Click to enlarge the 2014 World Giving Index Heat Map showing World Giving Index scores (aggregate % giving money to charity, volunteering and helping a stranger)
The 2014 edition of the world’s only global, annual index of charitable generosity has been published by the Charities Aid Foundation and the results tell us a great deal about the strength and health of solidarity and civil society in the world today.
The 2014 World Giving Index is based on surveys by Gallup in 135 countries over the past year and reveals the proportion of people that reported giving money, volunteering their time and helping strangers within a month of their being surveyed. This unique approach allows us to gain a broader understanding of generosity which does not value giving in purely financial terms. That their is a tie between the Unites States and Myanmar – a developing country that has endured many decades of isolation – for the position of most generous nation in the index reveals its strength as an alternative and nuanced study of giving behaviour.
Worryingly, according to the index, the proportion of people giving money to charity feel slightly in 2013 – by 0.6 percentage points and seems to reflect the slight fall in global GDP growth rate reported between 2012 and 2013. Analysis of the global giving over the past 5 years shows that across the three measures giving dropped in 2009, the year after the 2008 financial crisis, recovered in 2010, and then fell sharply in 2011 before rising again in 2012 and 2013. Strikingly, the proportion of people volunteering and helping a stranger has improved in this year’s index but the percentage giving money to charity has diverged from that trend.
Though fluctuations in the economy clearly seem to have an impact on giving on a global scale, the 2014 World Giving Index also shows that any notion that generosity might be directly linked to wealth is deeply flawed. Whilst there is a relationship between wealth and the proportion of people giving money to charity, that relationship is relatively weak. Just five of the countries in the top twenty are members of the G20, the group representing the world’s largest economies. Eleven G20 countries are outside the Top 50 and three of these are outside the Top 100.
One particularly encouraging finding in the 2014 World Giving Index is that transitional economies – nations that have developed sufficiently to no longer be considered as developing nations but are not yet on a par with advanced economies – have seen growth on all three measures of generosity this year with the proportion of people donating money to a charity bucking the global negative trend and growing by 2.6%. With the number of middle class people set to grow by 165% by 2030 according to the OECD, and with their expenditure set to reach US$55 trillion by that date, we are faced with a tremendous opportunity to create a truly inclusive global culture of philanthropy. CAFs Future World Giving project exists to try and understand the barriers to making this future a reality.
The index also shows high levels of generosity in countries facing turmoil – reflecting the pattern of giving in post-conflict nations as people help others through the most difficult of times. And it shows people’s innate desire to help others, even in nations which do not have anything like the standard of living enjoyed in the West. Iraq has seen a huge jump in the proportion of people helping a stranger – from 42% in 2012 to 75% in 2013. This is likely to be a reaction to the increasing violence in the country and an increased need to help those affected. Typhoon Haiyan appears to have had a significant impact on giving in Malaysia. The country has risen from 71st to 7th in the index as its aggregate participation score across all three behaviours increased by 26 percentage points, probably as a result of the humanitarian effort made towards the neighbouring disaster in the Philippines.
Over the next few months we will be looking in much more detail at specific elements of the 2014 World Giving Index including religious considerations, gender, age, education levels, and sense of wellbeing to try to understand how giving is impacted by, and also impacts societal conditions. Please follow this blog to learn more about the 2014 World Giving Index and please feel free to ask questions or raise issues via the comments form below.