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S'pore ranked 91st again in philanthropy poll

Singapore maintained its 91st ranking for contributions to charity. -myp
Sia Ling Xin

Wed, Dec 21, 2011
my paper

Singaporeans may still be giving to charity despite the gloomy economic outlook, but the country trails other territories in the region in terms of philanthropy.

In a global report on 153 territories this year, Singapore maintained its 91st ranking for contributions to charity.

The country tied with India and Iran.

Singapore was also one of the lowest-ranked in South-east Asia, even as other territories in the region moved up the ranks.

The World Giving Index 2011, by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), was based on a survey carried out in the first quarter of this year.

It polled a total of 153,000 people, of which at least 500 are Singaporeans.

This is the second time the survey was conducted.

Participants were asked three questions: whether they had given money, volunteered their time, or helped a stranger, all in the preceding month.

Despite the stagnant ranking, Singapore saw a slightly improved overall score, from 27 per cent last year to 28 per cent this year.

This score is the aggregate of participants' responses to the three questions.

The report found that more Singaporeans are giving cash donations and volunteering their time.

The number of those who donated money went up from 35 per cent last year to 41 per cent this year.

This was borne out by a report in my paper yesterday, which found that Singaporeans are still donating to charities, despite a looming economic downturn.

The number of those who volunteered their time went up slightly, from 10 per cent last year to 11 per cent this year.

However, when it comes to helping a stranger, fewer people are doing so this year - from 35 per cent last year to 33 per cent this year.

Although Singapore improved significantly in terms of cash donations, there were not much changes in the other two areas of assessment.

This put Singapore at a disadvantage, compared to countries that have shown improvements across the three areas, explained Ms Elaine Tan, chief executive of CAF South East Asia.

Mr Laurence Lien, chief executive of Singapore's National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, told my paper that the findings show that "giving is not a way of life in Singapore yet".

However, Singapore is "certainly on the right path", even though "there is a lot of room to grow" when it comes to giving locally, he said.

Territories in the region that made it to the top 10 were Sri Lanka (No. 8), Thailand (No. 9) and Laos (No. 10).

Hong Kong came in 11th.

The United States took the top spot.

Ms Tan explained that Hong Kong, which has an economy similar to Singapore's, may have done better because "Hong Kongers are generally more responsive to charitable causes related to Greater China", where needs may seem more dire.

For more my paper stories click here.

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