The State of Giving project, established by the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Southern African Grantmakers’ Association (SAGA) and the National Development Agency (NDA), was initiated to generate information on and analyse the resource flows to poverty alleviation and development in South Africa. One component of the broader project was a focus on individual-level giving, which involved the design, implementation and analysis of a national sample survey on individual level giving behaviour. The sample, a random stratified one comprising 3000 respondents, is representative of all South Africans aged 18 and above. It thus speaks to both the urban and rural and the formal and informal dimensions of our social context. The survey collected data on who gives, why and how much they give, as well as what they give and the recipients of their giving.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Units of analysis in the survey were households and individuals
Version 1.1: Edited, anonymised data for public distribution
Version 1 of the dataset was deposited with DataFirst in November 2011. Version 1.1 has been labelled, and the final report, obtained from the Centre for Civil Society's website, has been included in the dataset. Variables from open-ended questions have not been labelled as there is no codebook available for this survey to confirm response codes.
The project partners commissioned Strategy & Tactics (S&T) to design, implement and analyse a national sample survey. The focus was on individual-level giving behaviour. This was complicated by the fact that ‘giving’ is often in the eye of the giver. The survey had to measure what is generally accepted as social giving, such as donating money or goods to the poor, or volunteering. But it also measured behaviours that focus group respondents thought of as ‘giving’ but which in fact involved economic exchange in return for a service.
The population of interest in the survey was all South Africans aged 18 and above.
Producers and sponsors
Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
Southern African Grantmakers’ Association (SAGA)
National Development Agency (NDA)
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
National Development Agency
A random stratified survey sample was drawn by Ross Jennings at S&T. The sample was stratified by race and province at the first level, and then by area (rural/urban/etc.) at the second level. The sample frame comprised 3000 respondents, yielding an error bar of 1.8%. The results are representative of all South Africans aged 18 and above, in all parts of the country, including formal and informal dwellings. Unlike many surveys, the project partners ensured that the rural component of the sample (commonly the most expensive for logistical reasons) was large and did not require heavy weighting (where a small number of respondents have to represent the views of a far larger community).
Randomness was built into the selection of starting points (from which fieldworkers begin their work) - every 5th dwelling was selected, after a randomly selected starting point had been identified - and into the selection of respondents, where the birthday rule was applied. That is, a household roster was completed, all those aged 18 and above were listed, and the householder whose birthday came next was identified as the respondent. Three call-backs were undertaken to interview the selected respondent; if s/he was unavailable, the household was substituted.
A second sample was drawn, specifically to boost the minority religious groups – namely Hindus, Jews and Muslims. They are separately analysed and reported as part of the broader project, since area sampling was used, disallowing us from incorporating them into the national survey dataset.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Strategy & Tactics (S&T)
A set of focus groups were staged across the country in order to inform questionnaire design. Groups were recruited across a range of criteria, including demographic and religious differences, in order to ensure a wide range of views were canvassed. Direct input from focus group participants informed a series of robust design sessions with all the project partners, from which a draft questionnaire was designed. The questionnaire was piloted in two provinces, involving urban and rural respondents and covering all four race groups. The pilot included testing specific questions, and the overall methodological approach, namely
our ability to quantify giving. After the pilot results had been assessed, the questionnaire was revised before going into field.
1. "0" values in some variables
Many of the variables have a "0" value in addition to the values for responses, e.g. variables with yes/no responses are coded "0" "1""2". There is no indication that the 0 represents "missing" (only Q75 specifies the use of "0" for none/nobody).
2. Variable Q9 (Question 9)
Q8 lists the number of resident children under the age of 18. Q9 refers to this question with: "of these children aged below 16 living in your household". This should probably be "aged below 18", in line with Q8 The data only reflects children under 16, so the question should probably have been "of these children, how many below the age of 16 are (Q9A) children of the head of the household and (Q9B) children not born to the head of household, i.e. children born to others. It seems though, that Q8 and Q9 should match, with Q8 identifying children and Q9 identifying children of the household head. If specifying 16 rather than 18 in Q9 is an error, then this has been reflected in the data. This means that household members 17-18 years are listed, but the data does not record whether they are children of the household head.
3. Variable Q21 (Question 21)
"What do you think is the most deserving cause that you support or would support if you could?" There are 14 values for Q21 (1-14).According to the report (Everatt, D. and G. Solanki. 2005. A Nation of givers: Social giving amongst South Africans) this and other open-ended questions were later categorised and given numeric codes. However, a codebook was not included with the documentation provided to DataFirst
4. Variable Q22 (Question 22)
"Is there one cause or charity or organisation you would definitely NOT give money to?" There are 14 values for Q22 (1-14). Again, this requires a code list for explanation.
5. Variable Q29 (Question 29)
Q28 deals with the giving of goods/food/clothes. Q29 provides a breakdown of these items, and Q28Q29L lists time/labour as one of these. It seems that Q29L is incorrectly listed as a sub-set of goods/food/clothes. Also, giving time to causes is dealt with extensively in Q30A-Q and Q31A-Q, so this variable seems out of place.
6. Variable Q39 (Question 36)
This concerns the giving of food, goods, or other forms of help to beggars/street children/people asking for help, but the question text does not specifically mention these forms of help, so can be misleading.
7. Variable Q44 (Question 44)
Q44 asks the respondent to complete the sentence "Help the poor because…." There are 8 values for this variable (0-7 and 11). Again, a code list is required to explain these values.
8. Variable Q59 (Question 59)
This question has three coded responses (1-3) so should have three values (or 4, with a "missing" value). There are 12 values for this variable, though (59A-59L). It is possible that this variable has been swopped with Q60 (However, Q60 only has 11 options in the questionnaire)
9. Variable Q60 (Question 60)
The variable from this question only has 4 values, but there are 11 possible responses to this question (60A-60K). This variable could have been swopped with Q59 (In which case, the extra value needs explanation, as Q59 only has 11 options in the questionnaire.
10. Variables Q67 - Q82
From this point on the order of variables seems wrong, as the responses don't match the number of values listed in the questionnaire. The variables seem to refer to the next question along, e.g. Variable Q67 seems to have data emanating from Question 68, and so on. The data in the revised dataset has been corrected to reflect this.
11. There is no variable Q83 in the dataset, although there is a question 83 in the questionnaire. This seems to support the above explanation. Data users are requested to provide any additional findings on this that come to light in their research.
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
World Bank Microdata Library
Public use files, accessible to all
Centre for Civil Society. South African Social Giving Survey 2003 [dataset]. Version 1.1. Durban: Centre for Civil Society, University of Kwazulu-Natal [producer], 2005. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2012.
Disclaimer and copyrights
Copyright, Centre for Civil Society
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 02 (August 2013). Edited version based on Version 01 DDI (ddi-zaf-datafirst-sasgs-2003-v1) that was done by DataFirst.