Philanthropic activity is not well studied by social scientists, although the scholarly literature is increasing. The behavior of wealthy donors has received attention, but there is scant research on the giving behavior of the average American and even less on information-seeking as part of that behavior. Endogenous and exogenous forces have shaped American giving. This paper describes those forces in the context of the literature on information seeking in everyday life. It adds to that literature via an historical examination of changes in both questions and sources of information about philanthropy over time. Nonprofits are increasingly employing information technology (IT) to deliver messages about their causes and foster lasting relationships with donors . The flood of appeals creates a number of information tasks for Americans who want to give wisely. Potential donors must (1) decide whether an appeal holds any personal meaning for them (2) evaluate the worth of the appeal (3) decide how deeply they wish to engage and (4) cope with multiple, novel ways to engage in IT-enabled philanthropy. This research analyzed factors affecting the average American's engagement in philanthropy in an increasingly complex information-driven culture.