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Emerging Giving Trends Catalyzed by the Pandemic

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The Covid pandemic has catalyzed many new forms of giving around the world that will continue to push forward the globalization and democratization of philanthropy, according to a report released Thursday.

The report by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the first of its kind, explored emerging and evolving trends in philanthropic giving across eight countries, including Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.K.

“These specific countries have diverse philanthropic, cultural, and policy environments. They are either large economies, or situated at the crossroads, or in the forefront of tech innovation, like Singapore,” says Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the school. “The emerging forms of giving in these countries  will have long-term implications to the future philanthropy globally.”

The study, Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving, was done in collaboration with partner organizations and experts in the eight countries, and was based on the school’s projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

There are five emerging and evolving giving trends across the countries studied, namely, crypto donations, contactless giving, donor-advised-funds, workplace giving, and online volunteering, according to the report. 

“Use of emerging giving vehicles will lead to further globalization and democratization of philanthropy,” Osili says. 

“Giving vehicles such as crowdfunding, round-up donations, and integrated donation buttons on websites and mobile applications will allow everyday donors to actively participate in local and cross-border philanthropy more easily than ever before,” she says.

However, these new giving trends move faster in some countries than others. For example, a widespread practice in the U.S., round-up donations during shopping, have become increasingly popular in Brazil. 

Impact investing, in which donors seek  a financial return on their charitable giving, had been well established in the U.K. and India, but is now growing rapidly in China and South Korea, Osili says. 

In India, an initiative focused on financial inclusion has raised more than US$7.3 billion and helped around 100 million low-income citizens in 15 years. In China, a 2,135 projects have been started by nonprofit organizations and social enterprises between 2008 and 2017, according to the report.  

Cryptocurrency giving has begun to take hold as a means of giving in countries such as South Africa and South Korea during the pandemic, but the market volatility in recent months put some distance between donors and beneficiaries, Osili says. Also, in China and Singapore, government regulations on cryptocurrency restrict charitable giving.

“What it shows is that at a time impacted by global pandemic, economic crisis, and social justice movement, there is lots of room for innovation, but there are some risks associated with these new channels of giving” Osili says.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy also released studies highlighting digital giving in each country individually on Thursday.


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