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U.S. Ranks Fifth in Global Index of Charitable Behavior
CAF America

September, 2010

The United States ties for fifth place with Switzerland in a new “World Giving Index 2010” (WGI 2010) report issued today by the Charities Aid Foundation America
(CAFAmerica), a member organization of the United Kingdom-based Charities Aid Foundation international network of offices. The review of the state of giving in 153 countries representing 95 percent of the globe’s population is the most ambitious study of its kind to have ever been attempted.

The U.S. posted impressive numbers in all three WGI 2010 categories – with 60 percent in the U.S. giving o an organization, 39 percent volunteering time and 65 percent willing to help a complete stranger. The ndex ranked Australia and New Zealand as the most charitable nations in the world, followed by Ireland nd Canada in third and fourth place respectively.

The World Giving Index is the first survey on a large scale to capture information about charitable ehavior in 153 countries, including many nations that have not been included in previous surveys on iving. The Index, compiled from data from an ongoing international Gallup survey, ranked the US along ith other countries in three categories: what percentage of the population donated to a charity; what ercentage of the population volunteered time to an organization; and what percentage of the population
helped a complete stranger or someone who they didn’t know needed help.

First place ranks in the individual categories of the World Giving Index went to Malta with 83 percent of its opulation giving money, Turkmenistan with 61 percent volunteering time to a charity, and Liberia with 76 ercent of its population willing to help a stranger.

“The World Giving Index is a broad-based survey and it provides a unique overview of global hilanthropy. It will give many governments a means to set benchmarks for giving and define reas where improvement is needed,” said CAFAmerica CEO Susan Saxon-Harrold. “Many ountries at the bottom of the list benefit enormously from US philanthropy. Our organization is elping US donors give to some of those countries and it’s important that Americans continue to uild-up indigenous philanthropy in countries such as China, Russia and India.”

CAF Director of Research Richard Harrison said: “The World Giving Index is the first time that the orld has been able to have a view about how generous it is and the first time we can see truly lobal patterns of charitable behaviour. We hope that the Index can be used to progress hilanthropy world wide, providing a benchmark for Governments to compare their country with eers and as act as a tool to aid the development of civil society in countries where a culture of iving is not well developed.”

CAFAmerica President Janet Boyd said: “When it comes to philanthropy, Americans do a lot … and an always do more. This survey highlights the need to engage workers in volunteering via the orporate sector, young people by new social media channels, and older Americans by means hat are both comfortable and familiar to them. In my view, no one should take a critical view of he US fifth place rank in this report for a variety of reasons, but that also does not mean that we hould be complacent as a nation when there is so much more that can be done.”

The overall index score for each country was calculated by adding the percentages of all three charitable cts together and dividing by three. Very few countries demonstrated low scores in all three charitable behaviors covered by the survey.


CAFAmerica suggests these tips for Americans who are interested in becoming first-time or more-active givers:

Focus on a charity that makes sense for you. Charities have an obligation to provide detailed nformation to interested donors. Never give to a charity you know nothing about. You may wish to pick a charity or an initiative in one field of interest and in one geographic area and then stick to it. To let started finding a charity that is a good fit for you, go to This Web tool allows you to search more than 1,500 charities by nation, region, focus (religion, education, social services, health and medical research, the environment) and other key factors.

Consider giving more to fewer charities. If you do give to many non-profits, consider donating larger sums to single organizations. In the world of small- and medium-size charities, a $1,000 donation to one charity may achieve a much bigger impact than $100 given to each of 10 different charities. This is not to say that someone has to give more than $100 to make a difference, and there is no right or wrong answer about which charity you should give to and at what level. However, it is generally true that a few large gifts will generate a bigger impact than several small gifts.

Do your homework and donate safely. There is no substitute for due diligence when it comes to charitable giving. Donors who give via CAFAmerica can be reassured that any foreign or U.S. charity that they want to support will be reviewed to make sure that funds are used for their intended purpose. We look at how long a charity has been working? What risks are associated with giving to a specific country? Can we independently verify a charity’s mission? These are a few of the many questions we ask before we make an advised grant. As a donor you should also ask questions before you give. Ask the charity in which you are interested and find out more about it. Talk to
friends, family and neighbors, and use the internet to learn more about a charity or issue that interests you. Ask the charity about its achievements, what has failed, and how it is financed. Many charities provide some of this information online or you can email them. If they are being transparent they will tell you. Then you will be able to find out whether the charity is likely to use your gift wisely. If you're interested in a major donation to a charity or for an initiative in a country then there is no substitute for
seeing their work in action. So consider making a visit or a country tour to find out what you really would like to support.

Focus on sustainability – not “one shot” giving. If you are considering a larger donation, it’s important to think about what happens after your money is spent by a charity. Do the services offered decline? Do programs get dismantled? This is why “sustainability” is increasingly an important issue for donors who don’t want to see their gift go to waste. Think about the long term but ask the charity how they spent your gift and what was achieved by it.

Review your giving plan regularly. Look back over the past year -- did you fulfill your goals for cross-border giving? Do you need to make changes? Do you need more help in establishing your goals? If so, what worked and what will you change for next year? It’s important to avoid the “check off the box” syndrome of charitable giving, where you simply go back each holiday season to the same charities and write them the same check as the previous year.

Charities Aid Foundation America (CAFAmerica) was founded in 1992, and is a member organization of the United Kingdom based Charities Aid Foundation international network of offices, which provides charitable financial services to individuals, global corporations, charities, and foundations. CAFAmerica is
dedicated to expanding borderless charitable giving by providing guidance and international grant making solutions for donors and charities. Together with its UK subsidiary for dual US/UK taxpayers, the CAF American Donor Fund, CAFAmerica makes over $40 million in grants to charities in 76 countries around
the world. CAFAmerica’s range of charitable solutions include: Donor Advised Gifts, Donor Advised Funds, Matching Donor Advised Funds, Designated Funds, bequest planning and ‘Friends of’ Charity Funds.

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, for CAFAmerica, (703) 276-3266 or


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