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Individual giving in India, Russia, The Arab Region and Brazil - A working paper

INTRODUCTION 

In the last year and a half Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace (PSJP) has published four studies on philanthropy – in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil. These studies have taken a broad view of philanthropy, encompassing everything from individual giving (by the very wealthy and by people of more modest means, including crowdfunding) to giving by private and corporate foundations, CSR, community philanthropy, social justice philanthropy, self-funded movements and impact investing.

We are now taking this to the next level, looking at some of these areas in more depth and building on these studies in a thematic way. One area we are looking at is individual giving by ordinary people. Seen as an area of great promise in India and Russia, it is at an earlier stage in Brazil. In the Arab region giving to the social sector is barely making headway, though traditional giving is very much alive.

This paper draws on two sources. As a first step, we brought together the different accounts of individual giving in these different places. We shared the resulting paper with people from each country/region, mostly people who had contributed to the original studies, and invited them to take part in a webinar to discuss the findings. On 30 April 2019 we held two webinars, during which we asked participants three questions:

  • How significant is the development of giving by ordinary individuals in your country? Could you expand on what’s in this paper, thus extending and deepening our picture of individual giving?
  • How important is technology in this development?
  • What kinds of things would enhance individual giving in your context? This paper brings together the findings of the original studies and the responses from the webinars.

Headline points include:

  • In both India and Russia the rise of middle-class giving is widely seen as the most significant trend in philanthropy.
  • In the present circumstances in Brazil, the future of the civil society sector lies with individual giving. NGOs can’t depend on government, major corporations mostly develop their own projects, and international funding is likely to turn away from Brazil if it joins the OECD.
  • In Russia advocacy may be gaining public support through the back door as a result of the success of the ‘fundraising foundations’.
  • Successful crowdfunding campaigns by young activists in Lebanon in 2013/14 and by Russian human rights NGO OVD-info in 2016 and 2017 Individual giving in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil | July 2019 3 demonstrate the potential to raise money from individuals for rightsbased causes.
  • The most significant thing about crowdfunding and #diadedoar in Brazil is not the amounts raised but the gradual change in attitude they are bringing about and the growing perception that you can raise money for social causes from individuals.
  • Technology is seen as playing an increasing role in individual giving in India, Russia and Brazil, especially among the younger generation, with smartphones and mobile apps playing a key role.
  • Observers in India, Brazil and Russia see no significant external obstacles to the development of individual giving. It’s more a matter of finding some glue to bring the pieces together or taking advantage of the opportunities – or just a matter of time.
  • Nevertheless, there are things that would enhance giving in all three countries: building trust in NGOs and greater understanding of what they do; NGOs communicating better with the public; and capacity building for NGOs, particularly in fundraising skills.

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Rede de Filantropia para Justiça Social
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