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The Management Centre launches The Big Mac® Philanthropy Index V.2.0

The Management Centre

 How do you measure and compare philanthropy in different countries, given their different economies, GDPs, cultures and attitudes to charitable giving? The Management Centre has done with the help of 40 colleagues and associates throughout the world. We’ve done this by pegging some standard donation values against the local price of a Big Mac® in each country’s currency.

In creating The Big Mac® Philanthropy Index, The Management Centre is emulating The Economist magazine’s Big Mac® index. By comparing wages and prices to the price of a Big Mac, the Index lets you more easily compare the relative price of a car, the wages of a dentist, or how many hours someone has to work to be able to earn enough to buy a Big Mac.

The Economist has been publishing its index for over a decade, and, says The Management Centre, it has been used by international organisations to calculate the per diem for employees travelling to a foreign country.

There are other international philanthropy comparisons, of course, including CAF’s The World Giving Index and Johns Hopkins University’s Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project.

What does the Big Mac® Philanthropy Index measure?

Applied to philanthropy, The Management Centre’s index focuses on a number of standard measurements of giving:

  • The average monthly pledge/direct debit gift of a regular donor to a ‘major’ charity.
  • The price point at which a supporter becomes a major donor among national ‘top 10’ charities or INGOs working in the nation
  • The size of the largest capital campaign run in the last three years

To avoid ‘outlier’ results we have a core basket of national data gifted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies and UNICEF International who operate in almost all the world’s countries. We have also, where possible, secured data for a national cancer charity in a specific country. And our 40+ researchers have contributed individual cases to establish what fundraising life is like for smaller charities or other sectors like HE.

But we’re aware that there are still many countries where we need data – and whole areas like Africa and the Middle East where we have only one or two examples. So we are inviting fundraisers around the world to contribute the relevant figures for their country. This second version of the Index now has data from 38 countries and the aim is to have many more nations on the index for the 2014 update.

Management Centre Director Bernard Ross said: “The Index is a an experiment in crowdsourcing data. We launched the idea on a wiki and began to tweet. It’s fantastic the way that fundraisers globally have taken the idea to their hearts. We know the initial data will be challenging and provocative, and we’re not claiming it’s the perfect approach, but it does offer a different ‘real world’ insight. We plan to update the index at least annually.”

How to take part

Fundraisers in any country can enter the data for their nation on the wiki set up for the task. The Management Centre is keen to receive multiple entries for nations to help make the data more representative and robust. You can access the wiki here:

Contributors will also be told the results and will receive a full copy of the Index when published. This is your chance to take part in an exciting global crowdsourced research project.You can also send data direct to David Segal, Consultant.

The Index was launched in San Diego on 8 April as part of the marketing for a new book by Bernard Ross and Penny Cagney titled Global Fundraising- how the world is changing the rules of philanthropy (Wiley 2013). The book explores how the world is changing form the point of view of practical on-the-ground fundraisers in almost 20 nations.

How to find out more now

To see the results as an infographic published 9th May click here or click on the image below. Please share this widely.

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