Sharon MacDonald is one such individual who engages in charity as she has been having her soup kitchen for 12 years at the Belhar self-help area outside St Mary's Magdalene Church. Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - There are various reasons that may have influenced the likelihood of individuals in South Africa taking money out of their own pockets to help others by donating to the poor or to NPOs.

A total of 88% of people in the country have donated money in the past 12 months, either to a charity, a religious organisation or an individual, according to the South Africa Giving report 2019 produced by Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa.

“As a young nation, we are acutely aware of our fractious past and the difficult journeys many of us still face,” said Patrick Schofield, chief executive at BackaBuddy, the online crowdfunding platform.

“While we’re more prosperous than most countries in Africa, we also empathise with those who still struggle and we reach out to help where we can. It’s something we’re rightly proud of as South Africans, that it’s part of our DNA, this culture of giving,” he said.

Schofield said South Africans were quite aware of the inequality gap. There might be a small elite who possibly detached themselves from the realities of the country, but a vast majority of people seem to give their time and resources to others in need.

About 73% of South Africans donate by giving cash, the most common method of donating.

Also, eight in 10 individuals (79%) had done something charitable within the past four weeks, according to the giving report 2019.

The world’s increasing use of technology has led to social media being another strong factor in the growing number of people donating money to charities and individuals.

“The explosion of online and social media giving platforms have made individual giving even easier and many more people are digging more deeply into their pockets to support their chosen good causes,” said Joan Daries, head of programmes and projects at the Community Chest.

There are also now numerous campaigns that raise money for the disadvantaged, charities and organisations, and for community upliftment.

“From national movements including Lead SA and the overarching legacy of Nelson Mandela, through to the individual efforts and single posts of activists, there are touch points everywhere that remind us to be greater than ourselves and have compassion,” said Schofield.

“High profile campaigns such as Mandela Day have highlighted the importance of active participation in community life as one of our responsibilities as citizens,” said Daries.

“We have the latest ‘Thuma Mina’ campaign that is on a similar theme. South Africans have always been willing to give of themselves and their money to support good causes.”

Added Janet Chadwick, fund-raising manager at Carpenter’s Shop - Helping the Homeless: “The non-profits and the media are doing a great job spreading awareness.

“We work hard to make volunteering and donating as easy as possible, and have better ways of reporting on our objectives, so people know when they donate money or items, it is having a direct impact on our clients.”

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