Business for Good

Maximizing the Value of Social Enterprises in Asia

Asia is home to one-third of the world’s wealth and also to two-thirds of the world’s poor. The confluence of unprecedented wealth and unmet needs gives it both the mandate for and ability to leverage the power of social enterprises.

Our action-oriented study explores how. We identify gaps and quantify needs in funding, mentorship, talent and government support. But we also highlight how enablers—including incubators, accelerators, universities—can continue to support social enterprises. We suggest ways for social entrepreneurs and investors to align expectations in the hope of increasing deal flow and investment into the sector. And we outline how governments can strategize to better support social enterprise ecosystem.

We do this by not only drawing upon a global literature review, but listening to what Asian social enterprises themselves say. We surveyed 584 social enterprises from 6 economies: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Pakistan and Thailand, and profiled China and India. We also interviewed 140 social enterprise founders, incubators, accelerators, investors and government officials in depth. This original data not only informs our insights, it forms a unique repository of evidence in this space. Our data makes it easier to see Asia’s social enterprises as they really are.

As many families and companies are thinking about or starting to invest in social business as well as in incubators and ecosystem organizations, our findings are particularly timely and relevant. The 6 economies we gathered data from have more than 1.2 million social enterprises, and attract at least US$100 million of direct and indirect government spending per year. These economies are understudied, have growing social enterprise sectors with enormous potential, and—most importantly—are diverse enough for our insights to be generalizable to other regions in Asia.




我们的研究证实,奖学金对其获奖者、其社区和国家产生重要的回报。CAPS的研究者发现,一份奖学金平均能改善26人的生活。 获得奖学金的学生不仅能为自己和家人创造更美好的將来,同时也能透过发挥自身领导才能、参与义务工作、或透过公民参与等方式帮助他人、回馈社会。


A New Look at Second Chances

Institutional Care for Children in India

The data tells us that there are fewer children in India who would be classified as “vulnerable” under the 2015 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (JJ Act). The enshrinement of child rights into law shows that the protection of children has been formally recognized as a critical issue by the government of India. Specifically, the act contains provisions for children in need of care and protection, including the homeless and those residing with unfit or incapacitated parents or guardians. In short, the JJ Act holds the promise of a safe home for all children.

But these developments say little about the experience of the most vulnerable children once they have been taken under the care of institutions, nor their transition out of care into young adulthood. The nuances of this journey can only be appreciated at the individual level, as the Centre of Asian Philanthropy and Society found when we spent 10 weeks visiting orphanages and  children’s homes in the states of Goa and Indore to observe the work of organizations focused on providing shelter for children with no other resort. Between June and August 2017, we collected the stories of children in institutional care in rural and urban Mumbai, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh to provide a glimpse into their lives.

We found that even when at-risk children have been removed from immediate harm, the impact of their traumatic experiences persists. Mental health is not prioritized in most types of institutions these children are taken to. With staff stretched to capacity, children do not always receive the specialized care they need to mitigate the lifelong health risks of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). While resource-strapped institutions are hard-pressed to provide this sort of specialized care, our time in the field showed that an emphasis on providing emotional support and efforts to create a family-like environment for children can reap gains for their well-being.

India’s CSR reporting survey 2018

KPMG India

Foreword: The combination of a forward-thinking corporate sector and the propulsion generated by Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Act), companies in India are at the forefront of deploying financial and technical expertise to improve the lives of millions throughout the country.

Now, with the fourth edition of the India Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report titled, “India’s CSR reporting survey 2018,” KPMG in India has once again provided crucial and detailed evidence that the visionary strategy of India’s Companies Act is gaining extraordinary traction and creating meaningful impact.

In the four short years since the implementation of this groundbreaking legislation, Indian companies have moved swiftly up the learning curve. This report shows that compliance has become near universal with 99 percent of the N100 companies putting their CSR policy up in action from 55 percent during 2014-15, an increase of over 73 percent.

While these reporting statistics are impressive, the real story lies in the governance, programmatic, and financial commitments made. More than 90 percent of companies have standalone CSR committees, elevating the prominence of these efforts to the highest rungs of the company. Independent directors are serving on these committees, and 64 percent include at least one woman.

Education and health continue to receive great attention with 65 percent of the projects and 61 percent of the expenditure. As expertise evolves, there is clear evidence of companies making more strategic and impactful CSR decisions increasingly aligned with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

The report shows that during this past year, companies have spent INR7536.3 crore which is 47 percent higher as compared to 2014-15, a highly laudatory increase.

KPMG’s important contribution through this report does more than inform that CSR activities in India are going from strength to strength, it showcases for the rest of the world the potential and reality of the constructive role companies can play in addressing our shared societal challenges. With India’s example and the realization of the need for partnerships and hybrid solutions, governments and companies throughout Asia and indeed globally are looking to emulate India’s leadership.

Ruth A. Shapiro, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Executive
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society

Giving Back to the Future

Scholarships for Higher Education

Our study finds that scholarships for higher education are highly impactful, at the individual, community, and country levels.

For an individual, receiving a scholarship makes attending university possible. It means greater earning power, greater confidence and motivation, and a greater desire to influence other lives through leadership.

