Global cross-border philanthropy totaled $68 billion in 2018, a report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI finds.
Based on data from forty-seven countries representing 62 percent of the world's population and 85 percent of global GDP, the 2020 Global Philanthropy Tracker report found that cross-border charitable giving by individuals, foundations, corporations, and other philanthropic organizations in 2018 accounted for 10.3 percent of the $658 billion in total non-governmental capital flows, which also included $481 billion in remittances and $109 billion in private capital investment. By comparison, official development assistance (ODA) from donor governments totaled $175 billion.
The study identifies three trends likely to lead to a larger role for cross-border philanthropy in the international arena: a worldwide increase in middle-class and high-net-worth individuals and diaspora communities; the rapid advancement and application of new technologies that make cross-border giving easier, faster, and safer; and the growing need for cross-sector and -border collaboration to address urgent challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that "cross-border philanthropy is indispensable to successfully address[ing] global challenges," the report's authors write, citing examples such as the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign.
According to the study, the United States, among high-income countries, accounted for the largest share of cross-border giving in terms of both total inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars ($47.6 billion) and as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) (0.23 percent), while Turkey topped the list of upper-middle-income countries ($725 million, 0.09 percent). The report's authors also note that the cross-border philanthropy landscape has changed significantly over the last few decades, with lower-middle-income countries such as Nigeria ($21 million, 0.005 percent) and low-income countries such as Tanzania ($1.8 million, 0.003 percent) contributing more to international development than they have in the past.
At the same time, the report emphasizes the lack of adequate data on such giving, with relatively high-quality aggregate data on philanthropic outflows and data by issue area only available for eighteen countries, data by recipient region only available for sixteen countries, and data by recipient country only available for four countries.
"From the public health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic to the growing pressure of climate change, the scope of global challenges is expanding and becoming significantly more complex," said Una Osili, professor of economics and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "And that means NGO leaders and philanthropists need significantly more data about how limited global resources are being applied to address acute challenges. The GPT and its findings are critical as we consider how philanthropy and trends in giving can be most effective in building on private capital investments, remittances, and official development assistance."