World Giving Index
CAF present this infographic on the World Giving Index 2014
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Australia is the most generous country in the world

The high levels of involvement in the three giving behaviours in Australia mean that this country sits at the top of the World Giving Index this year. In a typical month, more than two-thirds of Australians donate money to charity and help a stranger. More than a third volunteer. In addition, Australia has the highest score on average over the past five years. There is tangible evidence that the Australian government is taking action to further encourage philanthropy, allowing the donations and efforts of the Australian public to have yet more impact.

Globally, average participation in giving has fallen since 2007

The average participation in each of the giving behaviours has fallen since 2007. Participation in helping strangers stood at 47.0% in 2007, and fell to 45.1% by 2011. The equivalent figure for donating money to charity was 29.8% in 2007, falling to 28.0% in 2011. The decline for volunteering time was the largest of the three: from 21.4% to 18.4%. Although the percentage of people participating has declined, the actual number of people who donate money and volunteer time is higher than it was in 2007. This, however, has been shown to be due to the rise in the global adult population over the period - had there been no increase in population since 2007, fewer people would now be engaged in each of the three giving behaviours.

There has been a 'double dip' in giving

Global participation in each of the three behaviours was at its lowest level in 2009. Engagement in the three behaviours then rebounded relatively strongly in 2010, before falling again in 2011. Over recent years, the fluctuation in global participation in giving has echoed both the rate of growth in global gross domestic product (GDP), and the numbers of disasters and emergencies recorded around the world.

2011 witnessed a sharp fall in engagement across giving behaviours

Between 2010 and 2011 the number of people who have donated money, volunteered time and helped a stranger have each, on average, fallen by at least 100 million. Average participation has also fallen by approximately two percentage points in each case. The most generous countries have very diverse social, economic, geographic and political profiles The World Giving Index focuses on the percentage of people who donate money, volunteer time, and help a stranger, to any extent, in a typical month. It does not quantify the amount of money donated, the number of hours volunteered, or the number of strangers helped. The strength of this approach is that it provides a clear view of the basic state of giving worldwide - by showing who is 'included' in giving, and who is not. The 20 highest ranked countries have very diverse profiles. Geographically, the list includes at least one country from each continent. In terms of economic strength, it includes Qatar, the second highest on the list of countries by GDP per capita, and Liberia, the second lowest. It includes the United States of America, a country of over 300 million people, and Trinidad and Tobago, a country of just over one million.

Helping strangers is the most commonplace giving behaviour, volunteering time the least

The proportion of people who help strangers on a monthly basis (45.1%) is more than seventeen percentage points greater than the proportion who donate money, and more than double the proportion who volunteer time. Over time, participation levels in the three giving behaviours have fluctuated in unison Over the five-year period examined in this report, levels of engagement in the three behaviours have broadly fluctuated in unison. Only at one point - 2008 - was any divergence observed. At this point, the percentage of people donating money rose markedly as engagement in helping strangers fell.

Continents differ clearly in how they give

The report shows how much variation exists in terms of the extent to which people of different continents are able to engage in the three giving behaviours. Engagement in donating money for example is more than four times higher in Oceania than it is in Africa. Average participation in helping strangers is also far higher in Africa than it is in either Europe or Asia. Africa has seen a clear reduction in its giving, over the past five years Africa's average giving score for the most recent year stands three percentage points lower than its average across the past five years. All other continents are within one percentage point of their five- year average. Moreover, the reduction in giving in Africa has been felt evenly across the three giving behaviours of donating money, volunteering time and helping strangers.

Globally, women donate money more than men but men volunteer time and help a stranger more than women

Throughout the past five years, at any point in time, there has been less than a five percentage point difference between the proportion of men and women who donate money to charity, volunteer time, and help strangers. Whilst it is true that more women donate money to charity than men, and that more men volunteer time and help strangers, it is also true that the aggregate differences between the two are relatively narrow. Deeper research would be required to understand if the total value of money donated, or total amount of time dedicated to giving, are as similar.

Young people are less engaged with donating money to charity

There is a marked difference in the involvement of the world's youngest and oldest people when it comes to donating money. Over the past five years, the youngest generation (16 - 24 year olds) has consistently been within a few percentage points of the oldest generation (50+) in terms of likelihood to volunteer time and helping strangers, but as much as 10 percentage points less likely to donate money to charity.