22/12/2017

Singapore is 30th in the world in giving. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in the United Kingdom publishes the World Giving Index Report annually since 2010 to provide a global view of giving trends. Senior advocacy analyst Poh Sho Siam shares more on how Singapore fares in this article.
Have you done any of the following in the past month?
a) Helped a stranger, or someone you didn’t know who needed help?
b) Donated money to a charity?
c) Volunteered your time to an organisation?

A representative sample population of 1,000 individuals in each of the 139 countries was asked these questions in 2016. A simple average of their responses was taken for each country and ranked based on their scores.

Singapore’s Ranking in World Giving Index
In the 2017 report, Singapore is ranked 30th in the world, with an index score of 41 per cent. Myanmar, for the fourth year running, is the world’s most generous nation with an index score of 65 per cent. Indonesia, at second place, and Kenya, at third place, are in the top five for the first time with a score of 60 per cent. This is followed by New Zealand at 57 per cent and United States of America at 56 per cent. Georgia and Morocco follow at 18 per cent, as well as Lithuania, China, and Yemen at 16 per cent, 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively (refer to Chart 1 for more info).

Chart 1: Singapore’s Ranking in the World Giving Index 2017

While Singapore trailed behind Myanmar and Indonesia, it fared better than its other ASEAN counterparts - the Philippines (54th), Vietnam (116th) and Cambodia (134th). Thailand, which climbed to the 16th place this year, has overtaken Singapore as it took a huge leap from last year’s 37th spot (refer to Chart 2).

Chart 2: Singapore’s Ranking within ASEAN 2017

Singapore’s Giving Over Time
Singapore’s ranking has improved over the last few years. In 2010 and 2011, Singapore took the 91st spot, dropping further to the 114th spot in 2012, before climbing up to the 64th place in 2013. In recent years, Singapore made it to the 34th and 28th spot in 2015 and 2016 respectively, before dipping slightly to 30th place this year (refer to Chart 3).

Chart 3: Singapore’s Ranking in the World Giving Index, 2010 – 2017

Data from World Giving Index 2010 to 2017; Singapore was not ranked in 2014.

In terms of giving money, Singapore is 12th in the world, an improvement from the 19th place last year, although the percentage of respondents who donated money remained at 58 per cent. Singapore was ranked 44th in 2010, dropping to 53rd place in 2012 before progressing to 17th spot in 2013 and then to the current 12th position this year, which is the highest ranking for Singapore since 2010 (refer to Chart 4).

Chart 4: Singapore’s Global Ranking in Monetary Donations, 2010 – 2017

Data from World Giving Index 2010 to 2017; Singapore was not ranked in 2014.

When it comes to helping a stranger, Singapore was in 110th spot in 2010, sliding to 134th place in 2013 before moving up to 79th place in 2016, and again dropping to 103rd place this year (refer to Chart 5).

Chart 5: Singapore’s Global Ranking in Terms of Helping a Stranger, 2010 – 2017

Data from World Giving Index 2010 to 2017; Singapore was not ranked in 2014.

In terms of volunteering time, Singapore’s ranking has risen significantly from 125th place in 2010 to 42nd place in 2015. The ranking declined to 54th last year but bounced to 41st place in 2017 (refer to Chart 6).

Chart 6: Singapore’s Global Ranking in Volunteering Time, 2010 – 2017

Data from World Giving Index 2010 to 2017; Singapore was not ranked in 2014.

Consistent with findings from other years, the survey found that Singaporeans are more likely to donate money than help a stranger or volunteer their time. The percentage of Singaporeans who donated money hovered between 55 and 58 per cent in the last few years. Singapore has a lower World Giving Index score this year as fewer respondents had helped a stranger - from 50 per cent last year to 41 per cent this year. On the other hand, there was a two per cent increase in volunteerism - from 23 per cent in 2016 to 25 per cent in 2017 (refer to Chart 7).

Chart 7: Singapore’s Score in Monetary Donations, Helping a Stranger and Volunteering Time, 2010 – 2017

To encourage Singaporeans to give, charities are looking at various ways to raise funds, using both traditional means like monthly donation programmes and Flag Days to more innovative ways such as those that incorporate fun elements and health benefits to make doing good easier and more interesting.


Skilled volunteerism is also an area where the sharing of expertise by professionals could help charities build capabilities or provide access to professional services that may otherwise be unaffordable.


To ensure accountability to stakeholders like donors, volunteers, clients and beneficiaries, it is important for charities to maintain good governance and transparency. SPD is honoured to receive the Charity Council’s Charity Transparency Award for the second year since its introduction in 2016. We hope such awards and recognition could raise public confidence in the charity sector and increase support for the work that we do.


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Most charitable nations (2017): Myanmar & Indonesia in 1st & 2nd, while China & Yemen came in 138th & 139th. Data is based on response for % of money donated, volunteering time, & helping strangers.