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The Management Centre seeks data for The Big Mac® Philanthropy Index

How do you measure and compare philanthropy in different countries, given their different economies, GDP's, cultures and attitudes to charitable giving? London-based international management consultancy The Management Centre is attempting to do this by pegging some standard donation values against the local price of a Big Mac® in each country's currency.

In creating The Big Mac® Philanthropy Index, The Management Centre is emulating The Economist magazine's Big Mac® index. By comparing wages and prices to the price of a Big Mac, the Index lets you more easily compare the relative price of a car, the wages of a dentist, or how many hours someone has to work to be able to earn enough to buy a Big Mac.

The Economist has been publishing its index for over a decade, and, says The Management Centre, it has been used by international organisations to calculate the per diem for employees travelling to a foreign country.


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.

There are other international philanthropy comparisons, of course, including CAF's The World Giving Index and Johns Hopkins University's Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project.

What does the Big Mac® Philanthropy Index measure?

Applied to philanthropy, The Management Centre's index focuses on a number of standard measurements of giving:

The Management Centre is inviting fundraisers around the world to contribute the relevant figures for their country. It has already been helped in this by almost 40 colleagues intenationally and by volunteers from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents together with UNICEF International.

The Index already has data from countries as including Austria, Argentina, Italy and India and the aim is to have 50 nations on the index at its launch next month.

Management Centre Director Bernard Ross said: "The Index is a an experiment in crowdsourcing data. We launched the idea on a wiki and began to tweet. It's fantastic the way that fundraisers globally have taken the idea to their hearts. We know the initial data will be challenging and provocative, and we're not claiming it's the perfect approach, but it does offer a different 'real world' insight. We plan to update the index annually."

How to take part

Fundraisers in any country can enter the data for their nation on the wiki. The Management Centre is keen to receive multiple entries for nations to help make the data more representative and robust.

Contributors will also be told the results and will receive a full copy of the Index when published.

The Index will be launched in San Diego on 8 April as part of the marketing for a new book by Bernard Ross and Penny Cagney titled Global Fundraising- how the world is changing the rules of philanthropy (Wiley 2013)

Photo: large hamburger by Vong Ho on