Many celebrities you read about are often generous philanthropists too – many will say that ‘they can afford it’ – donating to specific charities or through their own or communal foundations such as ‘The Giving Pledge’. Some are activists, donating their time and labour for good causes, and many would presumably help a stranger in some way, usually if asked by said stranger. However, how well do you think whole countries rate in their attitude to charitable activities, in one form or another?
The Giving Index for 2015 recently released by the Charities Aid Foundation(CAF) may give you an idea of the attitudes to charity, by nations as a whole. The survey was conducted in 145 countries world-wide, covering 96% of the world’s population, assessing the percentage of the population who had volunteered time, helped a stranger, and/or donated money – the survey related only to the month previous to that in which the survey was conducted, and doesn’t specify the percentage who may contribute to charity in two or all three ways.
So how do you think your country rates in the three areas specified, and also does attitude reflect wealth, or simply a cultural (or religious) norm, inculcated over many years. Certainly, some of the richer countries are the least charitable – only five G-20 countries in the top 20 – while some of the most generous are also some of the most deprived. Men now outrank women in donating, and Iraq scored the highest in helping strangers.
Some factors effecting behaviour and the survey:
in some countries, people are asset rich, but time poor;
in countries with a Buddhist majority there is a tradition of giving to monks and nuns;
an opportunity to help strangers, eg few visitors or tourists;
conventions such as Subbotnik – giving a Saturday free – in former Soviet states, but now much less common;
the survey was conducted in some Muslim countries during the month following Ramadan, when generosity is encouraged;
some countries are so rich that the need for charity is minimal!
As with many such surveys, there are some surprises! Remember – columns two, three and four are percentages of the population. These are the top 20 most charitable countries. Read on…