As a result of continued worldwide economic turmoil in 2011, the news about giving around the globe is mixed:
- The good news is that the world gave more in 2011 than it did in 2010, taking into account money donated, volunteerism, and helping a stranger.
- The bad news is that the number of people donating money worldwide has gone down. The overall increase in giving came from the increase in volunteerism and helping a stranger.
- The news for Americans is very good. The United States moved from a fifth place ranking in 2010 to the top spot in 2011 making it “the world’s most giving nation.”
- The news is also good for Asians. As a region, Asia has seen the largest growth in overall giving.
These insights come from the World Giving Index 2011, published recently by The Charities Aid Foundation, an international charity based in the United Kingdom. The report, compiled from survey data provided by Gallup, ranks charitable behavior in 153 nations. The ranking is based on three measures:
Have you done any of the following in the past month?:
- Donated money to a charity?
- Volunteered your time to an organisation?
- Helped a stranger, or someone you didn’t know who needed help?”
The global average of the three giving behaviors in 2011 was 32.4 percent, up from 31.6 percent in 2010. More specifically, there has been a two percent increase in the global population “Helping a Stranger” and a one percent increase in people “Volunteering.” Unfortunately, the sluggish worldwide economy might be to blame for a one percent decrease in the number of people who gave money to a charity.
In 2011, the top ten most giving countries were:
United States of America
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Interestingly, national wealth and giving do not necessarily go together. Only five of the nations in the World Bank’s ranking of the top 20 nations by Gross Domestic Product per capita appear in the World Giving Index 2011 listing of the 20 most giving countries.
For the US, there’s more good news from a completely separate study, Blackbaud Index. The January 2012 edition reports:
Fundraising has returned to pre-recession levels. Through the first 11 months of 2011, overall giving is up 3.4 percent over 2010, and is now officially above the level of giving last seen in 2007.”
This news is not especially surprising. There has been a strong correlation between GDP and charitable giving. Historically, giving has been about two percent of GDP. So, as the economy grows, we can expect that giving will follow. Of course, as we have seen, the converse is also true.
I invite you to share your thoughts below about either study. If you want to comment on Twitter about the World Giving Index 2011, CAF encourages you to use the following hashtag: #WorldGivingIndex; a summary of Twitter feedback will be included in next year’s report.
That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?