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CAF is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations. We produce research on charities and charitable giving, develop policy ideas and work with people, companies and charities to help good causes thrive.

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CAF launches India Giving

25 November 2012

Fewer than a third of Indians give to official charitable organisations, even though more than 80% give overall, according to a major new study into giving across India.

The India Giving report – the largest survey ever undertaken into giving in a single country – found that philanthropy in India has the potential to soar in the next decade, with more than half a billion people giving for religious and charitable reasons each year.

The study, carried out by the Charities Aid Foundation, which promotes charitable giving around the world, found India has the potential to become a global philanthropic powerhouse.

Overall the report found that most people in India - 84% of the 836 million adults - give at least once a year. Within this figure, 71% gave solely or partly for religious reasons, but by contrast, only 12% had given for reasons not linked to religion.

The study, based on interviews with nearly 9,000 people from across India, includes findings on people’s motivation for giving, the causes they support, and their views on giving to religious causes, individuals and charities.

It found only 27% of people gave to an official charitable organisation in the year before being interviewed.

The most popular causes people want to support include disability (18%), homelessness (12%), the elderly (10%) and education (8%) following religious causes, which were chosen by 21% of people.

The report found that many people want to be sure that donations to non-governmental bodies make a direct difference to people’s lives. It also showed people want non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be more transparent about their work.

Nearly three quarters of people (73%) want charities to improve their communications while more than half of donors (52%) believe that a ‘lack of transparency hinders donations to NGOs’. The survey found:

  • 84% of people donated money to an individual or an organisation in the past year.
  • 27% of people gave money to a charitable organisation.
  • 70% of donors prefer to donate direct to beneficiaries.
  • Personal experience is the number one driver for giving, cited by 70% of people.
  • People are also motivated to give by their upbringing, family values marking special occasions.
  • The biggest barrier to giving, cited by 32% of people, is not being able to afford to give.
  • The top five causes that Indians would like to give to in future are religion, disability, homelessness, the elderly and education.
  • 52% of donors believe that a ‘lack of transparency hinders donations to NGOs’.

Meenakshi Batra, Chief Executive of CAF India, said:

“We firmly believe that philanthropy in India is destined to soar over the next decade, as the economy grows and people’s prosperity with it. That will build on the instinct to give which is part of the ebb and flow of people’s daily lives and is as ancient as the country itself.

“The reality today remains that tens of millions across India need food, shelter and medicine. By the time children being born today are teenagers, India will likely be the most populous nation in the world. For this growth to be sustainable, the philanthropy will be vital.

“This report shows that a relatively small proportion of donations are channelled through the charities and not-for-profits that are best placed to work towards India’s overarching poverty alleviation priorities. Charities can make a massive difference to tackling social problems across the country and we all need to show very clearly what impact they are having on society.

“As India grows its economy and wealth, we need to build the role of charities and not-for-profit organisations and change attitudes so people can give more to charities in ways that will transform the lives of millions of people.”
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