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Austria's 'Record Generosity': A Surge in Charitable Donations Amid Ukraine Crisis

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Nitish Verma
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Austria's 'Record Generosity': A Surge in Charitable Donations Amid Ukraine Crisis

2022 emerged as a record-breaking year for charitable donations in Austria, with a staggering total of 1.1 billion euros contributed, far surpassing previous expectations. The average donation per citizen reached 122 euros and an impressive participation rate of 71 percent, revealing a majority of Austrians actively engaged in philanthropy.

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'Record Generosity' Amid War Crisis

Answering the call of humanitarian needs triggered by the war in Ukraine, Austrians donated between 150 to 200 million euros to Ukrainian aid, contributing to the largest surge in donations ever witnessed. The Fundraising Association Austria, which acts as the umbrella organization for donation groups, aptly described the phenomenon as 'record generosity'. While major organizations involved in Ukrainian aid saw a significant rise in donations, smaller non-profits marked a slight decline in their 2022 collections.

Breakdown of Contributions

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Private individuals donated a substantial 920 million euros, constituting 84 percent of the total donations. Inheritances accounted for 120 million euros, and both companies and charitable foundations contributed eight percent each. Strikingly, 96 percent of all donations were under 600 euros, with larger donations of over 1000 euros making up only two percent of the overall total.

Challenges and Expectations for 2023

Despite the previous year's generous donations, the impact of inflation is projected to cause a decrease in donations in 2023, particularly one-time contributions made during the acute phase of the crisis in Ukraine. Non-profit organizations grapple with the twin challenges of rising costs and potentially stagnating or decreasing donations, while still addressing ongoing crises such as in Ukraine and Gaza. In spite of this, there have been significant large donations, including 12 million euros to the Salzburg Festival, 4.5 million to the alpha+ Foundation of the Science Fund FWF, and 1.6 million to the University of Graz.

Looking Forward: Predictions and Policies

The Fundraising Association predicts a nine percent decrease in donations for 2023, with a projected total of one billion euros. The success of this projection heavily depends on the Christmas season, which typically accounts for up to 30 percent of annual donations. A new law coming into effect in 2024 aims to boost donations by allowing tax deductions for contributions to all charitable associations, potentially mobilizing at least an additional 30 million euros per year for non-profit projects.

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