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Big Mac® Philanthropy Index to Launch at the 2013 AFP International Conference on Fundraising

The Management Centre (=mc), along with data collected from almost 40 of their colleagues internationally, volunteers from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents, UNICEF, and YOU (yes, you!), have created the Big Mac® Philanthropy Index. This index will focus on a number of standard measurements of giving and demonstrate how many Big Macs it takes to get there.

This super-sized idea is set to launch in San Diego on April 8, smack-dab in the middle of AFP’s International Conference on Fundraising! 

The Big Mac® Philanthropy Index is derived from a decade-old index that The Economist has been publishing every year. The concept of the original Big Mac® Index is to show that by comparing wages and prices to the price of a Big Mac, the Index lets you more easily compare the relative price of a car, how many hours an eye surgeon has to work to buy a round of golf, or how many hours anyone has to work to be able to earn enough to buy a Big Mac. In fact, The Management Centre says that international organizations will even turn to the original Big Mac® Index to calculate the per diem for employees traveling to foreign countries.

Though there are already two international philanthropy comparisons—CAF’s The World Giving Index, and Johns Hopkins University’s Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project—The Management Centre thought a more universal comparison to measure philanthropy in different countries, given their different economies, cultures and attitudes to charitable giving, would be simpler. 

How Many Big Macs Does It Take? 

The Management Centre set out to measure the Big Mac against three standard measurements of giving:

  • The average monthly gift of a regular donor to a ‘major’ charity (Example: a national cancer agency, the Red Cross/Crescent or UNICEF)
  • The price point at which a supporter become a major donor among national ‘top ten’ charities
  • The size of the largest capital campaign conducted in the last three years

Contributions to the Big Mac® Philanthropy Index have come from far and wide. Having invited fundraisers around the world to contribute the relevant figures for their country, The Management Centre has collected data from nearly 50 nations, as well as from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents and UNICEF.

The collection of data continues all the way up until the launch date of April 8! Still seeking data from smaller countries, The Management Centre encourages you to spread the word and even fill out the data for yourself through the Index Wiki. As a bonus, contributors to the Index Wiki will be told the results and will receive a full copy of the Index when published!

Launching at the AFP International Conference in Fundraising

On Monday, April 8 at 12:30 p.m. Pacific, Bernard Ross, a director of The Management Centre, will unveil a banner that highlights the findings from the Big Mac® Philanthropy Index. The banner will encompass an average of the three standard measurements of giving with a list of the top ten or twenty nations. Organized by “Big Mac Philanthropicness,” ( i.e., how many Big Macs equal a nation’s philanthropic efforts) Ross will also debut an infographic to show the results.

“We could have launched the Index a lot of places, but we’re launching at the International conference in San Diego partly as a gift back to AFP,” says Ross. “AFP put its money behind a genuinely globally-created book, and this is a sort of a ‘thanks’ for your support. It is fantastic that AFP had the vision and international ambition to support the first every-global philanthropic book.”

The book is Ross’s collaboration with Penelope Cagney, Global Fundraising: How The World is Changing the Rules of Philanthropy (The AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series), which was   released on March 25. Their book outlines seven global mega-trends that explain the shift in philanthropy felt around the world.

Another collaboration with Cagney will be their education session during the AFP conference, What in the World?! The Latest and Greatest in Fundraising from Around the World, on Tuesday, April 9 from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. Not only will Ross and Cagney be discussing what the seven mega-trends are (and what they MEAN), but they’ll be highlighting findings from the Index! 

Ross will also be conducting a solo education session on Monday, April 8 from 2:45 – 4:00 p.m. called Good to Great, a session that will challenge you to identify how you might transform the fundraising performance of your organization.

As for the launch of the Index, Ross says that he’s pleased he has done it, and that there’s no doubt that the findings are interesting. Join us at the AFP International Conference on Fundraising on Monday, April 8 for the big (Mac) unveiling! 



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