The World Giving Index looks at charitable behaviour across the world, involving 135 countries. The report is based on more than a million interviews conducted by Gallup since 2005/06, as part of their World Poll survey. The Index score is based on an average of three measures of giving behaviour – the percentage of people who in a typical month donate money to charity, volunteer their time, and help a stranger. The three behaviours are also looked at on an individual basis within the report.
This year’s report shows that giving is more than just about wealth, with only five G20 countries represented in the World Giving Index Top 20 – indeed, eleven G20 countries are even ranked outside of the WGI Top 50. The United States shares the top ranking with Myanmar with 77% of Americans saying that they helped a stranger, 68% gave money to a charity and 44% volunteered their time to charitable organisations. In comparison 49% of the people in Myanmar helped a stranger, 91% gave money to a charity and 51% volunteering in organisations.
One of the conclusions of the Index is quite troublesome from a Christian perspective. According to the report ’Myanmar’s position is driven primarily by an incredibly high proportion of people donating money (91%). This reflects the strong Theravada Buddhist community within Myanmar, with its estimated 500,000 monks (the highest proportion of monks to population of any Buddhist country) receiving support from lay devotees. Indeed, the practice of charitable giving or dana is integral to religious observance amongst Theravada Buddhists, with it being one of the key paths to earning good merit. The position of Myanmar reminds us how important each country’s distinctive culture is in the predilection of its people to be charitable.’
When reading this statement, I wonder why does the report say that about Myanmar and Buddhism and not about Christianity and Christian countries? For example according to the report Africa (with 35% evangelical Christians) scores the lowest of any region on giving to charities with only 15.8% of Africans saying they have given to charity, even though some can question this figure. It just shows again the importance of encouraging a global Christian culture of Biblical stewardship, generous living and Kingdom focused giving. The World Giving Index 2014 is just another reminder for me about the importance of the Global Generosity Network in catalyzing such a culture.
Please read the attached report and other documents. Think that through and decide how you can improve Biblical stewardship, generous living and Kingdom focused giving in your country.