World Giving Index

Gain insight into the nature of giving around the world

Providing a “global view on giving trends” is the aim of the World Giving Index (WGI), the annual report of the Charities Aid Foundation that explores questions defining charitable behavior across the world. The report is based on highlighting three core aspects of charitable behaviors. It looks into whether the respondents have, within a given month, engaged in one of the following activities:

Donated money to a charity

Volunteered their time to an organization

Helped a stranger

CAF’s WGI is unique in that it considers factors that are not directly correlated with a certain country’s economic development or standard of living index, but have relevance in determining the attitude towards charitable giving on an individual basis. It is interesting to note that traditional or religious customs may affect the rankings of countries more so than economic prosperity. Thus, countries where for example the population largely follows the Theravada school of Buddhism -- which encourages charitable giving -- were found to rank higher on the WGI than countries that are far more prosperous in purely economic terms.

CAF World Giving Index 2021 Key Findings

This year’s survey highlights the impact of lockdowns on charitable giving as the USA, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands all fell out of the highest rankings. Only Australia and New Zealand, where the survey was undertaken in the weeks before the first wave of the pandemic took hold, maintained their top 10 rankings.


Other key findings:

  • Several countries have moved up the rankings and make their first appearance in the top 10, including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kosovo – but whilst their overall giving scores have increased somewhat, their rise up the Index is driven by the relative decline of other countries.
  • Communities around the world mobilised to help fellow citizens as the pandemic took hold, resulting in the highest ‘helped a stranger’ figures since the index was first launched in 2009. More than half (55%) of the world’s adults – or 3 billion people - reported helping someone they didn’t know in 2020.
  • Similarly, more people donated money in 2020 than had done so in the last five years (31%). Levels of volunteering in 2020 are broadly unchanged at the global level.

In a special 10th anniversary report released in 2019, the United States of America was the world’s most generous country over the previous decade and seven of the 10 most generous nations were among the world’s wealthiest.