I haven’t found a good source for the median American donation (everyone seems to use average), but one page suggests a median of $2,436 on a median discretionary income of $52,924, which blows us out of the water. http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/blogs/how-america-gives-charitable-donations-by-state