10 year look at generosity shows global downward trend

CAF World Giving Index 10th Edition

Generosity is on a downward trend globally, despite a growing culture of charitable giving across many countries, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 10th edition, released today.
This year’s Index examined aggregate data for each country across 10 years (2009-2018), drawing on surveys in 128 countries in order to capture longer-term trends. Asking if people have helped a stranger, given money or volunteered for a good cause over the past month, the report identifies the 10 most generous countries over the decade of research, along with the 10 least generous. It also lists the biggest risers over the course of the study and those countries that have dropped the most during that time.

Most generous countries

The USA occupies first place over the last 10 years with an overall score of 58%. Myanmar is in second place and New Zealand in third place, while the UK is seventh. The report shows that the UK’s place on the World Giving Index peaked in 2011, 2013 and 2015, echoing the trend in other large economies and the findings in CAF’s UK Giving report released earlier in 2019. It found a three year decline in the number of people giving to charity, although the overall amounts raised were stable with those who did give, giving more.

Many of the biggest risers in Asia

Since the World Giving Index was first produced in 2010, five of the top 10 biggest risers are to be found in Asia, with Indonesia leading the way. It is the only country in the top 10 to have improved its one year scores over recent years, with all of the others on a downwards trajectory. The USA for example peaked in the 2014 CAF World Giving Index with a score of 64%, seeing a steady decline in the next three reports, down to 56% in the 2017 Index before a very slight increase to 58% in World Giving Index 2018 meaning that overall, the USA has been on a downward trend in recent years.


New Zealand top performer

The only country to feature in the top 10 on all three giving measures over ten years is New Zealand, while China is the only country to feature in the bottom 10 on all three measures and is in last place of all the countries included on its overall World Giving Index score.
The UK is only in the top ten for donating money. People in the UK are the second most likely in the world to have donated money to charity, at 71% of people, following Myanmar, at 81%.

Overall downward trend

Overall, the report identifies a recent downward trend in donations in key countries with long histories of philanthropy and household charitable giving, including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands where levels of individual giving are now lower than they were in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people (48.3%) helped a stranger over the past decade, with African countries accounting for seven of the top 10 places where people are most likely to do so. This is the most commonly performed giving behaviour across the world.
In comparison, nearly 20% of all adults volunteered over the past ten years, with Sri Lanka reporting the highest rate of volunteering in the world.
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“We are once again reminded of the kindness and generosity of people across the world as they dig deep despite uncertain times and significant geo-political unrest to give their time and money to help others.
“In taking a step back and looking at giving trends over 10 years, we have created what we hope will serve as a roadmap to continue to grow giving in all its forms across the globe. There are areas of concern, but also key moments of hope in parts of the world that have overcome true hardship.
“We know that there is no single solution to success. It is about hard work, shared values and knowing in ourselves the inherent benefit to all of us when we work to improve the lives of our friends and neighbours, and strangers who need our help.”