world’s most generous countries
12 Apr
  • By Dayle Kavonic
  • Cause in

These Are The World’s Most Generous Countries

With all the talk of crime, war, terrorism and Trump buzzing around us like a persistent fly, it’s easy to get down about the state of the world – to start losing faith in humanity. It’s helpful, then, to be reminded that there are good people on this planet. Lots of them. Around 2.2 billion, in fact, according to the 2018 World’s Most Generous Countries Report.

Released by Gallup, the comprehensive write-up summarises the results of a research project that surveyed over 153 000 adults across 146 countries in 2017 to measure residents’ inclination to a) donate money to charity, b) volunteer time to an organisation, and c) help a stranger in need. The findings are both heart-warming and rather surprising at times.


And The Most Civically Engaged Countries Are…

Taking all three metrics into consideration, the study found that the top four most giving nations in the world are Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the US.

If you look at monetary donations alone, Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia rank in the top three, with 88%, 78% and 71% of respondents respectively saying that they gave cash to a cause within the past month. As far as donating time goes, people in Indonesia (53%), Liberia (47%), Kenya (45%) and Sri Lanka (also 45%) are most likely to volunteer at an organisation. And when it comes to assisting strangers in need, the nations with the most supportive residents are Libya (83%), Iraq (81%), Kuwait (80%), Liberia (tied 80%) and Sierra Leone (tied 80%).


You Don’t Need to Be Wealthy To Give Back

Some of the “victors” make sense. Australia, New Zealand and the US are all developed countries with healthy economies. But what about Myanmar, where 37% of people still live near or below the poverty line? A whopping 88% of this nation’s seriously stretched population regularly digs into their pockets to give to others. And consider Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone. These are all categorised as either low or lower-middle income developing countries and are home to many people who don’t have much and who live in highly stressful conditions. And yet these same people somehow manage to find the time and/or resources to help make the world a better place.

As Jon Clifton, global managing partner for Gallup, says:

“You don’t need to be rich to give back. Some countries where people have far less to give are among the most generous.”

The results are proof that generosity doesn’t necessarily come from a place of material abundance; it also flows from an abundant mindset. That is, the inclination to help seems to be not only related to the depth of a person’s pocket, but also to spiritual and cultural norms, which likely account in some part for the high rankings in places like Myanmar and Indonesia, and to the simple goodness of hearts that know all too well what it means to want. The takeaway is, we can all become better givers, not one day when we finally get that raise, but now, if we just shift our thinking and make the decision to give.

How Did South Africa Fare?

With regards to helping strangers in need, we South Africans are, in fact, quite generous. The Rainbow Nation ranked 9th out of the 146 countries profiled – tied with Kenya and the US – when assessed on this metric. In terms of generosity in general, we came in at number 40 on the list (tied with Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden), with a Civic Engagement Index score of 41/100. So there’s room for improvement (not that it’s about the competition). But there are also many opportunities out there for anyone who’s looking to up their philanthropic game and start making a real difference.

The results also found that, worldwide, people are more likely to donate money (1.4 billion people) than they are to volunteer at an organisation (1 billion people). That makes sense. If you have the cash available, it’s easier and more convenient to do an EFT than it is to dedicate several hours a week of our precious time to supporting a cause. But it is a good reminder that there are many different ways to give and that NPOs are in need of not just our money, but also our minutes.

Keen to help move South Africa a little higher on the world generosity list? Touch base with Brownie Points and we’ll connect you with causes that can benefit from both donations and volunteerism.


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Dayle Kavonic

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