Recently, the China Charity and Donation Information Center released the 2009 Whole Year Report on Charitable Donations in China (in Chinese). The report provided a large-scale look at Chinese philanthropy including the total size of donations that came into the country, the percentage of overseas donations, the donations given to different charitable sectors, and the types of donors. As a follow-up to my previous post covering the charitable giving in the first half of 2009, I here summarize some important findings of the yearly report.
Total Donation Size Decreased 68.9% from 2008
In the previous post, I mentioned that the donations in the first half of 2009 decreased by nearly 80% from the 2008 number. The dramatic increase in giving was a result of one-off giving for the Sichuan earthquake, which could hardly be sustained in 2009. According to the report, the total size of donations given last year was US$8.23 billion, a decrease of 68.9%. This drop becomes less shocking, however, when we consider the giving in 2007, a year in which there were no significant disasters. Comparing 2007 and 2009, there is actually an 8.2% rise in donations, which shows that general giving has increased since 2007 and that the economic downturn did not significantly affect donations.
Another interesting discovery in the report is that more than 60% of the donations were given in the second half of the year. Normally, there is no significant difference between giving in the first half of the year and the second. I think the main reason for this is the severe drought that hit Southern China in the fall of 2009 (and continues today), which stimulated local giving.
Overseas Donations Only Accounted for 14.1% of the Total Donations
An important finding in our last post was the encouraging trend that local giving has begun to overtake overseas donations. The new data from the 2009 whole year report confirms the trend. Overseas giving in 2009 accounting for only 14.1% of the total donations in 2009 versus 28% in 2007. As the year progressed, overseas donations plummeted as the economic downturn took hold in the West.
Local Donations: The Portion of Individual Donations Kept Rising
Another exciting finding in the report was that local individual donations were higher than at any other time in history and actually rose over the course of the year. Charitable donations from individuals in 2009 accounted for nearly one-third of the total local giving. Before 2008, this portion had never exceeded one-fifth of total donations. The highest point of individual giving recorded was 58% in 2008 and revealed the potential of local individual donors in China. The post-earthquake increase of individual giving lasted for over a year and has yet to dip down to former numbers. The question now is whether or not this positive trend will last and what it will take to keep the levels rising consistently. Even as the recent Yushu Earthquake has again sparked a mass outpouring of individual giving, it will be interesting to watch the progress in this area.
Charity Sectors: Education Received the Most
In terms of the sectors that received donationsrecieinvt , the whole year result is very similar to the situation in the first six months. The China Charity and Donation Information Center was able to monitor the destination of US$1.32 billion of the donations. The education sector received the most donations with 41.1% of the monitored funds followed by disaster relief (25.5%), poverty (12.1%), health care (9.2%), environment (2.3%), and science and arts (1.5%).
In conclusion, after the boom of charitable giving in 2008, the donations in 2009 went back to a normal level. Although the total donation size decreased significantly last year, I am excited to see that Chinese are giving more than before and are even overtaking overseas giving. As the weight of individual donations continues to rise, I believe we are looking towards a positive future in Chinese philanthropy.