Despite the economy, donors opened their wallets to give more than $1 billion in the first four months of the relief effort in earthquake-devastated Haiti, a generous response for an international disaster.
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University estimates that donors contributed $1.3 billion - about the same amount raised for the 2004 Asian tsunami - to 96 private charities like the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.
Though it is less than the $5.3 billion generated after Hurricane Katrina, the center's executive director, Patrick Rooney, said the Haiti response was huge.
He said Haiti's proximity to the United States and extreme poverty may have tugged at American hearts.
"I think it's a little surprising that response was as strong as it was," Rooney said.
He said the economy did not influence giving, since most people donate small amounts that don't require a reallocation of household budgets - the average gift was $50.
About one-third of the total amount went to the American Red Cross, which raised $444 million, according to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Red Cross collected some of its money by allowing people to text a $10 donation from their mobile phones.
Thousands of aid agencies are currently working in Haiti as 2 million Haitians are enduring the rainy season in makeshift camps and struggling to buy food and provisions.
But Rooney expects donations for Haiti to drop off precipitously. They always do when media coverage fades and aid agencies shift from emergency operations like food drops and medical care to longer-term recovery measures.
"We're a nation with a short attention span," Rooney said. "Three to six months after a disaster, donations approach zero."