Private philanthropy saw a 10% growth, reaching INR 1.2 lakh crore

NEW DELHI – 1st March 2024 – India’s social sector spending over the last five years experienced a robust annual growth of 13%, reaching approximately INR 23 lakh crore ($280 billion) in FY 2023, which accounts for 8.3% of the GDP. Despite this, India is below the NITI Aayog’s estimated spend (13% of GDP) to achieve UN SDG goals by 2030.

INDIAN Phylothropy

India’s social sector spending is primarily fuelled by public spending; however, private philanthropy has the potential to significantly strengthen resilience and build capacity at the grassroots level. According to the latest India Philanthropy Report 2024 (IPR) by Bain & Company and Dasra, released today, overall private philanthropy is expected to continue to expand at 10% –15% annually over the next five years, driven by strong development in three segments: CSR, family philanthropy, & retail. This marks a significant acceleration from the 5% annual growth observed between 2018 and 2023.

“Growing private philanthropy is critical to bridging the funding gap. At the same time, by virtue of its relatively long horizon and flexibility of funding, it also has an important role to play in capacity building in the social sector, and addressing challenges at the intersection of government, businesses, foundations, and communities,” said Radhika Sridharan, Bain & Company Partner and co-author of the report.

In FY2023, private philanthropy saw a 10% growth, reaching INR 1.2 lakh crore ($15 billion). This growth was primarily driven by growth in family philanthropy (15%) and retail (12%) donations. Meanwhile, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and high-net-worth individual (HNI)/affluent donations, grew moderately at 7%, despite an expanding donor base.

CSR spending for FY 2023 is estimated at INR 28,000 crore, with its share of domestic private giving increasing to 30% from 22% in FY 2018 following increased compliance and profit growth. There has been a notable increase in corporate givers due to the regulatory changes, as evidenced by the proportion of companies complying with the CSR mandate (2% of profits), which increased from approximately 30% in FY 2018 to more than 60% in FY 2022.

CSR witnessed a positive shift in the types and durations of projects it supports driven by structured regulations such as the option to carry forward excess credit. The combination of the ability to spread out CSR spending over a longer timeline and increased emphasis on audited outcomes has moved CSR projects away from traditional needs-based initiatives to multi-year initiatives that yield long-term impact. Over the next five years, CSR is expected to see a higher annual growth of 9%.

Family philanthropy, which accounts for 28% of private domestic contributions, amounted to INR 33,000 crore in FY 2023 is projected to grow at an annual rate of 16% until FY 2028. Within family philanthropy, ultra-high-net-worth individual (UHNI) giving grew by 60% in FY 2023 to INR 6,850 crore, driven by concurrent donors and a few prominent philanthropists such as Azim Premji and Shiv Nadar. Premji increased his contributions by over INR 1,000 crore and Nadar by over INR 700 crore in FY 2023.

On the other hand, overall giving from HNIs and affluent givers grew moderately by 7% to reach INR 26,000 crore in FY 2023. The report indicates that HNIs and affluent individuals have a higher propensity to give (over 0.7% net worth) than UHNIs (0.1% net worth). These individuals are likely first-generation philanthropists who independently make giving decisions and prefer philanthropy through grant-making rather than establishing family foundations. There is an opportunity to unlock significant upside potential in donations from this segment by addressing barriers such as lack of awareness, transparency, and impact measurement.

Sridharan added, “The share of HNIs and affluent donors in giving has the potential to reach more than 35% by FY 2028 compared to 22% in FY 2023. As more individuals enter the giving space, it is important for them to identify the right issues and implementation organizations to align with. We see collaboratives playing a significant organizing role as they bring value beyond individual efforts, especially when tackling problems that require collective action, substantial funding, or complex ground-level problem-solving.”

Emerging data from GivingPi (based on in-depth conversations with over 120 philanthropic families), highlights heterogeneity in the family philanthropy landscape, signified by the giving approaches and behaviors of diverse cohorts, especially women, Now-Gen, Inter-Gen, and professionals.

Neera Nundy, Co-founder and Partner at Dasra and co-author of the report added, “Data and research on Indian philanthropy, especially disaggregated data, remains limited. With 300 members, GivingPi, India’s first family-focused philanthropy network, is providing emerging insights on key trends in India’s heterogeneous landscape of family philanthropy. The rise of women-led philanthropy and diversification in the cohort of givers due to first generation entrepreneurs and professionals are promising trends. We must capitalize on this momentum to unlock greater philanthropic capital.”

Interestingly, women philanthropists are showing promise in giving to underrepresented causes, demonstrating a strong emphasis on adopting a Gender, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (GEDI) lens in their philanthropic endeavors (44% vs. 33% men). They lead with higher involvement and show greater accountability through their funding initiatives which shape champions, foster collaborations, and build institutions.

While Now-Gen (first-generational wealth creators) and Inter-Gen givers (the current generation of traditional family philanthropists) continue to support traditional sectors like education and healthcare, they are diversifying their approach by focusing on systemic changes. Both cohorts indicate a deeper interest in giving to GEDI (37%) and climate action (34%) and aspire to invest in strengthening philanthropic infrastructure in the future. Another positive directional shift is the rise in giving from Indian professionals (usually C-suite executives in the private sector) who seem keen to give toward strengthening the philanthropic ecosystem (57% vs. 35% for business owners).

Collaborative philanthropy is on the rise in India, with a notable five-fold increase in the new collaboratives established yearly in the past three years, and intermediaries anchoring approximately 42% of domestic collaboratives. While the collaborative landscape in India is still evolving, collaboratives such as networks, platforms, and pooled funds saw substantial growth in the past decade. Both evolved and emerging funders are adopting more strategic, multi-stakeholder approaches, shifting their focus from individual giving to collaborative endeavors.

“Data points to collaborative philanthropy efforts growing in India. There has been an increasing interest in ecosystem building and climate action since 2020. However, the future of this growth depends on domestic philanthropic momentum towards strengthening civil society organizations as anchors of domestic collaboratives,” said Ami Misra, who anchors research and insights at Dasra and co-author of the report.

Retail giving, primarily driven by compelling narratives, remains effective in addressing urgent and critical community needs and overcoming critical barriers. It grew at 12% in FY 2023 to INR 37,000 crore, fuelled by a 25%–30% increase in donations to NGOs and a 5%–10% increase in community giving (primarily healthcare). Although retail giving remains predominantly unorganized, the share of formal giving through NGOs is increasing due to the adoption of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and digital giving initiatives.

Philanthropy has the potential to reinforce India’s position as a solution provider and a hub for impact. As India grapples with complex social and environmental challenges, philanthropy can play a pivotal role in driving positive change. By embracing intersectional approaches, prioritizing GEDI, and fostering collaborative initiatives, philanthropists can address pressing issues and make a lasting impact on Indian society.

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