Posts Tagged ‘Global Giving’

Who in the World Gives the Most? Here Are the Top Charitable Nations

1381374_71397914With all the cynicism these days and distressing news domestically and internationally, it is a pleasant surprise to the jaded many among us that the United States has regained the distinction of being the most generous nation in the world…but in the recent report from the Charitable Aid Foundation World Giving Index, there are some definite surprises.

160 nations were examined in relation to the willingness of citizenry to volunteer, help strangers, and donate money to causes. The number one country in the world in these three criteria is, once again (after falling behind Australia in the recent past) the US, followed by Canada, Myanmar(?!), and New Zealand.  Among the top ten are a couple more that might not immediately come to mind: Qatar and Sri Lanka. 

Interesting to note, that in the Top Ten giving nations, the least popular category is volunteering. Bummer. Among all the nations, the highest rating for volunteer activities among the populace, is…drumroll, please…Turkmenistan.

Also interesting and also a bummer, global rates of all three criteria have fallen since 2007. We just don’t give money, time, or assistance like we used to.

Lots of good news here, too…The biggest jumps are, encouragingly, among the world’s youth, and generosity is on the rise in super-sized nations India and China!

How to Develop the World: Giving What We Can

gwwclogo.jpg_-_copyGlobal poverty affects more souls than any of us cares to admit to ourselves. We can get agitated and protest about wealth inequity in the world, but while I respect the “99%” movement’s right to rally, I can’t say I ever found myself inspired that respectful solutions came out of so much Sturm und Drang. I have no doubt that writing this will piss a few folks off in ways I don’t intend at all…I am just hungry for positive change that doesn’t include punishment…(and I’m perfectly willing to admit I’ve not made it my business to read or delve deeply into the movement’s many arguments. It simply never spoke to me, so I moved on…apologies if this is your passion).

I instead find real answers in real action taken, or able to be taken, by all. My brother told me about this movement, Giving What We Can, an international society dedicated to eliminating poverty in the developing world. Members (and there’s no big audition or dues-paying to join–simply dive in) voluntarily take a Pledge to Give, donating 10% of their income, at whatever level that is, to relieve suffering in developing nations. I like the global family ethos of this–none of that “We’ve got problems right here at home, why give to another country” attitude that gets in the way of embracing worldwide change. Their website has some great tools as well, significantly, a Charity Evaluation page that helps you find and support organizations that are doing it right. They compare charities across categories: Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Emergency Aid, Empowerment, Political Change, and Climate Change (and they currently have a robust focus on health issues and actions). Their assessment is not focused on how much a particular organization spends on administration or overhead, but instead, the focus is on how many lives are saved.

Volunteers get involved around the world, working with or starting local chapters, generating self-contained projects, taking up a central position with the organization, or interning, with teams like Communication, Research, Operations, Grants, or Technical. Go explore a bit. At the very least, I bet you’ll find out about some new organizations that are doing the kind of work that lights your fire, and at best, you’ll become a vibrant active member who helps others discover the contentment that comes from giving what we can.

Giving Tuesday—It’s the Intangibles That Count

OK–we made it through Grey Thursday and all it’s attendant protests, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday…a somewhat treacherous (to your wallet) path, but today you have arrived at the pinnacle event: GIVING TUESDAY.

As a follow up to the rampant purchasing, today, Giving Tuesday, has been designated as a time to give to those less fortunate than yourself. It is a campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. Big organizations are behind it, like the 92nd Street Y in NYC (the incubator of the idea), United Nations Foundation, United Way, Huffington Post, City of Hope, Charity Miles, DoSomething.orgPencils of Promise, American Red Cross, Kiva, Global Giving, and so many more. There are now more than 2,000 Giving Tuesday partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. Here is a whole list of ideas for ways individuals and families can get their giving on. JUMP IN!

Chilean Aid

This weekend’s 8.8 earthquake in Chile was 500 times more powerful than the one in Haiti, but thanks to the epicenter being further below ground, as well as the randomness of tectonic plates and building codes in Chile, it has resulted in fewer deaths (and we’re still talking about 700+ casualties with that number expected to rise).Villages and towns have been devastated, and resulting tsunami waves also took out some small coastal villages.

Where to donate our dollars can be daunting–we heard about so much fraud surrounding Haitian relief efforts. Google, in all it’s worldwide ubiquity (except, perhaps, in China with it’s censorship practices) very quickly established a Google Crisis Response page, and a newer feature that I fervently hope works as well as is intended: their Person Finder helps family and friends around the world get information about their loved ones in the disaster zone by wiki methods of user-generated information.

Additionally on the page are direct links to vetted aid organizations. A list of links (there are other direct donation methods made available on the Google Crisis page):  AmeriCares, Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision (English), World Vision (Spanish), Un techo para Chile, the Chilean Red Cross, KSAR Chile, SOS Children’s Villages, Global Giving, ShelterBox, Habitat for Humanity, Operation USA.

Donor fatigue can set in with all the help needed around the world, but if you can help, please do