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Diaspora donors are more closely involved with the causes they support – research

16 September 2014

Philanthropists whose cultural heritage lies outside of the UK are more likely to be personally involved with the charitable causes they support, says a new report released today by the Charities Aid Foundation.

They are also more likely to be open to exploring new routes of support such as social investment - the use of money to achieve a social impact and financial return - compared to those who identify more with a British heritage.

The report also identifies a huge opportunity for growth as, over time, diaspora donors in the UK could increase by up to ten times their lifetime give.

The study, International Giving, looks at how the cultural identity of donors in the UK affects their engagement with charities, specifically those of diaspora who have their roots in other countries around the world.

It compares the outlook of those who identify their origins in the Indian subcontinent or the Asia Pacific region, with those who identify more strongly with a British heritage.

Social investment makes up 11% of the philanthropic activity of those from the Indian subcontinent, versus 6% for those from Asia Pacific, and just 4.6% for those identifying more strongly with a British heritage.

When asked how much of their total investment portfolio is ‘social’ versus ‘traditional’, those from the Indian subcontinent indicate as much as 36%. By contrast, those who identify more strongly with a British heritage indicate their portfolios include 19% ‘social’ investment.

The findings are based on a sample of 1,000 UK-based wealthy donors, who took part in research at the end of 2013 for Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Of the total, roughly one-quarter identified as being of Indian subcontinent or Asia Pacific origin.

David Stead, Executive Director of Philanthropy and Development at Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Our research shows that cultural heritage may inspire a passion to change lives in the countries in which individuals have their roots.

“The diaspora communities from these regions often share not just a cultural heritage, but a social awareness and an empathy with the challenges of the widening gap between rich and poor.

“However, it is the access to innovation in the UK that is enabling these individuals to do some really exciting things.”

Find out more and request a free copy of the report at

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