And the Most Generous Country in the World Is …
The World Giving Index is an annual report published by the Charities Aid Foundation. It uses data gathered by Gallup and ranks more than 140 countries in the world based on how charitable they are.
The aim of the World Giving Index (WGI) is to provide insight into the scope and nature of giving around the world. The first edition was released in September 2010, and the most recent edition was published in November 2016.
The 140 countries from which the Gallup World Poll generates information represent around 95 percent of the world’s adult population (around 5 billion people). In smaller countries surveyed, 1,000 questionnaires are completed by a representative sample of individuals living across the country, while 2,000 samples or more are collected in larger countries. Overall, Gallup interviewed more than 150,000 people in 2014.
Gallup asked people which of the following three charitable acts they had undertaken in the past month:
- If they helped a stranger or someone they didn’t know.
- If they donated money to a charity.
- If they volunteered time to an organization
In the article “Which is the World’s Most Generous Country?” CNN noted that based upon the WGI 2014 survey, 2.3 billion people worldwide said they helped a stranger over the course of one month and over 1.4 billion people donated money to a charity in 2013.
When analyzing which countries were the most generous, the report found that a “nation’s economic prosperity doesn’t automatically translate to generosity.” The article noted that five of the countries in the 2014 WGI Top 20 were members of the G20, a forum of the world’s largest economies. Countries that were less prosperous—Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago—were featured in the top 10 that year.
The 2014 WGI poll found that major drivers of donations were other factors (e.g. following a religious philosophy or responding to a natural disaster). In the number one country (Myanmar), which was also the top country in the 2016 poll, 91 percent of the respondents donated money to charity that focused on the practice of those in the Theravada Buddhist community. The country of Malaysia jumped from 71st place in a previous poll to 7th place due to the outpour of humanitarian aid after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the neighboring Philippines.
The report concluded “the diverse nature of the top giving countries signals that regardless of geography or culture, people universally appear to respond to those in need.”
In the article titled “The 10 Most Charitable Nations in the World,” the author, noted that generosity is universal. The 2014 WGI report’s writers recommend that the world’s governments make sure nonprofits are regulated fairly, encourage charitable giving as nations develop their economies and promote civil society as an “independent voice in public life.”
Now it’s time for the most recent edition of the WGI. The second and third ranked countries according to how charitable they were included the U.S. and Australia. New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada, Indonesia, the U.K., Ireland and the United Arab Emirates completed the top 10. The most generous country in the world was Burma/Myanmar.
Myanmar ranked first in the 2016, 2015 and 2014 polls. In these polls, approximately 90 percent donated money, 50 percent did volunteer work and 50 percent helped a stranger.
In the article titled “Which Country Gives the Most to Charity,” the country Myanmar gave the most in pure numbers. Almost all the citizens through Theravada Buddhism give to the monks, so they can carry out their lifestyles without financial worries.
The WGI is confirmation that many countries across the world are filled with generous people who are quick to lend a helping hand in times of need. Philanthropy is important to the U.S., but I am happy to report that it is also important to at least 139 other countries in some way. Our world is a better place when neighbors help each other with gifts of time, talent and treasure.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.