We define philanthropy as the giving of resources in an engaged and strategic way for maximum impact and in a tax efficient manner. It can include the giving of money, assets, time, talent, voice and one’s social capital. We believe in the power of philanthropy as a great social connector and the source of many great opportunities.

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Diaspora donors are changing the giving landscape, new report finds

Sep 30th 2014
Donors from the Indian subcontinent and the Asia-Pacific region are changing UK giving. Photo: Creative Commons
Donors from the Indian subcontinent and the Asia-Pacific region are changing UK giving. Photo: Creative Commons

British donors with origins outside of the UK are having a major impact on giving, preferring to donate to local charities in developing countries rather than western charities, and are leading the way in social investment, a new report finds.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) survey reveals that those with origins in the Indian subcontinent and the Asia Pacific region share an empathy for the widening gap between rich and poor. They are aware of the challenges this gap brings, says the report, having witnessed it first hand in the developing countries in which they have roots.

For British-born Pakistani philanthropist Atif Khan, the South Asian British community are more likely to give to causes close to home because of their direct experiences. “Many from the Pakistani community have been raised in modest or impoverished backgrounds. As a result, they are more likely to volunteer for Pakistani causes, where there is a corresponding experience and the individual knows that the needs are genuine and acute,” he said.

Commenting on Khan’s statement, Ben Eyre, global philanthropy advisor at CAF, said: “If you know the situation on the ground – because you've lived in the country, travelled extensively there, or you’re getting reports from the frontline through family and friends, then it makes sense that you want to support an organisation that responds directly to that situation rather than an intermediary providing grants in the area.”

“For example, there may be an international non-governmental organisation (INGO) which says they deliver X in a region of Bangladesh. They have an office in Dhaka that provides sub-grants and contracts to smaller NGOs that are hundreds of miles away (say, Chittagong). If a donor is plugged into the community in Chittagong then they probably wouldn’t think that the INGO is particularly responsive and will instead give to local organisations instead", he continued.

CAF surveyed 1,000 high net worth donors, comparing 250 who identified as having roots in the Indian subcontinent or Asia Pacific with 750 who identified more strongly with a British heritage.

According to CAF, ‘diaspora donors’ are more likely than those who identify as British to volunteer, fundraise and use social investment models to ensure they are making the most of their resources. Social investment alone makes up 11% of philanthropic activity of those surveyed from the Indian subcontinent, as opposed to 6% for those from Asia Pacific, and 4.6% for those identifying with a British heritage.

In fact, groups from the Indian subcontinent and Asia Pacific indicate more than a third of their investment wealth has a social motivation, according to the report.

While Khan does not invest solely in social investment strategies, he does invest ethically 100% of the time. “I’ll consciously not invest in things I have an ethical objection to. For example, i don’t invest in tobacco, gambling, alcohol or armaments, precisely because they go against the grain of my beliefs”, he said.

To read the report in full please click here.

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