Philanthropy in India: Being the Change You Want to See in the World

Apr 18, 2011 4:25 PM ET

MSLGROUP's Blog By Jennifer George

As I discussed in an earlier post, India is a country struggling with its paradoxical image: It is a place that not only celebrates its rich, ancient history but has a strong eye toward the future. It is simultaneously home to 69 billionaires and 400 million people living below the poverty line. While 40 percent of the nation’s wealth is concentrated in the top five percent of the country, 35 percent of its citizens are illiterate. As more companies look to do business in India and engage its citizens, the Cause & CSR team at MSLGROUP believes it’s vital to understand the complexities and cultural nuances that are steering India’s philanthropic journey.   To be sure, India is a fast-growing market for giving. In 2010, India became the first BRIC country to be ranked a major donor by Save the Children. But there is still a huge opportunity for increased giving, both on the individual and corporate levels. Today, India’s rate of giving is just 0.6 percent of its GDP, while the U.S. boasts two percent and the U.K. 1.3 percent.   In fact, only 10 percent of India’s donations are given by individuals and/or corporations. In the U.S., the share of individuals and corporations that contribute is 75 percent.   Imagine the impact India could have if its citizens and companies collectively changed the way they approach and think about philanthropy?
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