In contrast to the INSEAD/UBS study, another report, this time from HSBC Private Bank, finds that leading Asian philanthropists are starting to emphasize innovation, scale and measurable results in their philanthropy. Something’s gotta give: The state of philanthropy in Asia, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, argues that though levels of philanthropy are still low relative to the West, it is increasing in Asia in step with the region’s growing wealth.
In Singapore – always the showpiece, it seems, in matters concerning philanthropy – individual charitable contributions have more than doubled from US$348 million to $847 million in the years between 2004 and 2010. China, meanwhile, has seen an explosive growth in private foundations, a function both of recent liberalization of the sector and of low public trust in existing charities, with giving more than doubling from $4.9 billion in 2009 to $10.3 billion in 2010.
Again in contrast with the UBS/INSEAD findings, the report finds that the main motives for giving are humble upbringings and a desire to make a positive change in society, and that strategic philanthropy is now making its mark. Both reports agree, however, that greater coordination within the sector, and between the sector and its potential allies such as local authorities, CSOs and business, will increase its influence. As Russell Prior, head of philanthropy at HSBC Private Bank UK, notes, ‘there is an increasing need for it to be managed professionally’.
To download the report