How much money is donated to nonprofit organizations in Europe? What’s the most generous country in the world? Very simple and interesting questions indeed. A radio listener commenting on our new estimates of the total amount donated by households in the Netherlands asked them.
You would expect that there are data available answer them. But it turns out that there are no good answers to these questions. There are some data from poll surveys on the proportion of the population making donations, such as the Gallup World Poll (2010), the European Social Survey (2002), and the Eurobarometer Survey (2004).
Here’s a link to a clickable map using the most recent Gallup data. But what does this map actually tell us?
A map using the European Social Survey data or data from the Eurobarometer would look rather different, because the data are pretty inconsistent with each other. According to Gallup, 77% of the population in the Netherlands makes donations. This is pretty close to what we estimate in our Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (GINPS). Yet the European Social Survey (ESS) shows about 45%, while the Eurobarometer shows 81% – consistent with GINPS. For the Netherlands, the ESS yields an underestimate, it seems.
For France, Gallup yields 31%, higher again than the ESS estimate of 24%. The Eurobarometer estimate, however, is 56%. Now who’s closer to the true value?
Also, what these data don’t show is how much is donated. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the €1.9 billion donated in the Netherlands to donations in other countries?