Giving in Scandinavia

  • Johan VamstadEmail author
  • Karl Henrik Sivesind
  • Thomas P. Boje
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


This chapter explores the topic of giving to civil society organizations in Scandinavia. Giving is a type of contribution to civil society that differs markedly from other civil society activities, for example, volunteering. Scandinavians have an ambiguous relationship to giving as it is both a commendable civil act like volunteering, but unlike volunteering, also a reminder of unwanted economic inequality. This ambiguity, however, does not prevent Scandinavians from giving; people in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are among the most frequent donors in the world. Results presented in this chapter show that giving is mainly directed to causes like international aid, medical research and – perhaps more surprisingly for these largely secular welfare states – religious and social institutions. Comparisons between the three countries show some similarities in size and frequency of donations as well as attitudes towards giving. They also reveal some interesting differences in the effect that variables like income and gender have on giving and in the relation between giving and other types of civil society activities between the Scandinavian countries. The similarities and differences are explained using social origins theory.


Giving Philanthropy Charity Social origins Volunteering 



The statistics in tables and figures are in large part compiled and presented by Bjarte Folkestad.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan Vamstad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karl Henrik Sivesind
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas P. Boje
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute for Civil Society ResearchErsta Sköndal Bräcke University CollegeStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Institute for Social Research (ISF)OsloNorway
  3. 3.Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary SectorOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Social Science and Business (ISE)Roskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

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