Private giving in 2013: Australia tumbles and a surprise entry from Myanmar

Australia has fallen from first to seventh place in the annual world giving index, published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which measures charitable behaviour across the world in over 130 countries. The index, which is drawn from results of the annual Gallup World View survey (methodology available here), is now in its fourth year of being published and measures charity across three categories: helping a stranger, donating money, and volunteering time. The categories measure instance not volume (i.e. only whether someone has donated or volunteered their time in the last month, not how much of either), While not perfect, it is a good indicator of peoples’ overall generosity.

 Giving index

So why has Australia slipped down? CAF Australia CEO Lisa Grinham has attributed Australia’s strong performance in the 2012 index (noting that the index relies on figures from the year before) to a peak in giving in the months following the 2010-11 summer of natural disasters in Queensland. This is reflected in the proportion of Australians donating money in 2012 – the year on which the 2013 index is based – dropping from 76% to 67%.

The index also reveals some other interesting trends across the globe. The report shows that, despite a slowdown in the global economy, the average percentage of people contributing to each category has increased. Growth in generosity has also largely been driven from outside of the world’s largest economies. In fact, only five of the countries appearing in the top 20 list are members of the G20 (and only two in the top 10). Developing countries in the top 20 include Sri Lanka, Libya, the Philippines, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Perhaps most interesting is the story of Myanmar. Having not being surveyed since 2006, the country came roaring into the index this year to take a tied second spot with Canada. With a whopping 85% of respondents reporting to have given money in the last month, Myanmar is the only country to record incidences of giving at over 80%.

image_pdfDownload PDF

Jonathan Pryke

Jonathan Pryke worked at the Development Policy Centre from 2011, and left in mid-2015 to join the Lowy Institute, where he is now Director of the Pacific Islands Program. He has a Master of Public Policy/Master of Diplomacy from Crawford School of Public Policy and the College of Diplomacy, ANU.

Leave a Comment