Global Giving: The Culture of Philanthropy

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The global culture of philanthropy: new report from Barclays Wealth reveals latest global attitudes to giving

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  •          First ever snapshot of global giving, using both money and time as indicators
  •          Almost a quarter (23%) of high net worth individuals globally say charity is a "top spending priority"
  •          US, Ireland, South Africa and India lead the way as countries that donate significant amounts of money and time to charitable causes

A new report from Barclays Wealth, a leading global wealth manager, which surveyed 2,000 high net worth individuals around the world, has provided a snapshot of global philanthropy revealing key differences in the attitudes and behaviours that are driving high net worth individuals to support charitable causes.

'Global Giving: The Culture of Philanthropy' measures the resources being invested into charity and causes by wealthy people across the world, using both money and time as gauges for the first time. Furthermore, the report also looks at some of the drivers behind these giving behaviours, identifying unique cultural factors that shape a country’s philanthropic style and motivate individuals to give to charity.

The 'Benefactors' and the 'Volunteers'

The report underlines that the concept of philanthropy is universal, with 44% of respondents more likely to make charity a spending priority when they retire, and the amount of time allocated to charity set to increase by 194%. Moreover, the survey identifies two distinct groups of givers using these two indicators; the 'Benefactors' who are the most generous with their financial spending, and the 'Volunteers' who are more inclined to devote their time to charity.

Top five 'Benefactor' donors
(% of respondents who say philanthropy is one of their top three spending priorities)



South Africa


Saudi Arabia







Top five 'Volunteer' donors
(% of respondents who currently spend five hours a week or more on charity)







South Africa





Money and Time

By plotting these results together, the report further reveals countries where high net worth individuals are involved in philanthropic activity by donating both money and time to causes. The emergence of these donors further supports the findings of Barclays Wealth's 'Tomorrow's Philanthropist' report, which introduced a new breed of wealthy philanthropist; the 'Go-Giver'. Socially aware and motivated to give back to the communities they come from; 'Go-Givers' seek to support charities not only with financial aid but also using their time and expertise to benefit causes.

Emma Turner, Director of Client Philanthropy at Barclays Wealth commented: "This report provides a strong sense of how the global community is really engaging with philanthropy – above and beyond simply donating money. This is the first time we've seen both money and time used as indicators of an individual's giving behaviours in research, and it is especially interesting to see the diversity of this involvement in charities across global regions."

Cultural Philanthropy

The four countries that ranked consistently in the top five of both indicators are Ireland, India, South Africa and the US. The report investigates the cultural nuances that drive these countries to engage in philanthropy in this way. The report identifies factors including:

  •          A strong sense of community in Ireland - Personal connections to communities and causes are driving contributions to charity
  •          The desire to combat omnipresent poverty in India - High net worth individuals have a strong sense that they must do as much as they can personally to combat society's problems
  •          Bridging divides in society in South Africa - A national philosophy known as 'Ubuntu' drives altruism and a desire to support charitable causes
  •          A sense of personal responsibility to help others in the US - An optimism about the creativity and innovation of individuals to solve problems and make changes in society

Emma Turner continued: "It is clear from all the research that we have done in this area that engagement in philanthropy is universal, but this new report provides unique insight into the ways in which this commitment manifests itself across the globe, and the cultural nuances that drive this behaviour in these populations. By learning more about the ways in which people give, we can further develop our understanding of the global philanthropic landscape and the unique motivations that are driving the wealthy community to engage in charitable giving."

Read the full report: