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Public Opinion Surveys

SIGN members conducted a public opinion surveys in their respective countries in order to get an overview of philanthropy in the region, assess attitudes of both everyday citizens and companies towards giving for public good and to inform advocacy strategies in each of the SIGN network countries.

Trag (Serbia) had previously conducted their Survey on Individual and Corporate Philanthropy in Serbia in 2012. That same year, fAKT (Montenegro) had more than 1000 respondents form their Survey on Individual Philanthropy in Montenegro.

Mozaik’s (B&H) Research on Philanthropy involved more than 2000 citizens and in-depth interviews with members of ten companies. CIRa (Macedonia) collected  data from over 1000 individuals, 90 CSOs and 199 companies. FIQ completed its Survey at the end of 2014, gathering data from 1000 individuals and 250 companies across Kosovo.



Trag’s main findings suggest that Serbian citizens still comprehend the idea of philanthropy as humanitarian aid and support to socially vulnerable groups and individuals, while representatives of companies, although consistent with citizens in considering that help to the endangered is the primary goal of actions for public good, pay considerably greater significance to actions contributing to the general development of communities. Both citizens and companies agree that the current state in philanthropy is dissatisfying, mostly as a consequence of economic crisis and apathy in society, but they also agree that potential for development exists and that it is necessary to mobilize and stimulate both citizens and companies to participate in actions for common good, through greater engagement of media and state, changes of legal and tax framework, development of transparency standards and through providing feedback on the flow of raised funds and results of supported actions. Citizens show lack of trust towards civil society organizations and foundations, especially when it comes to managing raised funds, while companies make distinction between organizations and foundations of civil society, showing more trust towards foundations, but they also express readiness to support both organizations and foundations, noting that they should first improve their work and transparency, in line with the quality of their proposed actions and with an increase in communication with the business sector. 



Mozaik’s key survey mirrored other findings in indicating that for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, philanthropy is primarily understood as humanitarian aid and assistance to vulnerable groups in the broadest sense. However business representatives have greater understanding and make difference between these two kinds of support. Many representatives of companies recognized that there was a certain amount of inaction aimed at the common good, and at the lack of long-term projects in general. Both citizens and companies agree that the current state of philanthropy is unsatisfactory and considered the causes of this to be the economic situation and a general lack of initiative. A phenomenon that is specific to the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the existence of foreign and local organizations that divided citizens and businesses, because there is dominating distrust of local organizations and actors and because foreign associations enjoy greater credibility. Also citizens in some measure, but particularly companies distrust the media, which they think either hinder good actions, do not recognize them, or have different priorities. Companies are particularly displeased with their previous cooperation with the NGO sector, which was minimal or nonexistent, but show a willingness to support actions that are of high quality and transparent in the future. 



CIRa’s survey concluded that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia experience philanthropy as assistance for socially vulnerable groups and individuals and they tend to support humanitarian activities and actions that are organized with such purpose. Civil society organizations appear as the initiators of these activities and invite citizens and businesses to contribute to the success of these campaigns. Companies openly support and often initiate philanthropic efforts in their communities, especially if they are large and want to promote themselves as socially responsible entities.

The survey concluded that there is a high level of commitment to donate among citizens from all strata of the society, which shows that in society there is a dominant tendency of affirmative attitude, determination and desirable behavior towards donating. The status of citizens in society determines their behavior when it comes to donating. Those that are more established economically, such as businessmen and intellectuals, appear as more frequent donors. Social and employment status differentiates the motives for giving, emphasizing personal humanistic attitude on one hand and real economic situation on the other. The elements of trust and the transparent use of the donations are also emphasized.

As regards of the donating practices among companies, the need to develop strategic approach and planning of their philanthropic and CSR efforts is seen to be of essential importance. In most cases the decision to make donations is based on the current need to respond positively to requests from individuals and organizations in the community. Smaller companies prefer in-kind donations to CSOs, and both small and large companies prefer to donate financial support to those CSOs that they are familiar with, or have successfully collaborated with in the past, showing that the confidence, trust and well-established relations are key factors for positive response.




fAKT’s survey suggested that the average Montenegrin is generally poorly informed about philanthropy as a phenomenon, as well as any societal benefits that come from philanthropic activities. Their results indicated that lack of trust was one of the key barriers in the further development of philanthropic activity or participation in concrete actions, along with the lackluster financial situation of the average Montenegrin. These combined led to a general lack of participation in collaboration for actions for the common good, which people usually understand as fundraising events, and they prefer giving to people in endangered life situations. However, the percentage of people involved in any of such actions more than once a year is below one third of population. On the other hand, research has identified relatively high percentage of people who are willing to participate in actions for the common good under certain conditions (47%), what indicates that they should be encouraged, especially working on the issues that can be influenced - awareness of the importance of such actions and strengthening the trust. 




FIQ’s study on philanthropy reveals that the majority of citizens and around 40% of businesses in Kosovo are not aware of the concept of philanthropy, while others interpret it as humanitarian aid and assistance to vulnerable groups (individuals), and long-term investment towards a sustainable development (businesses). The results show that there is a positive attitude towards helping those in need in Kosovo. However, the overall financial status of many households as well as businesses makes philanthropy a difficult area to fully apply in practice.

Besides the lack of finances, citizens of Kosovo stated that their reluctance for bigger contributions is based on the distrust that the donations will be misused. While the reluctance from businesses is due to the lack of transparency of funding and work from the initiators or philanthropic activities, financial support, and tax incentives.

The civil society is seen to be as the second responsible actor to initiate philanthropic initiatives from the citizens and businesses (state institutions being the first). The biggest needs of the civic community turned out to be “Humanitarian actions in assisting citizens in need” and “health protection”. Regarding the roles that each participant in the society ought to uphold, the most common ones were to ensure “greater participation of philanthropic activities”, to “initiate philanthropic activities” and to “strongly support such activities”.