Informal giving in India barely benefitting formal social sector, study finds


Alliance magazine


Indians gave $5.1 billion to charity in 2017 according to a report just published by Indian non-profit research organisation, Sattva.

Only six per cent of this sum, according to Everyday Giving in India, went to social purpose organisations (SPOs). The biggest share, $3.4 billion, went directly to other individuals in need, followed by giving to religious and spiritual causes, at $1.3 billion.

The principal reasons for reluctance to donate to SPOs, says the report, are the absence first of reliable means of finding suitable SPOs (compare to the finding of another recent report on India by CAF which found that 32 per cent of those surveyed would be more likely to give if there were more transparency in the non-profit/charity sector) and, second, of convenient ways to give to them.

The bulk of this giving (90 per cent) also occurred through what the report calls informal sources – giving, largely in cash, that cannot be traced to individual givers. Interestingly, of the 10 per cent of individual giving which comes through formal means, $440 million out of $496 million goes to SPOs. In order to increase what it calls everyday giving, the report outlines a number of steps, among them: creating more ways for convenient giving, increasing citizen engagement with social causes, mobilising existing religious giving so that a greater share goes to social causes and strengthening the capacity of SPOs to engage with, and raise funds from, the public.

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