What is a culture of donation and why is it gaining strength in Brazil

Do you know what the donation culture is? This article explains how it differs from welfare and why this idea has been gaining strength in Brazil.

Brazilians are starting to see the habit of donating in a more positive way (and are breaking the taboo of talking about it)

Covid-19 has worsened food insecurity in Brazil. In 2021, 9% of Brazilians were going hungry — and this situation has increased by 19% since 2020 in households where one of the residents lost their job or went into debt because of the pandemic, according to the research “Food Insecurity and Covid-19 in Brazil“, carried out by the PENSSAN Network (Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security).

This framework sensitizes Brazilians to the problem and mobilizes many people and companies to make donations. “This is an extremely necessary solution right now, because people are going hungry right now”, explains Láislla de Gouveia, coordinator of socio-environmental projects at iFood (which since January 2020 has had a in-app donation platform).

A crisis like the one caused by the pandemic can also serve as an opportunity to review values and encourage a culture of donation, which is different from welfare, explains Joana Mortari, director of Wake Up Association and articulator of the Movement for a Culture of Giving. “Brazil comes from a welfare culture in which a person, instead of power, delivers something with the intention of keeping the other, more vulnerable, in that place of gratitude. And, as a result, it can create a culture of dependence.”

The donation culture, on the other hand, would be more horizontal. “In times of crisis like this, we connect with others. The culture of donation is one in which people understand that donating makes sense for them as citizens”, he adds. “Donating food, for example, is not help. It is necessary care now, and there are people who understand that they can contribute to eliminating this need for others.”

In times of crisis, charitable donations end up gaining more visibility. But, within the donation culture, they coexist with the most strategic actions to combat the structural cause of the problem. At the combat to hunger, for example, it would also be necessary to combat waste, as in Everyone at the Table. “It is an action that supports the structuring of a large humanitarian food redistribution network. This can still be improved a lot in Brazil”, says Láislla.

Less money, more solidarity

In recent years, social and economic crises have caused the number of donors in Brazil to fall. In 2020, 66% of Brazilians had made some type of donation, compared to 77% in 2015, according to Donation Survey Brazil 2020. This drop happened because poorer people stopped donating, while richer people started donating more than in 2015.

Even so, the culture of donation has been strengthening, according to the research. More than 80% of Brazilians think that the act of donating makes a difference, and the percentage of people who believe that donating is good for the donor increased from 81% to 91% between 2015 and 2020. And nothing to keep secret: agreement with the idea that donors should not reveal what they do fell from 84% to 69% in this period.

“People’s perceptions have been changing. More people today recognize that donating is positive. This movement of recognizing ourselves as donating citizens is important because, in our culture, saying that we donate is not welcomed”, says Joana. “The culture of donation brings awareness that we are part of a process of building the country. People donate because they understand themselves as an important part of this development. For Brazil to be what it has the potential to be, we need a society that is not only supportive, but also giving.”

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