Philanthropy’s Response to COVID-19 in the Western Balkans | Giving Balkans

Philanthropy’s Response to COVID-19 in the Western Balkans

The fight is still on.

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Explore the region’s resilience during the fight against the pandemic

Coronavirus has reached almost every corner of the world from its outbreak in late 2019 until today. Millions of lost lives and lost jobs all happening amid a complete change of the world as we knew it - before masks, gloves and lockdowns on a global scale. But physically distanced as we may be, our communities came closer and jointly responded to the effects of COVID-19. 

 This overview of the region's resilience and solidarity relates to the ongoing pandemic from a different angle. We have reached out to people who displayed how communities fight back against the consequences of the coronavirus and make genuine efforts to do good in a time of urgency. We want to share their stories. 

 But that is not all. Every individual act of selflessness contributed to a bigger picture. We have been gathering data on all covid-related donations in the countries of the Western Balkans throughout the pandemic. Now, we would like to present the results we have discovered. 

Who are the champions of the community?

The crisis we are all still enduring caused a resolute philanthropic response from the communities themselves. The assistance came in various forms and from many places. From individuals, local nonprofits and small businesses; from sewing masks to a charity ball to help families who have lost members; from providing mental support and free theater performances to free meals and cab rides for medical workers who are still on the front lines of this fight. 

We believe kindness and inventiveness should not stay hidden. 

This is why we reached out to people from all over the region who have been pioneers of solidarity during the toughest of times. In 60 seconds, they lay out how their ideas for providing relief during the pandemic became a success and what inspired each of them to action. We hope their examples can motivate a new wave of giving.

What is the bigger picture?

€ 143,661,010

Estimated amount

€ 71,882,674

Recorded amount

€ 6.7

Donated amount per capita


Number of instances

These are not lone examples, however. The data we have gathered since the beginning of March 2020 shows that society has mobilized on a great scale to contribute to the common good. We have recorded more than € 71.8 million raised in the region for mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The estimated total amount is over € 143.6 million. The business sector has shown particular agility, with just small and medium enterprises initiating a fifth of all instances of giving. Ordinary citizens have not lagged behind, launching more than 16% of all the instances of COVID-related philanthropy. 

Read our full report Philanthropy in Times of Crisis: Response to Covid-19 in the Western Balkans Region to find out more detailed data and our full methodology.
Or take a peek at our infographics that explain how the trends of giving changed, who are the recipients and donors, what amounts were donated and how it affected the boost of giving on a regional scale. 
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What is next?

The short answer is – we cannot know with certainty. The response to the pandemic by citizens, companies and organizations throughout the region has provided much-needed support to the most vulnerable in our society. But, whatever may come next, we are in an ongoing fight.

That is why we share these stories and insights. Not only to motivate but to provide knowledge that will keep us all fighting. We want to strengthen the trust in domestic philanthropy and make sure our communities are resilient enough to withstand any future crisis. 

More than anything, we wish to thank all those who keep doing good. 

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The research on Philanthropy’s Response to COVID-19 in the Western Balkans was supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the USAID. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., USAID or the U.S. Government.