Communications Manager, LCIF
Lions Clubs Strengthen Philanthropy Locally and Globally, New Study Finds
INDIANAPOLIS, USA – Members of Lions Clubs International are making significant contributions to philanthropy in the United States and internationally, a new study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.
One of the first international surveys of a large voluntary service organization to include a focus on the role of women, the study reflects the responses of more than 2,700 Lions clubs members from 12 countries in five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa. It was sponsored by Lions Clubs International and CCS, an international fundraising, consulting and management firm, through the William B. Hanrahan Fellowship at the Center on Philanthropy.
Lions clubs members’ rates of both charitable giving and volunteering are significantly higher than the general population in all 12 countries. In the U.S., Lions clubs members were nearly four times more likely to volunteer and one-and-a-half times more likely to give to charity than the overall population.
- Internationally, 92 percent of Lions clubs members surveyed donated to charitable causes and 86 percent volunteered
- In the U.S., 97 percent of members donated and 97 percent volunteered
- By comparison, approximately 65 percent of all American households give to charity; 26 percent volunteer, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service
“We are pleased to release this new study as we prepare to celebrate Lions Clubs International’s 95th anniversary this year,” said Peter Lynch, executive director of Lions Clubs International. “The study findings highlight the strong connections Lions clubs members have to their communities. These findings reaffirm what we thought, but until now we have not had the data to quantify Lions clubs members’ action and community engagement worldwide.”
Lions clubs members’ active engagement in philanthropy may in part be because the study found Lions clubs members have higher levels of social trust in people from other religions and nationalities than does the general population, said Una Osili, director of research for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Higher social trust can help strengthen civil society.
“Lions clubs members are a key force in philanthropy around the globe,” Osili said. “Service clubs have promoted civic engagement and strengthened communities since the early 1900s. This research confirms that they continue to play an important role in building global civil society in both developed and developing countries.”
Although Lions clubs members are well known for supporting vision and eye care programs, their giving and volunteering extends to supporting all types of charitable causes. While the majority of giving and volunteering was through their local Lions clubs, about one-third of volunteering hours were done outside the Lions clubs, showing a wide range of community engagement. Lions clubs members are also widely engaged as donors. In addition to vision care, members were most likely to make charitable donations to meet basic needs and for disaster preparedness and relief, as well as health and wellness.
Women are increasingly recognized as philanthropic leaders around the world; the new study is among the first to show that women are assuming leadership positions in voluntary service clubs and philanthropy internationally.
- Overall, more than half of Lions clubs members surveyed reported that women and men Lions club members participate equally in their club’s leadership
- The vast majority of Lions clubs members in 11 of the 12 countries surveyed (between 60 and 93 percent) said men and women were equally considered for leadership roles, and similar percentages said gender did not limit the ability to advance as Lions clubs leaders (The question was not asked in one country)
“Women now comprise 23 percent of membership worldwide,” said Wing-Kun Tam, International President of Lions Clubs International. “Over the past decade, the greatest area of membership growth in Lions Clubs International has been in female members. From 1996 to 2011, female membership increased substantially in all 12 countries surveyed, growing most in developing countries such as China, India, Mexico, and Nigeria.”
Two reports were produced from the study. Serving, Giving and Leading in the United States provides an in-depth look at philanthropic engagement of U.S. Lions clubs members, and Serving, Giving and Leading Globally explores cross-country comparisons. The executive summary of the studies is also available.
About Lions Clubs International
Lions Clubs International (LCI) is the world's largest service club organization with 1.35 million male and female members in more than 46,000 clubs in 207 countries and geographic areas. In addition to its efforts toward conquering blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service and helping youth throughout the world. LCI members also volunteer for many different kinds of community projects – including providing disaster relief, caring for the environment, feeding the hungry, empowering people with disabilities and aiding seniors. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) provides grant funding and program support for Lions’ humanitarian efforts. For more information, visit www.lionsclubs.org and www.lcif.org.
CCS, a leading global fundraising consulting and management firm, provides fundraising, development services and strategic consulting to non-profit organizations worldwide. With offices throughout North America and in London and Dublin, CCS designs successful and sustainable development initiatives for organizations across every non-profit sector. Founded in 1947, the firm is wholly owned by its ten partners and retains the largest and most experienced permanent staff in the industry. To learn more, visit www.ccsfundraising.com.
In 2007, CCS established the William B. Hanrahan Fellowship in recognition of William B. Hanrahan’s contributions to the field and CCS’s commitment to shaping future leadership within the fundraising profession. Today the fellowship pays tribute to the firm’s late president and CEO, and supports research undertaken by doctoral students in Philanthropic Studies at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
About the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, teaching, training and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. A part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses. For more information, visit www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.
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