Money may be tight for lots of Americans, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our spirit of giving. A new study says we actually gave more to non-profits and charities in 2011 than in the year prior — but we’re still way off from the donations seen in 2007.

The Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University reports we gave $298 billion to over a million registered charities and about 220,000 religious groups.last year, four percent more than in 2010.

Individual donations made up about three-quarters of the total amount, with the rest coming from corporations. Corporate donations remained flat at $14.5 billion, but foundations issued about $42 billion in grants — a slight increase — and gifts from estates went up 12 percent to $24 billion.

The $298 billion total is certainly a good chunk of change, but it’s still about $10 billion less than the charitable donations made in 2007 before the housing bubble burst and the economy took a nosedive.

“The average rate of growth in charitable giving in 2010 and 2011 is the second slowest of any two-year period following all recessions since 1971,” said Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

[Reuters]