The World Giving Index Report is an annual report, published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in the United Kingdom since 2010, which gives insights to global generosity and charitable behaviour by measuring giving in three ways. Senior advocacy analyst Poh Sho Siam tells us how Singapore fares.
The World Giving Index averages the percentage of the population who have responded to a survey that asked if they had donated money, volunteered time or helped a stranger in the month before. In most countries surveyed, 1,000 questionnaires were completed by a representative sample of individuals living across the country, with larger samples for big countries like China and Russia. The 2015 report ranked 145 countries using data collected in 2014.
In 2015, Singapore was ranked 34th in the world in giving, with an index score of 43 per cent. The top five giving nations were Myanmar (66%), United States (61%), New Zealand (61%), Canada (60%) and Australia (59%). The last five were Palestinian Territory (17%), Lithuanian (17%), Yemen (15%), China (12%) and Burundi (11%) (refer to Chart 1).
Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore was ranked ahead of the Philippines (46th), Vietnam (79th) and Cambodia (100th), but behind Myanmar (1st), Malaysia (10th), Thailand (19th) and Indonesia (22nd) (refer to Chart 2).
Singapore’s Giving Over Time
Singapore’s ranking declined from 91st in 2010 and 2011 to 114th in 2012, but has improved to 64th in 2013 and 34th in 2015 (refer to Chart 3).
In terms of donating money, Singapore was ranked 18th in 2015. Singapore’s ranking has advanced from 44th in 2010, 36th in 2011, 53rd in 2012, 17th in 2013 then to 18th in 2015. Although the ranking dropped by one position in 2015 as compared to 2013, the percentage of respondents who donated money increased by two percentage points from 55 per cent in 2013 to 57 per cent in 2015 (refer to Chart 4).
Singapore’s world ranking with regard to helping a stranger declined for two years from 110th in 2010 to 133rd in 2011 and 140th in 2012, but has moved up to 134th in 2013 and 89th in 2015 (refer to Chart 5).
The percentage of Singaporeans who had volunteered their time increased steadily. Singapore’s ranking has progressed from 125th in 2010 to 42nd in 2015 (refer to Chart 6).
The study also shows that Singaporeans were more inclined to donate money, followed by helping a stranger and then volunteering their time. In the 2015 report, 57 per cent of the respondents indicated that they donated money, 44 per cent helped a stranger and 27 per cent volunteered time in the past month. All three areas achieved the highest scores since 2010 (refer to Chart 7).
Singapore’s improved ranking in giving is an encouraging trend for the charity sector. The Government has also put in place several measures this year to encourage greater giving. Tax deduction for donations was raised from 2.5 times to three times the amount donated in Singapore’s jubilee year. Tax deduction of 2.5 times, originally slated to end in 2015, is extended for another three years till end 2018. The Government is also matching donations raised by Community Chest and participating voluntary and welfare organisations (VWOs) dollar-for-dollar till 31 March 2016.
To foster a culture of giving from young, schools are given between $20,000 and $250,000 to engage in worthy causes that students can be involved in.
Charities, including SPD, are also making greater efforts to encourage giving, for instance, by improving governance and increasing transparency, looking into ways to make giving simpler and easier and building long-term relationships with donors.
With various efforts by the Government and VWOs, we hope to see Singaporeans continue giving generously and proactively to help those in need.