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CAF launches Groundwork for Global Giving Campaign

03 September 2017

Emerging middle class could unlock billions for the world’s poorest

A new report by the Charities Aid Foundation has found that the developing world’s emerging middle class could unlock $319 billion for good causes annually by 2030 if they were to dedicate just 0.5% of their spending to charitable causes – slightly less than the proportion of GDP given over to charitable causes in the UK.

Such charitable giving could play a significant role in ensuring development is reaching the world’s poorest. This figure is more than double the record $147 billion given in Overseas Development Aid by the 35 members of the OECD and would fill the UN’s 2017 shortfall 17 times over. Indeed, it is greater than the entire GDP of countries such as South Africa, Demark and Singapore.

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The report, entitled Laying the Groundwork for Global Giving, examines the opportunities that the emerging middle classes present for civil society, but also takes a critical look at the current state of civil society and the barriers that must be overcome, namely: a lack of funding for services that support donors and charities, lack of trust in the sector, a lack of direct funding to local organisations by international donors and a lack of local giving in emerging markets.

The report is being published ahead of the Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index, the leading comparative study of global generosity. The Index records generosity based upon three criteria: the number of people who helped a stranger in the preceding month, volunteered their time, or gave money to a good cause. For the 2017 report, more than 146,000 people were interviewed in 139 countries.

Key findings of the report

The increase in the size and wealth of the global middle classes by 2030 suggests that developing the conditions for local civil society could generate unprecedented investment for good causes. If the global middle class were to give in line with UK giving levels (0.54% of GDP) this would generate $347 billion annually. If giving was in line with USA levels (1.4%), global middle classes could generate $919 billion.

Emerging economies will account for the majority of the world’s middle class population in the near future. In 2015 the Asia Pacific region was home to 35% of the world’s middle class. By 2030 it is projected that this figure will have swelled to 57%.

To realise this goal governments and charities must focus on developing local civil society infrastructure to help charities and donors to be more effective. This would build trust, improve transparency, reduce the risk of fraud and empower communities to become the protagonists of social change.

Commenting on the report, Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“The world is changing at an enormous pace, with millions of people becoming more prosperous as economic development accelerates in countries all round the world.

“That creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a global culture of generosity, that could harness this new-found wealth to tackle the most pressing issues of our age. This could transform the lives of millions of people around the world.

“Governments, charities and wider civil society needs to work together to create a strong, effective and independent civil society that people trust so we can harness seismic social changes to make the world a better place.”

Click here to download the report and get more details about the Groundwork for Global Giving Campaign.

The report has been released in advance of the CAF 2017 World Giving Index – the worlds leading and most comprehensive index of generosity. The 2017 CAF World Giving Index will be published on September 5th 2017.

Data on the proportion of GDP given to charity is taken from CAF 2016 Gross Domestic Philanthropy report