Giving in Asia Up Despite Global Financial Crisis

Although Asian elites do not have well-established reputation for charitable giving, new data reveals that that may be changing, the Financial Times reports.

This week, India became the first of the BRIC countries to receive Save the Children's "strongest member" status after the organization's Indian donor base grew from three thousand to fifty thousand donors over two years and Indian donors gave more than $11 million to the organization in 2009. India, which has the world's fastest growing economy after China, is now on par with countries such as Italy, Germany, Romania, and South Korea in terms of charitable giving.

According to New Philanthropy Capital, a London-based consulting firm, many nongovernmental organizations braced for funding declines of up to 20 percent last year. But the global economic downturn has not significantly affected their fundraising in Asia, where large NGOs are registering their highest giving levels ever. Through the Internet and telephone campaigns, World Vision, Greenpeace, and Oxfam have registered tens of thousands of new individual donors, with World Vision recording a 45 percent year-over-year increase in donations in 2009.

"There used to be the days when the West always led, but now it's being taken on by Asian countries," said Anand Joshua, head of marketing at World Vision India. "Asian countries did the best last year. India, Malaysia, Thailand, and (South) Korea...[are] leading now."

James Lamont. "As Asia Emerges, So Do Philanthropists." Financial Times 05/19/2010.