The Most Generous Countries
Can we measure generosity? Researchers at the Charities Aid Foundation who work to investigate people’s giving behavior in all world nations think yes. Magnanimous behaviors can be broken down into three categories: kindness to strangers, donations to charitable causes, and volunteering of time and labour. In random acts of kindness, India is ahead of her own rank in the other two areas of munificence. She ranks 91 on the 2016 World Giving Index compiled by the CAF, behind several eastern European and sub-Saharan African countries in overall generosity and philanthropic giving.
This is not surprising, given that millions of Indians every day give to the urchin begging at the street corner, donate to religious causes- including at festivals and through monthly giving schemes like Zakat, and give away reusable clothing and household goods and food to the poor in ad hoc and unplanned ways. To scale giving within the country, there needs to be more awareness about new and simpler methods of donation, such as crowdfunding platforms and charitable organization websites allow. There also needs to be a change in the prevailing mindsets of people who tend to believe that charity is a prerogative of the rich. They forget that every donation and every act of generosity counts and can make impact at some level.
In some part, this flawed belief system on the donor’s part is responsible for the fact that we lag in the CAF ranking system. Countries ahead of us have the advantage of an established culture of giving, with donating and volunteering set already as a part of life.
Let’s take a look at which countries top the world Giving Index:
Myanmar: Myanmar’s Buddhist heritage promotes charity as one of the most desirable virtues. Myanmarese Buddhists believe in reincarnations and give with the aim of securing a better life in their next birth.
Indonesia: Most gifts in Indonesia are made to direct aid organizations promoting human rights, reproductive health, and to causes connected with the education and well-being of children.
Kenya: Despite being a developing nation, concerted work is done by Kenya’s wealthier donor population to help improve communities and to aid rural development.
New Zealand and the United States: These are developing nations where giving back to society is so ingrained in culture that levels of participation are very high. Giving in response to pleas for help with funds are answered with alacrity, both online and offline. Donors in these geographies pool funds to raise large fundraiser targets and make a difference to their communities in inclusive ways.