Italians show will to donate billions for the future

The Local Italy
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Italians show will to donate billions for the future
A volunteer stands next to a donation box during a charity event in Turin in 2016, whose profits were to help the population hit by the quake in Central Italy. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP.

A survey by Italy's national association of notaries, which monitors charity donations in Italy, found that 32 million people donated to a cause in the last year.


Italians may be struggling financially but their generosity appears unaffected by a decade of financial crisis. Especially if it involves giving money beyond their lifetime. 

At least 14 percent of Italians are willing to leave money to a charity in their will, according to a survey by GFK Eurisko, commissioned by the Italian Notariat's association. 

Three percent have already inserted a clause into their will to ensure a donation to a good cause; 11 percent have declared the will to do so. The altruistic trend looks set to grow too.

By 2030, 420,000 Italians will leave donations to charities in their wills, estimates Osservatorio Fondazione Cariplo.

This would mean the dead would fund approximately €129 billion extra for the third sector, lifesaving funds for emergency relief charities, science and academic research bodies. 

According to the Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index, which compares attitudes concerning generosity in different countries, Italy ranks 84th in the world, behind at least a dozen other EU countries.

Thirty percent of Italians showed positive attitudes towards giving. Myanmar ranks first with 65 percent of the population supporting charity causes, followed by Indonesia. CAF's World Giving Index is based on respondents' answers to three questions. 

Italian Nobel-laureate and poet Eugenio Montale and the actor Giorgio Gaber both left substantial donations to charities in their wills.

Major business figures such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg have all pledged to leave a large part of their fortunes to charity after their deaths. 

Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby the world's richest pledge to give away 50 percent of their money. As of 2017, there are 170 pledgers from 21 countries, including Richard Branson and Michael Bloomberg.  

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