Global study of 1.3 million people points to downward trend in generosity

Australia giving proves resilient

A 10-year global study that surveyed more than 1.3 million people reveals that despite a growing culture of charitable giving across dozens of countries there has been a recent downward trend in giving behaviour in some of the world’s wealthiest places.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 10th edition report examined aggregate data for each country across 10 years (2009-2018), drawing on surveys in 128 countries in order to capture longer term trends.

The survey asks 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.

Australia places 4th overall and while giving did fluctuate slightly over the course of the decade, the country, along with neighbouring New Zealand, offered relatively stable levels of donating, volunteering and willingness to help a stranger.

The USA is the world’s most generous country and seven of the 10 most generous nations are among the world’s wealthiest but the top 10 list also includes less affluent nations such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

But despite the scale of generosity, the report also identifies a recent downward trend in donations in key countries with long histories of philanthropy and household charitable giving, including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands where levels of individual giving are now lower than they were in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

In Australia, its place on the World Giving Index peaked in 2012 and 2016 and came close to those levels in 2018. In New Zealand, giving levels peaked in 2012 and again in 2015.

This year’s examination of a decade of giving is being released in the lead up to #GivingTuesday – December 3 – the global day of giving that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages people to give their time, money or voice to a good cause.

Other key findings:

  • Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people 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
  • Half of the countries that have risen the most in the World Giving Index are from Asia, with Indonesia leading the way
  • People from Myanmar are the most likely to have donated money to charity. (Practising Buddhists account for 90% of the population, 99% of them are followers of the Therevada branch of the religion which mandates giving)
  • Globally, nearly 20% of all adults volunteer with Sri Lanka reporting the highest rate of volunteering in the world.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, an international charity which helps people and companies to give worldwide, 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.”

Lisa Grinham, Chief Executive Officer of Good2Give, CAF’s Global Alliance partner in Australia and New Zealand, said:

“It’s heartening to see that Australians and New Zealanders have a focus on giving to communities in need, but I believe there is still opportunity to do more. The Giving Australia 2016 research, conducted from 2005-15, tells us the trend is that fewer people are giving more.

“At Good2Give, we want to encourage more people to give more. We currently work with 20 per cent of the ASX100, but we’d love to see that increase this year either through workplace giving, fundraising at work, establishing charitable foundations or delivering structured grants programs – all easy ways for people to give’.

“It all adds up for our communities and we are proud to play a small part in connecting businesses and people to the causes they care most about.”

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact:

Jo Kelly

Chief Customer Officer – Good2Give

P +612 9929 9633


The CAF World Giving Index 10th edition report is primarily based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll, which is an ongoing research project carried out in more than 146 countries.

It represents around 95% of the world’s population (around 5.2 billion people) and this year’s CAF report captures the cumulative responses of more than 1.3 million people. The survey asks questions on many different aspects of life today including giving behaviour. The countries surveyed and questions asked in each region vary from year to year and is determined by Gallup. More detail on Gallup’s methodology can be viewed online.

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with nine offices covering six continents. We exist to make giving go further, so together we can transform more lives and communities around the world. We are a charity, a bank and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years we’ve been helping donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact.

We are CAF and we make giving count.

About Good2Give

Good2Give is a not-for-profit that makes it easy for businesses, their employees and customers to support the communities and causes they care about.  Committed to building a more giving society, Good2Give provides innovative technology solutions to help businesses, donors and charities connect.  As well as advising businesses on how to engage with charities, Good2Give’s market-leading technology platforms allow the efficient and secure processing of around a million transactions annually.

Since 2001, Good2Give has facilitated $210million to more than 800 Australian and International communities.