n. A person who donates five percent of their income to charity and/or spends five hours per week doing volunteer work.
Those who give five percent of their income or volunteer five hours per week should be our models. Like those who tithe, these 'fivers' represent the ideal of active citizenship and personal community service.
—Eugene C. Dorsey, “Volunteer center,” South Bend Tribune, April 28, 1997
1990 (earliest)
Do we give enough? How much does a person have to give to feel moral or virtuous? Are some kinds of giving more ethical than other kinds?

You want rules of thumb? They exist. Moses laid out the notion of a tithe — a 10th of one's income — in Deuteronomy.

Moses's kids, however, didn't want Nintendo. Few modern charitable organizations would dare to ask for so rigorous a commitment, although some churches do. The current national standard being pushed by the not-for-profit sector is the idea of becoming a "fiver," that is, someone who gives 5 percent of income and five hours a week of time.

Filer likes the fiver standard because "it's attainable; it's doable; but it represents a significant change."

How significant? The newest Gallup study reports an average rate of giving, per household, of 2 percent of income (up from 1.5 percent in 1987). The only economic group to meet the five-percent standard was the poor. People with incomes of less than $10,000 gave 5.5 percent.

People with incomes of $50,000 to $60,000 gave 1.7 percent. Those with incomes of more than $100,000 gave 2.9 percent.
—Colin McEnroe, “Americian charity; Fiver becomes standard giving formula,” The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo), December 01, 1990
Filed Under