A third of Russians regularly support charitable organisations
The Charitable Foundation We Need Help has released the results of its annual survey of attitudes among internet users towards professional charity work (or NGOs working in the voluntary sector).
The survey, carried out in conjunction with the Tiburon Research Agency, is called Developing Professional Charity Work in Russia: Public Participation. It revealed that 84% of Russians had contributed to charitable organisations on one or several occasions in the past year (some donations are random, others specific), and 31% had done so at least two or three times per month. Of those who regularly contribute to charities, only 47% could recall the name of the charity they supported. 28% of respondents said that they took an active interest in the work of the charity they supported and knew how their donations were spent. People in the 18-24 age category showed the greatest interest in charity work.
Sociologists have shown that Russians are in general happy to support good causes, with anything from food parcels to online payments. Donating or buying goods is a popular form of support. Giving up time to do voluntary work remains the least common kind of charitable giving.
The causes that attract the most financial support are treatment for sick children (68%), care for animals and shelters (15%) and support for people in hardship (12%). Compared with the previous year, people have become more inclined to support local NGOs. The researchers link this to the increase in the number of people making online donations, which rose from 25% to 30% in the past year. On this basis it was suggested that NGOs should focus more on social media and try to build up their online presence.
Commenting on the report, Yelizaveta Yaznevich, Head of Research at We Need Help, said she was pleased to see that people are broadening their support within the charity world, not limiting their donations to the big players like the Russian Foundation (Rusfond) and Give Life but being more open to supporting local NGOs. However, Yaznevich is concerned that public perceptions of charity work are largely unchanged. Charity workers are still seen as a community of people who tackle social problems but are lacking in professional qualification. The issue of charity pay reflects these attitudes. Only 14% of Russians believe that administrative expenses (like salaries, trips or office rental) should be covered by donations from the general public.
The survey incorporated responses from 1,200 people, all of them internet users, aged between 18 and 60, and living in towns with a population of over 100,000 people.