Immigrants from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — the five rapidly developing countries collectively referred to as the BRICS — represent a largely untapped source of philanthropic support for U.S. charities, a report from the UK-based Resource Alliance finds.
Based on interviews with members of diaspora communities in the United States, the report, Making a World of Difference: How BRICS Diaspora Give (26 pages, PDF), found that members of those communities are eager to engage with U.S. charities as donors and volunteers but are uncertain how to do so because nonprofits rarely court them. While members of these communities provide support to a variety of causes, both in the U.S. and abroad — in addition to remitting nearly $51.6 billion in 2011 to family members back home — they tend not to trust charities in their home countries due to issues of transparency and government interference and are more willing to donate their time and money to organizations in the U.S., where matching contributions, tax deductions, and a supportive legal framework make giving more attractive, the study found.
Among issue areas, emergency disaster relief was the cause most commonly supported by members of BRICS diaspora communities, followed by education. The report also found that Brazilian Americans give regularly to religious entities in the U.S.; Russian Americans often use social media to support causes in the U.S. but describe the Russian nonprofit sector as being under government control; Indian Americans are more likely to give million-dollar gifts to U.S. nonprofits, especially to their alma maters, than to organizations in India; Chinese Americans are the most avid supporters of educational causes; and South African Americans see less of a sense of community, both in their home country and in their diaspora communities.
"The U.S. diaspora are more philanthropically conscious and giving than ever," said Nidhi Raj Kapoor, who authored the report. "Nonprofits in BRICS countries should make the effort to reach out and regain their trust, while those in the U.S. should be taking advantage of the positive way in which the diaspora view American philanthropy."