Europe is the second most generous continent in terms of donating money to charity (behind Oceania), but has the lowest rates of volunteering and helping strangers, according to the 2018 World Giving Index.
Charities Aid Foundation’s report surveyed 150,000 people worldwide on volunteering, helping strangers, and donating money to charity. It found that 44% of people in Europe had helped a stranger in the month before the survey while 19% had volunteered. 37% had given money. In comparison, Oceania and Africa recorded the highest rates for helping a stranger at 65% and 58% respectively.
The World Giving Index also showed that the overall one-year score for Europe (33%) is in line with its five-year score, suggesting a flat trend for giving. This was also seen in Oceania, while Africa’s one-year score rose slightly, from 32% to 33%, and Asia and the Americas saw a small decrease in their one-year scores.
In terms of the most generous countries, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, and Malta are all in this year’s top 20. Ireland is the most generous at fifth place and with a CAF World Giving Index score of 56, followed by the UK in sixth place with a score of 55%. The Netherlands follows in 11th place with 51%.
All of the European countries in the top 20 scored most highly for helping a stranger, and donating money, with volunteering rates significantly lower.
In addition, while last year, every Western country in the top 20 had a lower score than the previous year, this year the Index shows that the decline has largely reversed.
The global picture
Overall however, Indonesia was the most generous country. It replaces Myanmar this year, which has dropped to ninth place after four years at the top. Australia and New Zealand take second and third place, followed by the US, while Singapore and Haiti both enter the top 20 for the first time. Iran, Zambia, Germany, and Thailand have all dropped out of the top 20.
Globally, more people reported helping a stranger and volunteering with more than half of people in 146 countries (51.1%) saying they helped a stranger, up from 49.6% last year, and 21.1% volunteering, up from 20.8%.
Less however gave money to a charity: the second year this has declined. Thirty-six countries improved their donating money scores by at least three percentage points while 42 countries decreased by the same amount, and several decreased by more.
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“It is forever humbling to see how people across the world continue to be moved to help others, giving their time, donating money and helping strangers.
“It is good news that this year’s CAF World Giving Index shows a continued increase in giving across Africa. It is also encouraging that last year’s decline in western countries seems to have been reversed.
“But we should be concerned that for the second year running there has been a decline in the proportion of people donating money to good causes. It is a reminder to all of us in civil society that we should never take giving for granted.”