At the community level, we observe that most scholarship recipients want to give back and do so by volunteering. They want to change society for the better by pursuing careers in education, the government, and the social sector.

The aggregate effect for the country is human capital development, which drives economic growth. Scholarships also help offset increasing tuition costs across Asia and mitigate income inequality by making it possible for low-income students to attend university.

A single scholarship enhances 26 lives on average, including the scholar, her family, the students she mentors and leads, and the community members she volunteers for.

We also present a toolkit for enhancing the effectiveness of scholarship programs. The toolkit showcases both the “why” and “how” of setting clear goals, improving communication and engagement with scholars, and enhancing their employability and career success. These strategies can magnify the impact of scholarships for students, donors, and governments.

Advocacy, Rights, & Civil Society : The Opportunity for Indian Philanthropy

Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University

In 2010, India’s Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act came into effect, requiring nonprofit organizations to report all receipts of foreign funds to the central government within 30 days of receipt. On top of this basic reporting, Indian nonprofits now must file descriptive annual reports that explain the amount, source, use, and intended purpose of the foreign funding received.

In the Advocacy, Rights and Civil Society report, Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) reviews the implications of this new regulation on the nonprofit sector in India. It also examines and discusses significant areas of opportunities for Indian philanthropists to play a more proactive enabling role in the context of this changing landscape of funding for charities.

As much as the report focuses on India, it may serve a useful purpose for those interested in other Asian economies that have also implemented—or are considering the possibility of doing so—some form of restrictions on the receipt of foreign funding. The Doing Good Index 2018 found that this was the case for not only India, but also Pakistan, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. As the issue of regulating foreign philanthropic funds becomes a topic of interest across Asia, the report serves as valuable insight.

To view more of CSIP’s research, click here.

Study on Leadership Transition in the Philippine NGO Sector

Association of Foundations

Excerpts from the Executive Summary: In the last couple of years, many of the current non-government organization (NGO) Executive Directors (or their equivalent) started to echo their predecessors’ sentiments about the lack of next-generation leaders who can take the reins when they leave. Despite its importance to the sustainability of the organizations, leadership transition has not been given sufficient attention because it competes with other more pressing needs of the organizations. The absence of analysis in this area and the desire to draw up an evidence-based support package in response led the Association of Foundations, with funding support from Peace and Equity Foundation, to conduct a study and help better understand the situation.

Knowing what we know now through the study, business as usual does not seem to be an option if the NGOs want to be strategic and proactive in dealing with leadership transition challenges. Efforts to mitigate the risks of such leadership transitions and to maximize the opportunities they bring must be initiated now.

A Generation Ahead

Dasra and Synergos

Abstract: Next-Generation Philanthropists (NGPs) are poised to inherit the legacy of their families’ philanthropy and respond to the needs of modern society. It is critical to recognize the huge influence they will have over how impact is driven in the development sector. This in turn speaks to the greater responsibility NGPs have to make social investments thoughtfully and intentionally.

India will witness one of the largest transfers of wealth, close to INR 12,800 crore, in the coming decade. In addition, during the first half of this century, there is likely to be 8-10 times more wealth transferred to philanthropy than in the entire 20th century. The majority of this wealth will be managed by family offices, and a portion will be diverted towards charitable and philanthropic activities through family trusts and foundations. In recognizing NGPs as the future of philanthropy, “A Generation Ahead” uncovers insights to help accelerate NGPs’ donor journeys by drawing upon the existing corpus of information that has been collected on NGPs in India and globally. Our literature review is supported by 20 interviews Dasra conducted with next-gen donors and those who work closely with them.

Through “A Generation Ahead,” Dasra hopes to help NGPs, especially those starting out on their philanthropic journeys, become more strategic donors. It also wants to encourage and inform conversations among multiple generations involved in philanthropy, and advance the practice of strategic philanthropy.

Catalyzing Productive Livelihood

Asia Philanthropy Circle

Excerpts from the Foreword: Education in Indonesia is a large, complex, and diverse system. It is the fourth largest education system in the world, behind only China, India, and the United States, and has more than 50 million students, 2.6 million teachers, and 250,000 schools spread across an archipelago of more than 900 inhabited islands. Teaching all these people, young and old, the skills needed to succeed in Indonesia’s rapidly changing economy is a huge challenge. It is only natural that education is a priority for the Government of Indonesia.

The philanthropic sector engaged in strengthening Indonesia’s education system is extremely broad and includes multilateral institutions (such as USAID and the World Bank), social enterprises (such as Sokola), foundations (such as Tanoto Foundation and Djarum Foundation), education technology developers (such as Ruangguru), and corporate social responsibility programs.

While their engagement is welcome, philanthropists have raised concerns that these individual efforts alone may not be enough to create meaningful change in an education system as vast as Indonesia’s system. More can be achieved if key stakeholders coordinated their actions more closely and shared their experiences more often.

With this in mind, Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) has developed this report. Its goal is to understand the current and future challenges facing Indonesia’s education system, to map existing initiatives and their impact, and to identify new opportunities for philanthropists to make a change for the better and to enhance their collaboration.

To read the report in summary or to download the report in Bahasa Indonesia, click here.

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.