Since 2010, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in the United Kingdom has been publishing the World Giving Index Report annually, providing insights to global giving behaviour. SPD advocacy senior analyst Ms Poh Sho Siam gives an overview in this article of how Singapore has fared as compared to other countries in the world.
In the World Giving Index 2016, 140 countries across the globe were surveyed in 2015. In most countries surveyed, 1,000 questionnaires were completed by a representative sample of individuals living across the country.
Respondents were asked if they have done the following in the past month:
a) Helped a stranger, or someone they didn’t know who needed help
b) Donated money to a charity
c) Volunteered their time to an organisation
The World Giving Index is a simple average of the responses to these three questions asked in each country. Each country is given a percentage score and ranked based on its score among the 140 countries.
Singapore was ranked 28th in the world in terms of giving, with an index score of 44 per cent in 2016. Myanmar topped the world with an index score of 70 per cent, followed by the United States of America at 61per cent, Australia at 60 per cent, New Zealand at 59 per cent and Sri Lanka at 57 per cent. The last five in the survey were Democratic Republic of Congo with an index score of 19 per cent, Greece at 19 per cent, Yemen at 17 per cent, Palestinian Territories at 17 per cent and China at 11 per cent. See Chart 1.
Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore was ahead of Thailand (37th), Philippines (47th), Vietnam (64th) and Cambodia (98th) while Myanmar (1st), Indonesia (7th) and Malaysia (22nd) were above Singapore in giving. See Chart 2.
Singapore’s Giving Over Time
Singapore’s giving has improved over the past few years. Singapore’s ranking was 91st in 2010 and 2011, dropping to 114th in 2012, before progressing to 64th in 2013, 34th in 2015 and now 28th in 2016. See Chart 3.
In terms of donating money, Singapore was the 19th generous country in 2016. Singapore was 44th in 2010, 36th in 2011, 53rd in 2012 before advancing to 17th in 2013, 18th in 2015 and 19th in 2016. Although the ranking has dropped over the past two years, the percentage of Singaporeans who donated money has increased from 55 per cent in 2013 to 58 per cent in 2016. See Chart 4.
When it comes to helping a stranger, Singapore was ranked 79th out of the 140 countries. Singapore was 110th in 2010, 133rd in 2011, 140th in 2012, gradually moving up to 134th in 2013, 89th in 2015 and 79th in 2016. See Chart 5.
The percentage of Singaporeans who had volunteered time increased steadily and Singapore’s ranking has risen from 125th in 2010, 119th in 2011, 114th in 2012, 75th in 2013 to 42nd in 2015. The ranking has dropped to 54th in 2016. See Chart 6.
The survey indicated that Singaporeans are more likely to donate money, followed by helping a stranger and volunteering their time. The percentage of respondents who donated money has increased from 57 per cent in 2015 to 58 per cent in 2016 and those who helped a stranger has increased from 44 per cent in 2015 to 50 per cent in 2016. However, the percentage of respondents who had volunteered has declined from 27 per cent in 2015 to 23 per cent in 2016. See Chart 7.
It is encouraging that Singapore has continued to improve in its ranking in terms of giving. To build a caring society, the Government has implemented various measures to further encourage giving (see Budget 2016).
In addition to 250 per cent tax deduction for donations, the Government has introduced a pilot Business and Institutions of a Public Character (IPC) Partnership Scheme, where from 1 July 2016 till the end of 2018, businesses that encourage their employees to volunteer and provide services to IPCs, including secondments, will receive a tax deduction of two and a half times on associated cost incurred, capped at $250,000 per business and $50,000 per IPC per annum.
The Company of Good was developed by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation Foundation (SBFF) to help guide companies on how they can give better and more holistically.
Together, with various efforts by the Government, VWOs, corporates and individuals, we look forward to a continued trend of giving.