Philanthropy in need of improving data and collaboration beyond sector, the Future of Philanthropy report warns 


Shafi Musaddique


A new comprehensive report released suggests a need for more, and more useful, data in philanthropy and the need for philanthropists to collaborate not just with each other, but also across sectors. 

The Future of Philanthropy report, commissioned by Badr Jafar, gives a snapshot of the current conditions and key trends globally. 

Individual giving is much greater than giving by foundations or corporations. Giving is on the rise globally, both institutionally and individually.  

However, deeper questions remain unanswered, the report warns. 

Philanthropy remains skewed in terms of distribution and assets. Out of a list of 100 of the richest foundations, all but two are in either North America or Europe (the exceptions are Foundation North in New Zealand and the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation in Saudi Arabia). 

And though the amount of philanthropy and the number of institutions practicing it are increasing, questions remain about the destination of philanthropic capital. 

Approximately $9.9 billion went to upper middle-income countries over the period 2016–19. Lower middle-income countries received $9.1 billion (38 per cent), while only $3 billion (13 per cent) went to low-income countries. 

The report also suggests a long-lasting impact of the Covid pandemic on philanthropy, including a spike in giving from all types of donors, accelerating the way technology is used to raise resources and pushing grantmakers to streamline processes to make funds quickly available for pandemic interventions.  

However, the authors of the report warn that it has also put many existing initiatives on hold.  

The report focuses largely on the results of a series of expert workshops around the world and looks into the state of philanthropy in different parts of the world, with particular focus on South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 

Both Indonesia and China saw an upturn in giving, both in response to the pandemic and the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. The tightening of registration and reporting requirements for foreign NGOs in China, that followed the charity law in 2016, had the effect of putting pressure on the whole sector to strengthen capabilities and to increase transparency. 

Fara Sofa, programme officer of the Ford Foundation office in Jakarta, warns of a widening inequality gap that “is quite startling … and is getting wider and wider”.  

“We have more and more socially excluded people, especially through the pandemic … Indigenous people and local people are getting less and less access to natural resources and they are the ones who are bearing the consequences of large-scale environmental degradation,” she told the report authors.  

In China, critical issues locally “are being lost to the global challenges of, say, climate change or whatever overriding issue is involved,” says Rainer Heufers, executive Director of the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies. 

Inequality is also a growing issue in Africa, though East Africa is seeing a rise in social investments, with foundations playing a significant part. 

Shafi Musaddique is a news editor at Alliance magazine. 

Alliance, alongside Crescent Enterprises, will be running a webinar at 14:00 on Friday 8 September. 


Comments (0)


Despite a global increase in individual and institutional giving, significant bad time simulator inequalities persist in the distribution of philanthropic funds, with low-income countries receiving a disproportionately small share.

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This report underscores key points, emphasizing the necessity for enhanced data within philanthropy and increased collaboration across sectors. It serves as a clarion call for us to dismantle silos and foster more cohesive teamwork. Any insights on practical strategies for implementing these recommendations?


The report highlights crucial points: the need for better data in philanthropy and greater cross-sector collaboration. It's a call to action for us to break down silos and work together more effectively. Thoughts on how to implement this?

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In China, critical issues locally “are being lost to the global challenges

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