Global Giving Behavior Increases Despite Turmoil

A small slice of the Global Giving Index 2011 global view map

The Charities Aid Foundation has released its “Global Giving Index 2011” report, and the finding may surprise you. Despite a decrease internationally in the number of individuals donating money, overall giving behaviors have seen a global increase over 2010.

The Global Giving Index measures three giving behaviors, ‘helping a stranger’, ‘volunteering time’ and ‘giving money’, and what percentage of a population has participated in these behaviors at least once in the prior month. Data is primarily based on the Gallup’s World View World Pole which occurred in 53 different countries in 2011, representing 95% of the world’s population.

The amount of the world’s population giving money has decreased since 2010, but more people are volunteering time and helping a stranger, especially elderly members of the world’s population age 50+. The largest increase in giving money from 2010 to 2011 was in Asia, specifically Southeast Asia with the growth of philanthropy in countries like India and Pakistan.

The Unites States ranks first in the world for giving behavior according to the index with a score of 60% up from a fifth place ranking in 2010 with an increase of six overall percentage points. The most common giving behavior in the United States was ‘helping a stranger’ with 73% of the population responding that they did so at least once in the prior month,  with 65% ‘giving money’ and 44% ‘volunteering time’ during the same time period. The United States increased its overall ranking in 2011, not through being the best in one single behavioral area, but by being strong in all forms of giving.

Although the Global Giving Index can tell us the amount that giving behavior shifts from year to year it cannot tell us why. There are large variations in giving behaviors depending on the region of the world or cultures being examined. It’s important for governments, nonprofit groups, foundations, corporations, and even individuals to examine their own regional and cultural giving ‘norms’ and find ways to increase these behaviors on all levels of our own and the global society.

For a more local look at giving behavior, be sure to read MCF’s Giving in Minnesota reports.

-Kaitlin Ostlie, MCF administrative assistant

One Response to Global Giving Behavior Increases Despite Turmoil

  1. Wendy Wehr says:

    MCF also publishes an annual list of non-cash gifts by corporate grantmakers in Minnesota: Many of these companies belong to the local Corporate Volunteerism Council (, which actively promotes giving of time.

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