It's sometimes forgotten that Americans are the most generous in the world when it comes to charitable giving.

As the economy regained some momentum in 2010, Americans responded in kind by increasing their charitable giving.

Philanthropic donations from individuals, foundations and corporations increased 3.8% to $290.89 billion in 2010, up from $280.3 billion in 2009, according to the latest Giving USA survey, released Monday.

But with an uptick in 2010, the implications for fund-raising and for charities across the country remain uncertain for now, said Nancy Raybin, a spokeswoman for the Giving USA Foundation and managing partner of Raybin Associates, a New York-based nonprofit consulting firm.

"There was a lot more optimism, all relative, in 2010," said Ms. Raybin. "If giving continues at this two or three percent [growth] level, it's going to take us a while to get back to where we were before."

Still, Ms. Raybin said the results from 2010 are encouraging and show that "people are still generous despite uncertainty, despite not having jobs and despite confusion about what the future holds."

In current dollars, philanthropic giving hit a peak of $310.57 billion in 2007 and then dropped to $299.81 billion in 2008. On average, giving accounts for about 2% of the gross domestic product.