Italy is seeing a steady decline in the number of individuals donating and those who give are increasingly supporting local causes, the tracking survey Italiani Solidali 2017 has shown.
The survey, compiled by market research company DOXA, questions 1,000 people across Italy every October on their giving habits. It shows that, bar a slight recovery in 2016, the number of individual donors has been steadily decreasing since the country’s economic crisis started to bite, falling from 37% of the population in 2008, to 29% in 2017.
However, there are still spikes in donations when there is a large-scale disaster, such as the 2009 Aquila earthquake, and the 2016 earthquake in central Italy, and people are increasingly choosing to support charities working in Italy rather than overseas causes.
The survey also shows that:
– The average overall amount donated per capita in 2017 was €54
– More women (63%) give than men (37%)
– Half of all donors are aged over 54
– A greater proportion of highly educated people donate (23% of people with a degree compared to the 13% of the general population)
– Only 2% of the population are very willing to commit to regular giving, and 14% somewhat willing
Commenting on the findings, Valeria Reda, senior researcher, Institutional & Social Surveys, at DOXA said:
“We are seeing people notice the effects of the economic crisis near them, and being more willing to help people in the same city, region, or country, rather than the classic causes related to distant and poorer countries.”
“However, it is very difficult to involve donors in giving recurrent donations, mainly due to the economic crisis, which means donors don’t want to tie themselves down with a commitment that they are not sure they will be able to maintain.”
The average amount donated per capita annually has also been affected by the economic crisis with the sector losing many of the less well-off donors. The more wealthy have continued to donate, and even increase the size of their donations. However, the figures show that the less wealthy still react to emergencies, often through text donations.
Overall, SMS, particularly during emergencies, street collections, and postal donations remain important channels for giving in Italy. Informal donations, such as money raised for charity during religious ceremonies, or through selling homemade goods are also popular.
“Due to the religious nature of our society, the number of people giving informally is even higher than those giving to official non-profit organisations at 31% vs. 29% in 2017. This kind of informal donation is even more common among women, the elderly, and in the south of the country.”
DOXA’s survey is conducted annually across Italy, with names drawn from electoral registries and selected to be representative of the population aged 15+. Respondents are asked about their opinions and attitudes towards donations, including their level of awareness of the main Italian not-for-profits, how much they give, preferred causes, and the impact of economic crisis on donations.