Is there science to giving? Does
the reason you make donations to charity have less to do with you and more
about your geographical location? Maybe. According to an annual study, World Giving Index, performed by the
Charities Aid Foundation, people who were raised in certain countries may just
be more likely than others to reach a hand into their pockets to lend one to a
person in need. Of course, there are many variables that may lead a person to
donate or take part in some charitable service, including household values, life
experiences or whether or not the bell-ringing Salvation Army volunteer
sufficiently guilt-tripped you out of five dollars. However, your country of
residence may have contributed more to your decision to give than you may know.
The economic status, donation culture, and traditional or cultural beliefs of
any given country also have the ability to inspire our thoughts about
charitable donation. These conditions
may also have a substantial effect on person-to-person assistance, such as,
giving money to a homeless individual or providing transportation for an
elderly person to his or her home. So, how
exactly is donation culture different across the globe?
Let us first go to the United
States of America, where it was reported in 2018, that although the US led in
the total amount of money donated from citizens, the amount of people donating
had seen a sizable decrease, particularly in the middle class.
2017, the United States placed second in the world for the amount of people
that donated to any given charity, only surpassed by India. It must be noted,
though, that the giving culture in the United States has been very much
popularized through various media and incentives. While many countries offer
incentives and deductions on charitable donations, recently, the United States
has undergone a major reform in the tax law, that has affected how these
incentives will be dispersed. This tax reform will give full-credit deductions
on donations exceeding $12,000 per individual, compared to the $6,400 required
prior to bill. Following this, the US saw a decrease in the total amount of
charitable donations in 2018, as well as, in the total number of people that
donated. This presents another variable
to our question: does this tax reform affect your probability of donation? While
most would argue that charitable donations of any kind should be given without
the expectancy of a reward, the truth remains that not everyone will agree. Charitable
deductions may prove to be a factor some and not for others.
terms of volunteering their time, 39 percent of Americans were recorded stating
that they volunteered within the last month. Hardly a surprising outcome,
seeing as the US holds the top spot for sending out the most missionaries
around the world. A more unexpected ranking, though, may be the fact that with
72 percent of Americans having confessed to helping a stranger within a month,
the US was only able to secure the tenth position.
If you are from a Central or
South American country, you may be more likely to donate your time and effort
than giving a monetary donation. Studies
have shown that Mexico and Brazil, the only two to represent their regions in
the top ten of any of the rankings, stretch their charity muscles by personally
going out and doing the hard work. It is important note that this is just in
comparison to other countries. Another
study has shown that the most common form of giving in Brazil is through
donation to a religious organization.
Asian countries have grown
considerably more keen of charitable donations, specifically in monetary
donations. Exaggerated by the quick and steady rise of numerous Asian
economies, countries such as China, Japan and India have recorded higher
numbers and quantity of charitable donations in the last few years than ever
before. Although these countries have
improved, China (142), Japan (128) and South Korea (60) have ranked among the
lowest on the overall Giving Index, with scores of 17, 22 and 34 percent,
South Korea has been moving a
slightly different direction with ten of the leading conglomerates having
reduced charitable donations by close to 20 percent total in the last three
years. Donations from individual citizens have also seen a drop.
India has also seen this steady
rise in donation culture. While India has led for many years in the total
number of people that have donated in any capacity, it has ranked fairly low in
its percentage of population that has done so. This is undoubtedly liable to
the fact that India has an astounding more than 1.3 billion citizen population
for which to account.
It was recently reported that an
elderly Zimbabwean woman walked over 10 miles to a nearby village to donate
clothes to survivors of the Cyclone Idai. These kinds of honorable donations to
help strangers are by no standards a once in blue moon occurrence on the
continent of Africa. In fact, in a 2017 *survey, African countries garnered
five of the top ten spots for participating in helping a stranger, all of which
ranked higher than top grossing countries, United States, China and Japan.
Another factor that may contribute to these findings is the skepticism in some
NGOs that have misdirected donations or even politicians that have mishandled
public health resources. Wariness of these
swindles enforces a need to personally offer a helping hand.
Australia and New Zealand have
ranked amongst the top in the world for overall giving, whether to charity,
strangers or monetary donation. Even so, the two countries have also seen a dip
in charitable donations over the last five years. Reasons for this decrescendo
can be attributed to various changes in the economy.
One of the most trending
donations made in the Oceanic sector of the world recently is the generous one
made by the notorious “Egg Boy”, Will Connolly. After being arrested for
essentially smashing an egg on a politician during an address, supporters
around the world gathered over 50,000 AUD for legal costs. Connolly, instead,
donated the majority of the funds to victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks.
As much as we try to crunch numbers and figures, the fact remains that the biggest factor in whether or not an individual will make a charitable donation is the person him or herself. Unfortunately, no matter the country’s economic status, there will always be an area of suffering and coupled by the need for charitable works. Whether that helping hand comes in the form of a monetary donation, volunteering your time, or giving support to a stranger is irrelevant. The most important thing is that you reach out.