Philanthropy in India: A Working Paper

Caroline Hartnell (Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace in association with Alliance, WINGS and the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University)

This working paper does not attempt to address the acknowledged lack of comprehensive and reliable data on philanthropy in India.

Rather it aims to throw light on the current state of Indian philanthropy through conversations with people who have been trying to promote, support or strengthen different areas of philanthropy. The writers asked them what currently exists in terms of their particular area of philanthropy and what role it is playing in relation to the state and the private sector; what is driving it and what is holding it back; and what potential role it could play.

The writers also asked for examples of stellar achievements. The areas covered include various forms of giving by the wealthy – what we have called ‘impact-focused philanthropy’, progressive philanthropy, corporate philanthropy and impact investing; social justice philanthropy, self-funded activist movements and community philanthropy; and giving by individuals of modest means. The writers’ aim is to provide an overview of philanthropy in India, particularly shining a light on new areas and innovation within philanthropy, and the implications of these for its future role. 

 

 

Building the Bench at Indian NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap

Pritha Venkatachalam and Danielle Berfond (The Bridgespan Group)

Believed to be the first data-driven study of NGO leadership in India, the Bridgespan Group identified systematic gaps between the sector’s leadership development aspirations, and the investments made by NGOs and the funders by surveying approximately 250 NGO leaders, and more than 50 interviews with funders, intermediaries, and NGO executives in India.

Click here to read the full publication.

The Business of Green

Society of Ecology & Entrepreneurs (SEE): Creating the conditions for environmental philanthropy to thrive

A community of like-minded business leaders joined forces to fight deforestation and drive forward China’s environmental movement.

“It started with planting trees,” said Zhang Li, the current secretary general of SEE Foundation. The original aim of the association was to mobilise the resources of China’s newly rich entrepreneurs to take on the problem of desertification in the Alashan Region.

But this would be merely the opening act of an organization that grew into a national network of nearly 600 entrepreneur members, including high-profile figures from the real estate, construction, manufacturing, and financial services sectors. SEE’s members would come to include some of China’s most successful and prolific corporate faces, including Wang Shi, chairman of Vanke, the world’s largest real estate developer; Feng Lun, chairman of real estate leader Vantone Holdings; Chen Dongsheng, chairman of Taikang Life Insurance; and Pan Shiyi, chairman of property company SOHO China. The work of the organization would expand to include support for national ecosystem conservation and nature education, green supply chains, pollution prevention, and development of China’s grassroots environmental NGOs.

Overview of Charity Sector in Singapore: 2007 – 2013 (Philanthropy in Asia: Working Paper No. 3)

Alfred Koh, Swee-Sum Lam, and Weina Zhang (Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, National University of Singapore)

Abstract: This is an exploratory study on the state of the charity sector in Singapore using the Commissioner of Charities Annual Reports from 2007 to 2013, available from the Charity Portal. The depth of analysis is much limited by the availability of inter-sectoral and intra-sectoral data as well as the length of time covered by each annual report.

While there are studies that use the same data, we attempt to rationalise the data trends and their implications for strategy making by would-be entrants, practitioners and policymakers.

We first present the broad trend in the net number and revenue growth of registered charities to understand the size of the sector and its financial health. Overall, the whole sector has been growing at a steady rate in terms of numbers and total amount of receipts which include grants, donations and others. Among the three components, grants, or the money given by the government, contributed the most to the total receipts. A more microscopic review shows that the percentages of others to total receipts are increasing.

We analyse the receipts per charity in each subsector at the level of the total receipts as well as its three components. It was observed that different subsectors have different mix of receipts with government grants dominating in the Education subsector, followed by the Arts and Heritage subsector and the Health subsector.

Taken together, this study could be of interest to aspiring entrants who wish to do good while staying afloat at the same time. For instance, the social and welfare subsector is able to generate a greater proportion of receipts from the sales of goods and services. This suggests that models employing social entrepreneurship may be appropriate in building sustainability in this sector.

Finally, subject to the data at hand, we explore the possible research questions raised in the literature that may be of relevance to practitioners and policymakers. We discuss topics such as the relation of donations and economic conditions, crowding-in or crowding-out effects of grants, the cost of donations, and fundraising strategies.

Given the trend of an ageing population, the Social and Welfare subsector may have a greater role to play in the future. Therefore, this warrants more in-depth research on these issues to bring innovation and sustainability in transforming society and community.

The State of Individual Philanthropy in Pakistan 2016

Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy

This pioneering research by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy sheds light on the patterns, trends, behaviors, and characteristics of individual giving in Pakistan.

