Charity or philanthropy usually brings images of financial donations, to a greater (the Bill Gates of the world) or lesser (you and me) degree, each according to her or his means. The majority of celebrities you will read about on this site have their philanthropic activities identified – quite deliberately, as it gives a more complete picture of the individual – usually in terms of finance, and sometimes specific to certain institutions or organisations. Supposing that you don’t have any spare cash, though – what can you still do to assist those who are in much more dire need of support than yourself? You have already started thinking, haven’t you!? So then, who do you think gives the most, identified by country?
‘Charity begins at home’ is an old adage – apparently from the 17th century King James bible – that you could do well to start out with, and which could also well be the motto of the Charities Aid Foundation(CAF). The Foundation is a charity in itself, but also far more than that. It is based in London, and under the patronage of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh endeavours to encourage philanthropy in its various forms, and the work of charitable organisations themselves.
CAF concentrates on three arms of philanthropy – donating money, helping someone you didn’t know who needed help, and volunteering time to a charitable organization.
It does this by:
a. endeavouring to ensure charitable (not-for-profit) organisations are consistently, transparently regulated legally; ie they do what they are designed to do.
b. encouraging people to donate in some way, also offering incentives to do so, eg tax deductability.
c. helping charities to campaign independently.
d. persuading developing economies to adopt philanthropy as part of their culture, society, especially in the middle classes.
So just how successful is the CAF, and more particularly in which areas of the world? CAF does not claim to be directly responsible for the level of philanthropy in any country, but its policies listed above are presented widely to appropriate authorities.
Each year since 2010, the CAF has conducted research into the level of philanthropy in over 140 countries, asking the questions – ‘during the previous month (NOTE!) have you donated money to a good cause, helped a stranger, and/or volunteered your time. “The ‘World Giving Index” averages the responses from these questions, counts the percentages, and hence arrives at the overall score and ranking.
Timing of research can be crucial, for example in Muslim countries around the time of Ramadan the efforts may be more positive. However, for the third successive year, and despite negative publicity regarding treatment of the Rohingya people, Myanmar tops the list, averaging 70% and way ahead of the USA in second place on 61% and Australia on 60%. That over 80% of Myanmar’s population are Theravada Buddhists is believed to be significant, as they traditionally donate regularly to monastic institutions, but topping the giving of money list too. The top five is completed by New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with Iraq tops for helping strangers (81%) and Turkmenistan for volunteering time (60%). CAF remarks that generosity increases in times of adversity, and that for the first time over 50% of all those surveyed worldwide helped a stranger.
Conversely, and disappointingly perhaps, only the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Indonesia of the Group of Twenty (G20), representing 85% of Gross World Product (GWP), are listed in the top 20 on a five-year average, little changed from previous years.
There are possibly some surprises in the following lists.
Following is a list of the top 20 ranked countries in 2016, courtesy of the CAF.
|Rank||Country||Overall Index %||Helping a Stranger %||Donating Money %||Volunteering Time %|
Top 10 Countries by Participation in Helping a Stranger
|2||State of Libya||79|
Top 10 Countries by Participation in Donating Money
Top 10 Countries by Participation in Volunteering Time