George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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29 January 2019

Download the 2019 South Africa Giving report here.

88% of South Africans did something charitable such as giving money to a non-profit organisation (NPO), volunteering at their local church or sponsoring someone in the last 12 months. Around eight in ten (79%) did something charitable within the last four weeks.

That’s according to the South Africa Giving report released today. This was commissioned by CAF Southern Africa and the Charities Aid Foundation, an international charity that helps people and companies to give worldwide.

Key findings of the research include:

  • 80% of those surveyed have given money in the past 12 months; either to a non-profit or charity, to a church or religious organisation, or by sponsoring someone
  • The most popular cause to give money to is helping the poor (55% of donors); the most popular cause to volunteer for is with religious organisations (44% of volunteers)
  • In total, 66% of people have volunteered in the past 12 months; that’s up from 61% the year before
  • In addition to volunteering, two thirds of people have taken part in a civic activity in the past 12 months; in particular signing a petition and taking part in a local consultation
  • Giving using cash is by far the most common method of donation for South Africans; 73% donate using this method

South Africa Giving 1

The report also shines a light on the youngest generation of South Africans and how they interact with civil society, with 18-24 year olds significantly more likely than average to say that they donate to make a difference (64% vs. 56% overall).

18-24 year olds are also more likely than average to have volunteered in the four weeks prior to interview, with 54% having done so. The findings indicate that younger people are more likely to join a pressure group or political party, as well as volunteer at elections, suggesting young people are increasingly willing to campaign for the causes that matter most to them.

This comes at a time when the debate over the implementation for free education is ongoing, with 21 billion rand set aside by the Government to fund this in 2019. South African students were pivotal in lobbying the Government on this issue, organising themselves across racial and gender lines to present a united voice on free higher education.

Commenting on the report, Gill Bates, Chief Executive of CAF Southern Africa adds:

“It’s exciting to see so many South Africans getting involved in charitable activities, whether that’s by donating money or volunteering for a cause they care about. 80% of those surveyed also say that non-profits (NPOs) have had a positive influence on South Africa as a whole, with 82% agreeing that’s the case for their local communities too.

“This rises amongst young people aged 18-24, with 87% positive about the impact that NPOs have had on their local communities. Ultimately, this bodes well for the future of civil society in South Africa, with millions of young people so inspired and committed to enact real change.”

Notes to editors:


This report is based on data collected by YouGov on behalf of CAF. In South Africa, 952 interviews were completed online between 2nd August and 13th September 2018. The survey was conducted using YouGov’s panel partner, Toluna, an international online panel provider.

Due to the level of internet penetration in South Africa (estimates range from 40% to 54%), the sample is representative of the urban population and is weighted to known population data on demographics including age, gender and region.

Differences are reported at the 95% confidence level (the level of confidence that the results are a true reflection of the whole population). The maximum margin of error (the amount of random sampling error) is calculated as ±3%.

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with nine offices covering six continents.

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.

We are CAF and we make giving count.

About CAF Southern Africa

Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa (CAF Southern Africa) is an independent non-profit organisation that promotes and facilitates effective giving, volunteering and social investment. CAF Southern Africa has been represented in South Africa since 1997, and in 2000 became a registered Section 21 not-for-profit and public benefit organisation, with Section 18 (a) status. While being a wholly South African organisation, CAF Southern Africa is CAF’s Global Alliance partner organisation in South Africa. The CAF Global Alliance spans six continents, with offices in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.  It is a champion for better giving and harnesses local knowledge and expertise to help donors, companies and civil society make a bigger impact. Last year more than 70,000 non-profit organisations received over £500m in donations in more than 100 countries.  

For more information, visit

About CAF Global Alliance

The CAF Global Alliance is a leading international network of independent, locally led organisations working at the forefront of philanthropy and civil society. It is a champion for better giving and civil society and harnesses local knowledge and expertise to help donors, companies and civil society make a bigger impact. Last year more than 70,000 charities received over £500m in donations in more than 100 countries.

Download the 2019 South Africa Giving report


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