World of Fundraising: India

A number of times since I have been a consultant, I have been contacted by non-profits from India, asking for help with fundraising for their work. I generally talk to them about how they could develop their local fundraising, but they frequently seemed shocked by the very idea. All they want to do was get people from Europe – particularly the UK – and the USA to give to them.

But why should it? In a country with a population the size and diversity of India, with a thriving middle class and a large number of very wealthy people at the top, then you would expect philanthropic giving to be the established and growing. And that’s exactly the case; the country has added more than 100 million donors since 2009 and all the indicators show that giving in India is significantly higher than in countries with similar levels of prosperity.

Not surprisingly, here in Delhi are headquartered some of the biggest NGOs in the country; like HelpAge India and The Smile Foundation, while national branches of International NGOs such as Amnesty, Action Aid and World Vision are also here. But there are also a rapidly growing number of smaller organisations being set up on a daily basis – some estimates suggest that there are already well over 2 million NGOs in the country already, with no sign of a slow down in new ones being set up.

At the top end, clearly major donor fundraising is important. The number of millionaires (dollar, not rupee) is growing by around 11% each year, and all the indications are that these newly wealthy Indians are prepared to give generously if asked in the right way. The Hurun India Philanthropy List shows that 36 people gave more than around $5m per year, with the most generous, Azim Premji giving around a whopping $4,200 million on education initiatives.

At the same time, rules brought in in 2013 mean that large companies have to spend at least 2% of their average net profit for the last three financial years on CSR activities. As someone who focuses mainly on fundraising in the UK, I certainly wish that rule was brought in there! For non-profits in India, though, it is a great opportunity, both for direct funding and to raise the profile of giving in the country.

So, opportunities are all around for non-profits at all levels. It’s a growing market and as an organisation that firmly believes in the power of the not for profit sector to change the world, one IFC sees as incredibly exciting and positive for the future of the country. We are absolutely delighted, therefore, to soon be opening our new office in India and look forward to the part we can play in developing the sector.

Bill King, CEO, Group IFC