This is the third edition of the World Giving Index, the largest study into charitable behaviour across the globe, involving 160 countries in total.
The report is based on over half a million interviews conducted by Gallup since 2007, as part of their World Poll survey.
The Index is based on an average of three measures of giving behaviour - the percentage of people who donate money to charity, volunteer their time, and help a stranger, in a typical month.
This year's report results show that levels of involvement in giving - for all three of these measures - fell between 2010 and 2011, and were also down on 2007. The report shows how this mirrors global economic patterns.
The report includes:
analysis of levels of giving worldwide
an index of all countries ranked by their average on the three behaviours
insight into fluctuations in the three giving behaviours
commentary on changes over time, including by country, by region and across continents
recommendations for what governments, companies, individuals, and civil society organisations can do to enhance giving
The Foreword gives a good introduction to the report.
While many nations continue to see their economies grow, globally the picture remains troubled.
In many parts of the world, household income is being squeezed and job insecurity is on the increase.
We can all think of economies, industries or markets that are currently under stress because of the ongoing financial uncertainty. And, it is at such times, that giving, and support for charity, become more
important than ever.
Through the statistics presented in the latest World Giving Index, we can see to what extent our
engagement in charitable behaviour has been influenced by the economic backdrop.
The 2012 World Giving Index shows how much people around the world have been able or willing to help
their fellow man and woman, through the donation of money, volunteering of time, and proffering of help
to those they do not know.
This, the third World Giving Index, utilises a methodology that has been enhanced to allow a longer-term
perspective of global giving behaviour, reaching back to 2007.
The trend that has been revealed is a disturbing one. The pattern that emerges is one of a global decline
in giving and support for charity.
Whether this is the result of the ongoing economic uncertainty remains to be seen. However, I believe
that, whatever the cause, it underlines the urgent need for leaders around the world to re-double their
efforts to nurture and to support their own charity sectors.
According to our report, hundreds of millions fewer people have helped others than was the case last year.
This has inevitably resulted in a dramatic reduction in charitable support for millions of vulnerable people
the world over.
Starving people who rely on charities for the provision of food, older people who lack the basic care they
need, and the homeless who, wherever in the world they live, are preparing to sleep on the streets tonight, along with countless other vulnerable groups, depend in no small part upon charitable endeavour to survive.
That is why it is crucial that all of us – politicians, business leaders and members of the public – should
support the recommendations contained in this report, and re-double our efforts to support social action
and the charities that operate within every nation.