CAF World Giving Index 2021

Content Manager • 20 June 2021

   The Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index offers a unique glimpse of global trends in generosity. It enables us to provide answers to questions about where people are most likely to engage in social activities for the benefit of their communities and to champion the growth of global giving.

   The extraordinary events of the past year have reinforced what we have observed for some time, that civil society has historically existed and collaborated on an international level. It provides major hubs and platforms for cross-border giving, enabling all kinds of acts of solidarity across the globe. The significance and importance of this ability to act across borders has become more apparent than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, as societies and communities around the world have found themselves in need of support or in a position to offer it to others.

   To help maximise the potential that exists around the globe, CAF works to ensure the safe and effective cross border delivery of donor funds to charities. In 2019/2020 that work resulted in over £700 million granted by the CAF Group into over 100 countries.

   CAF has consistently called for governments, policy makers and international funders to ensure the building blocks are in place to allow not only cross-border giving to flourish, but for local, middle-class giving to be nurtured in order to build sustainability. To arrive there;

Governments need to:

  • make sure that civil society organisations are regulated in a fair, consistent and open way.
  • make it easy for people to give and offer incentives for giving where possible.
  • promote civil society as an independent voice in public life and respect the right of not-for-profit organisations to speak out on important issues.

International funders need to: 

  • fund organisations which support donors and civil society organisations in building resilience and the infrastructure that can continue to generate funds for civil society even after aid ends.
  • fund local organisations directly to improve the accountability and efficiency of aid.
  • recognise the importance of helping grantees to build sustainable domestic support and fund accordingly.

Civil society organisations need to: 

  • ensure good governance and be honest about impact to build public trust in civil society organisations.
  • meaningfully engage local communities in decision making so civil society becomes locally owned.
  • recognise and build on traditional forms of giving to create organisations and a culture of giving which works to the strengths of the local context, helping them not only to survive but thrive.

Key Findings

The most generous country in the world is Indonesia.

   Indonesia is ranked first in the CAF World Giving Index with a score
of 69, up from 59 the last time a yearly Index was published in 2018, when it also ranked first in the Index. More than eight in 10 Indonesians donated money this year and the country’s rate of volunteering is more than three times the global average.

The Top 10 most generous countries has changed substantially in 2020.

  Many of the countries which have consistently featured in the Top 10 have fallen far down the rankings in this report. The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands have all seen significant decreases in their Index scores. After bouncing back from a decline in 2016, each was recorded as being on a slight downward trend from 2018, but 2020 saw a sharp move down the rankings. In their place are several countries new to the Top 10 – Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kosovo.

   Like much of the Western world, Australia and New Zealand also saw declines in scores since 2018 and the Index for both countries remains below their long term average. However, both remain in this year’s Top 10 – the only high income countries to do so. The resilience of giving in Australia and New Zealand highlighted in this report likely represents the timing of the survey in those countries, which was undertaken in the weeks before the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. Additionally,

   in Australia, there was a widespread and generous response to the bushfires in early 2020.

More than three billion people helped someone they didn’t know in 2020.

   Globally, more people reported that they helped a stranger in 2020 than we have ever recorded before in the CAF World Giving Index. Helping a stranger is the most commonly performed of giving behaviours across the world – over half (55%) the world’s adult population did so in 2020, equating to more than three billion people.

   Despite, or perhaps because of, the pandemic, donating money is up across the globe.

   More people donated money in 2020 than had done so in the last five years (31%) whilst levels of volunteering in 2020 remained relatively unaffected at the global level. However, this finding disguises what are very significant changes in the overall Index this year.


For more information, please see the full report attached below. 

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Photo credit: Nnaemeka Ugochkwu SjufXanjrDs on Unsplash 


The views expressed in the blog and report attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WINGS, and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.