Not only does this study provide insightful quantitative data, but it also touches on the interesting issue of zakat giving, as well as prescribing strategic recommendations for policymakers and relevant stakeholders to boost individual philanthropy in Pakistan.

Evolution and Revolution

Telapak: Seeking Natural Resource Justice for Communities

From investigative journalism to sustainable logging — and now advising the world’s largest companies on community engagement — Telapak has been unwavering in its mission for an environmentally conscious Indonesia.

Telapak began life as a group of young activists, conducting investigations on illegal
logging activities and raising awareness of the detrimental effects on the environment and local communities. Over the years, Telapak has shifted from investigating environmental and social injustice toward finding solutions. “History has shown us that investigation and criticizing the government alone is not enough,” said Zaini. “So we now have to become part of the solution.” This pivot has paid off for Telapak, which has since assisted the development of dozens of sustainable logging cooperatives, and it has implemented numerous development projects to help communities protect and benefit from their environmental resources.

Landwasher: Guardian of the Blue Earth

Leveraging business solutions for environmental impact in China

Recognizing the severity of the environmental challenges facing China, investor-turned-entrepreneur Hao Wu set up an environmental enterprise for waterless toilet solutions to directly address issues of water scarcity, sanitation and hygiene.

Under Wu’s leadership, Landwasher has become China’s top waterless toilet-solution provider, growing from a team of three to a RMB 60 million (around US$10 million) company employing some 160 people by 2013. Landwasher has so far installed more than 10,000 of its toilets across the country, posting average annual revenues of RMB 40 million (around US$7 million), making it China’s market leader in environmental toilets. The environmental value of its waterless toilets has been at the heart of Landwasher’s mission from its inception, which according to Wu, has helped to differentiate the product from the competition.

Frugal Innovation

BAIF Development Research Foundation: Transforming Lives in Rural India

Through 50 years of innovation in agricultural technology, BAIF Development Research Foundation (BAIF) has helped millions of Indian farmers to upgrade their animal husbandry practices, cultivate productive homestead orchards, and better manage natural resources.

From its early days, BAIF has focused on driving rural prosperity. Initially, it empowered farming communities to improve productivity of animal husbandry through technology and training — it had supported 5,892,045 families in this way by 2014. The organization went on to help 201,144 rural families roll out innovative homestead agri-horti-forestry, or “Wadi,”orchards, that combine techniques and resources to allow farmers to rear fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. BAIF has also applied its technical expertise to help farmers find better ways of managing their land, soil, and water resources. Over the years, it has expanded its focus to undertake health, women’s empowerment, and resilience programs in conjunction with its agrarian interventions to drive holistic development in rural communities.

Love for the Least, the Last, and the Lost

Caritas Manila: Shaping, Serving, and Empowering the Poor

For more than 60 years, the social services and development ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila has helped the less fortunate to find self-reliance and dignity. In doing so, it has cultivated its next generation of leaders and donors.

Caritas Manila works to benefit the disadvantaged of Manila in the areas of social development, family empowerment, social entrepreneurship and other special concerns. And though it operates as a distinct, non-profit entity that is separate from the Catholic Church with only 26 full-time employees, it is able to use its vast infrastructure to do much of its work; thousands of volunteers from the 365 Catholic parishes across the city work on the frontline to help programs and deliver services.

Fr. Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, describes it as “a non-governmental
organization that is faith-rooted and love driven,”whose goals are to help the least, the last, and the lost. “Because we are the church, we build a Christian community,” he said. “You get the best of both worlds: the best of church and the best of NGO.”

Online and Offline

Academy of Sharing: Using Social Media to Build a Social Movement

Users of Twitter and other social media platforms connect with each other to build an Indonesian foundation committed to sharing, learning, and bridging gaps between the classroom and the professional world. 

Academy of Sharing is a 21st century social movement that has spread to 23 Indonesian
cities. The brand translates in the Indonesian language to Akademi Berbagi. Fittingly, given how it began, the words were truncated in the social media universe to, simply, Akber.

Though some changes have been made to help Akber manage its growth and maintain quality, it is still driven by the same key principle – alternative access to free education by leading experts for whichever students want to learn in classes organized by volunteers, in the way Ainun Chomsun did when she, as Akber’s founder but also first volunteer, assembled the details for her first copywriting class.  Some 30,000 students have attended about 1,000 Akber classes, led by about 200 teachers assisted by about 200 volunteers.