Majority of Wealthy Individuals See 'Urgent' Need for Philanthropy, Survey Finds

Four in five high-net-worth individuals in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States see an "urgent" or "extremely urgent" need for philanthropic giving worldwide, a report from PNB Paribas Wealth Management and Forbes Insights finds.

Based on a survey of more than four hundred high-net-worth individuals, the 2014 PNB Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index (32 pages, PDF) found that 56 percent of respondents viewed the need for philanthropy as "extremely urgent" — including 64 percent of those in the U.S. and 61 percent in the Middle East — while 23 percent viewed it as "urgent." The survey also found that U.S. respondents considered health to be the most urgent global issue in need of funding, while respondents in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East cited the environment. When asked specifically about needs in their own countries, 67 percent of U.S. respondents and 65 percent of those in the Middle East said the need for philanthropy was "extremely urgent," compared with 41 percent in Asia and 39 percent in Europe.

At the same time, the report found that a majority of donors in the Middle East (55 percent) were willing to wait more than twenty-five years to see the results of their giving, whereas donors in Asia (69 percent), Europe (65 percent), and the U.S. (50 percent) were only willing to wait ten years. When asked about motivation for giving, the top responses were "personal experience with area of focus" (Middle East and U.S.), "desire to give back to society" (Asia), and "altruistic desire" (Europe).

The index also ranked the four regions by high-net-worth individuals' current and projected giving, activities to promote a cause or charity, and efforts to maximize the effectiveness of their giving. While the U.S. ranked at the top in all four categories, its overall index score of 53.2 was only slightly higher than the overall scores for Europe (46.3), Asia (42.4), or the Middle East (29.4) — a finding that the report noted was "particularly striking given that the U.S. is the source of the Giving Pledge" and widely viewed as the global leader in philanthropy.