India is a Favorite Destination for Global Corporate Giving


India topped the list of countries where most corporate giving went from international businesses in 2012, according to a recent report by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). Among 60 large multinational companies that gave a total of $6.8 billion, nearly 70 percent earmarked a share of   their corporate giving to India.

The study, authored by CECP’s Carmen Perez found that most large businesses chose to invest their  funds in geographical neighbors and emerging markets. The study  tracked giving according to three categories, namely direct cash, foundation cash and in-kind contributions.  Total giving per company ranged from $450,000 to about $1.5 billion. The median total giving was $29.25 million.

Below are key points from the study that show trends in global corporate giving :

  1. Global corporate giving remains unevenly distributed. Some companies elected to give large contributions to a select few countries while the others received much less.
  2. A company’s strategic business needs dictate corporate giving, especially among multinationals investing in emerging markets.
  3. Corporate interests govern giving and funds typically flow into neighboring countries or to emerging markets.
  4. Emerging markets namely India, Brazil, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico received larger charitable contributions in 2012, driven largely by robust economic growth.
  5. Businesses gave less in countries like Turkey and Venezuela citing instability and political turmoil.

Philanthropy’s global footprint creates new opportunities


An American concept is growing rapidly in different parts of the world, innovating itself and finding new meaning in new markets. The art and science of philanthropy is now growing faster in regions outside the United States.  According to Penelope Cagney, international fundraising consultant and president of  The Cagney Company, a few trends that are shaping global philanthropy include:

  1. An affluent middle class in emerging markets is now greatly involved in philanthropic giving.  According to monthly giving data tracked by the Big Mac Philanthropy Index, the top three countries engaged in giving the most were Singapore, Hong Kong and India. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 2012 now ranks Australia as the #1 country in giving, including both monetary gifts and volunteer hours.
  2. The surge in philanthropy in foreign markets is creating a new wave of innovation in method and practice.  A newly published book on Indian philanthropy “Revealing Indian Philanthropy,”  describes how the new Indian rich are taking sophisticated approaches to giving. Planned giving is hot in Japan, Chile raises more than 10% of it’s donations through door to door giving and direct mail is doing well in Australia. Microfinance and telefacing(telephone call and face to face meeting) are widely used in India, while social impact bonds in the UK and fair trade networks in Africa are enriching philanthropic practice in foreign markets.
  3. Alongside, huge NGOs are growing in emerging markets and some like the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) are more creative than counterparts in Western societies.

As the world adapts to more advanced fundraising  here are a few things to watch for:

  1. India’s Companies Bill of 2011 expected to be passed later this year will make India the first country  in the world to introduce a 2% Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. A major proposal seeks to have businesses spend 2 percent of their net profits in CSR initiatives. This will have a profound impact on corporate giving and will also affect the bottom line of multinational companies doing business in India.
  2. More and more emerging markets are now collecting data on philanthropy.
  3. A formal culture of philanthropy is yet to evolve, but giving is taking different forms and shapes in outside countries. These innovations could enrich the practice of philanthropy.
  4. Tactics like the “Giving Pledge” might work in Western markets, but in emerging markets, the super rich may not easily part with their wealth. They will seek newer ways of parting with their wealth.

As newer markets expand their philanthropic initiatives, thought leaders like Cagney have provided their perspectives in books like Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Fundraising. Overall, there is no better time for philanthropy to emerge as an important topic of discussion in international markets.