Singapore moves up 50 spots in World Giving Index, but trails behind in helping strangers

Singapore has vaulted up 50 spots to rank 64th in the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) World Giving Index this year, thanks mainly to a rise in the number of people donating. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Singapore has vaulted up 50 spots to rank 64th in the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) World Giving Index this year, thanks mainly to a rise in the number of people donating. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singapore has vaulted up 50 spots to rank 64th in the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) World Giving Index this year, thanks mainly to a rise in the number of people donating. But findings showed that Singapore is still trailing at the back of the pack when it comes to lending strangers a helping hand, coming in 134th out of 135 countries and territories.

This is the country's best showing yet since the index was launched in 2010. Singapore was ranked 91st in the World Giving Index in 2010 and 2011. Last year, it fell to the bottom rungs of the index, at 114th out of 146 countries and territories.

The index by Britain-based CAF looks at three measures of giving in the past year: donating money to charity, volunteering, and helping a stranger. Singapore has improved on two fronts: volunteering and donating. More than one in two Singaporeans, or 55 per cent, donated to charity in the month before they were surveyed, almost double the 29 per cent in the 2012 report. More Singaporeans are also volunteering: 17 per cent, up from 8 per cent the previous year. But the number of Singaporeans helping strangers has not improved. In last year's index, Singapore took the 140th position, with only 24 per cent of Singaporeans helping strangers out. This year's index saw no increase, placing Singapore in second last place, saved from rock bottom only by Cambodia.

The United States, where 77 per cent of people - the highest rate among those polled - have helped strangers, came out tops in this year's report. Canada, Myanmar and New Zealand followed in joint second place. Debt-ridden Greece was at the bottom of the index.

The report used data from international polling company Gallup, which surveyed over 155,000 people in 135 countries and territories last year. No figures were given on the number of Singaporeans polled, but Gallup said it surveyed between 500 and 1,000 respondents by telephone or face-to-face for smaller countries.