Why Swedes smashed charity donation record in 2015

Swedes boosted the coffers of charities last year to the tune of 19.4 billion kronor, a massive increase on the previous year.

Why Swedes smashed charity donation record in 2015
Newly arrived asylum seekers stand in line at Malmö's Hyllie staton in November 2015. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Donors gave almost 1.5 billion kronor ($176 million) more to charity in 2015 than the year before, the Swedish Fundraising Control said. 

The group attributes much of the rise to Swedes reacting with their wallets to last year’s unprecedented influx of refugees. 

The United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR saw donations rise 96 percent in a year in which Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers. 

Donations from private individuals accounted for a record 7.1 billion kronor of the total, one billion kronor more than in 2014. 

Businesses, other organisations, and government agencies also helped swell the balances of the country’s 420 so-called 90-accounts, special bank accounts used solely by charities. 

“It’s a fantastic development, that the public and other donors are displaying such trust in organisations with 90-accounts, and that donations are reaching new record levels,” said the fundraising watchdog’s controller Tommy Jonsson in a statement. 

Sweden’s ten biggest charities by donations, 2015 (billions of kronor, % increase on 2014) 

Save the Children, 1.387, +28%

Church of Sweden, 995, + 8%

Red Cross, 689, +33%

Unicef, 676, +1%

Doctors Without Borders, 648, + 9%

Swedish Cancer Society, 587,  1%

UNHCR, 518, 96%

Salvation Army, 482, 7%

Diakonia, 462 3%

Plan International, 429, +1%