Today’s Russia lacks an established culture of philanthropy, and people tend to give ‘the old way’, i.e. directly to someone in need. Nevertheless, Russians donate quite often: 52% have donated more than once and another 5% have donated once over the past year, according to Mersiyanova and Korneyeva.
The researchers have constructed a collective profile of Russian givers and found that the level of education, the type of occupation and position, gender, age, and religious beliefs all play a role in whether someone is likely to make a charitable donation.
This study of trends in charitable giving was carried out as part of the periodic monitoring of Russia's civil society and based on data from a nationwide survey of urban and rural populations held in 2014 in 43 Russian regions with a sample of 2,000 respondents aged 18 and older.
The researchers found that 57% of the surveyed Russians have donated money to strangers over the past year, with 39% having done it a few times, 13% having done it multiple times, and 5% have donated just once, with 41% not donating during the year, and 2% were not sure.
Charitable giving to those in need is widespread in Russia, but donors tend to be conservative in their giving style. «Most often, Russians give money to someone personally, from hand to hand, just as people did many years ago,» the researchers note, explaining it by the fact that a culture of philanthropy is not yet fully established in the country. The study found that 66% of donors have given to beggars, and 33% have given directly to someone in need other than a beggar; 20% have made donations via mobile phones and 16% used charity boxes, followed by workplace giving (14%), and contributions to fundraisers organised by friends (7%) and the local community (6%).
Notably, people are more likely to donate to someone they know personally, such as friends, colleagues, and neighbors, but less inclined to use bank accounts, e-wallets, payment terminals, or payroll deductions, which were chosen by only between 1% and 3% of respondents. 56% of the givers report having donated directly without an intermediary.
When asked about the causes they have supported, 29% of respondents mentioned medicine and health, 25% indicated religion and religious associations, followed by 22% who have supported disaster relief, and 18% who have donated to orphanages and shelters. Culture, education, research, and ecology have each been supported by 1% of respondents.
The researchers found gender differences in people's giving practices: more women then men donated 'multiple times' (15% vs. 10%) and 'a few times' (43% vs. 35%), while men generally donated larger amounts than women. 37% of women and 47% of men have never or almost never made a donation.
Russians aged 31 to 60 are more likely to donate (60%) than other age groups, while those aged 31 to 45 tend to donate the largest amounts.
Respondents with higher educational levels are more likely to give: the proportion of those who have donated over the past year is 65% among respondents with university degrees, 70% among those with some university-level education but no degree, 60% and 54%, respectively, among those with secondary and primary vocational school training, and 42% among those who have not finished general school. According to the researchers, better-educated and wealthier respondents are likely to give larger amounts.
81% of respondents who attend a church, a mosque, or another place of worship at least once a week have made donations, followed by 74% of those who go to church once a month and 71% of those who do so 4 to 6 times a year.
Intellectuals are more likely to give to those in need, including professionals employed in mass media (68%), academia and high-tech (65%), and also in sports, tourism, and recreation industries (65%), followed by bankers and financiers (61%), medical professionals (59%), lawyers (58%), and cultural workers (58%).
A high proportion of CEOs are givers; 92% have donated during the year – of them, 67% have donated a few times, 17% have donated multiple times, and 8% have donated once.
People living in towns give more frequently (65%, of them 47% a few times and 15% multiple times), followed by residents of cities with a population of 1 million and more (60%, 41%, and 13%, respectively), cities with a population of 500,000 to 1 million (60%), and cities with a population of less than 50,000 and villages (51% and 52%, respectively).