Global charitable giving could reach £146bn by 2030, says Charities Aid Foundation report

John Low, chief executive of CAF, says governments and the voluntary sector should tap into the potential of the world's emerging economies

John Low
John Low

Global charitable giving from middle class people could rise to £146bn by 2030 if they donate as much to charity as those in the UK, says new research from the Charities Aid Foundation.

Future World Giving: unlocking the potential of global philanthropy, launched today at the House of Commons, says the increase could be achieved if governments and the voluntary sector are able to tap into the giving potential of the world’s emerging economies.

The number of middle-class people globally – categorised as those whose daily expenditure is between $10 and $100 – is predicted to grow by 165 per cent by 2030, from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 4.9 billion, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Their spending power is set to increase by 161 per cent over the same period, the report says.

The majority of this growth, 70 per cent, is forecast to happen outside the traditional philanthropic centres of Europe and North America.

If the world’s middle classes matched the average 0.4 per cent of their spending donated to charity by people in the UK, giving could rise to £146bn by 2030, the report says. This would be enough to wipe out extreme poverty, according to figures from the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, the report says.

A paper published last year by the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity in Washington DC estimated that total worldwide philanthropy was $56bn in 2010, although it said this was likely to be an underestimate because many countries were not properly measuring giving.

The number of people in the world classed as super-rich is also growing, the CAF report says, with the number of people worth $100m (£66.2m) or more predicted to increase from 63,000 in 2011 to 86,000 by 2016.

CAF is today launching the Future World Giving project, which will follow up on the concepts introduced by the report through a series of international policy reports and events. It will examine how governments around the world can turn the predicted levels of giving into reality by promoting charitable donations, ensuring there are incentives for people to give and setting standards of transparency so that charities can build trust.

John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "Across the world, developing economies are growing at a phenomenal rate as countries such as China, India and Brazil emerge as economic superpowers.

"The massive expansion of wealth that will come from this social change means there will be vast untapped potential for people to contribute to causes in their countries and across the globe. If the new middle classes give to charity like we do in the UK, the potential to transform the world for the better will be vast. 

"Governments and civil society across the world need to harness these powerful social trends. We need to prepare for these changes now to make sure that people can support the causes they care about with confidence and ease."

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