The Economic Value, Impact and Valuing of Charity
The article gives an overview of two recent studies on philanthropy in Estonia, one about volunteering and the other about charitable giving.
It discusses the economic value of Esto-nian philanthropy, its broader impact on society and how it is valued by different groups. Depending on the methods used, volunteering added 0.3–0.9% to Estonian GDP in 2010 while charitable giving was up to 0.2% of GDP. For more advanced countries, the same figures were up to 4% and 2% respectively (latest data is more than ten years old). To better understand, promote and value philanthropical activities, a number of policy recommenda-tions have been made. Firstly, more consistent and regular data should be collected which would allow for more comprehensive studies to be made. This way questions about the link between philanthropy and, for instance, social cohesion, social capital, trust, civic activism, etc. could be better answered. Secondly, development of programs and best practice exam-ples for NGOs is needed which would promote philanthropy and make the processes better understood. Thirdly, more clarity should be brought into the matter of tax subsidies for phil-anthropic activities so that people would know their philanthropic contribution is welcome and considered. The list goes on, but philanthropy could be both an indicator of and a stimu-lus for the development of a society, so more knowledge about it and consideration for it is needed.