The Russian Donors Forum is a partner organisation in the Global Exchange to which Trialogue also belongs. This network unites country-based corporate societal engagement organisations to advance the corporate sector as a global force for good. In 2019 the Philanthropy Research Centre at Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg, in partnership with the Russian Donors Forum, embarked on research on philanthropy in the world's five largest emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), including the development of the philanthropic culture and the influence of the economy on philanthropic patterns in these countries over the past two decades.
The research consisted of desktop research and 27 in-depth interviews with corporate and private foundations in each of the five countries (five in Brazil, seven in Russia, six in India, three in China and six in South Africa). It is one of the first attempts to collect and analyse data on the size of the total philanthropic sector in the BRICS countries, the factors and characteristics of its development, spending priorities, and the role of socially responsible business and individual donors.
Radical socioeconomic and political changes, as well as rapidly developing economies that have contributed to increased levels of inequality are key factors that have led to the rise of philanthropy in the BRICS countries.
Amidst the global financial crisis, BRICS showed considerable gross domestic product (GDP) growth per capita, averaging 5.4% annually between 2008 and 2017. As a result, in recent years the aggregated size of the GDP of BRICS has exceeded 15% of the global GDP. According to forecasts, annual GDP growth per capita between 2023 and 2030 will decrease slightly, to about 4.5%, which exceeds similar forecasts for any block of developed economies, as well as for other countries with developing economies. Based on these higher rates of growth, it is predicted that the GDP of BRICS will exceed a quarter of global GDP by 2022.
Despite impressive economic growth in recent years, the gap in income and living standards between more and less prosperous segments of the population is also growing in almost all BRICS countries.
The Gini coefficient is a statistical measure often used to gauge economic inequality by measuring income distribution or, less commonly, wealth distribution among a population. The index ranges from 0 to 100: a country with an absolutely even distribution of income, in which each person receives the same income, will have a Gini index of 0; a country with a completely unequal distribution, in which one person receives all the income, and all the rest do not earn anything, will have an index of 100. According to 2013 World Bank data, most of the countries with the highest Gini coefficients, and therefore the highest inequalities, were in Africa and Latin America. South Africa has the highest levels of inequality among BRICS.
Philanthropic investment per country
China had the largest absolute amount of annual private donations, at $23.4 billion (2018), while South Africa leads in terms of philanthropy to GDP ratio, with an indicator of 0.56% (2018). Russia is in second place with a share of philanthropy to GDP of 0.39% (2018), and India is in the middle position with 0.36% (2018). In comparison, the volume of philanthropy in the United States represented 2.1% of GDP (2018).
Development priorities per country
As in South Africa, education is the most popular development sector for companies across all BRICS countries. There is also some evidence that corporate giving in all of the five countries is becoming more strategic. Brazil
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Group of Institutes, Foundations and Enterprises, corporate and foundation funders directed their spend to education (84% of funders), youth development (60%), culture and art (51%), environmental activities (47%) and human rights activities (43%). Business representatives noted that the quality of education is being discussed at various levels in the country, spurred by the motto 'everything for education'.
In Brazil, business's social contribution is not only measured by the amount of money donated, but by the effectiveness of programming and the systemic impact created in each sector. Interviews with Brazilian business representatives found that companies:
- Tend to support projects for two to five years
- Are committed to evaluating the effectiveness of their social investments
- Strive to support projects that have a degree of financial self- sustainability
- Select local implementing partners and non-profit organisations (NPOs) that demonstrate the best results
- Do not seek to replace government – which should bear the main responsibility for social development– but rather support the state in the implementation of its policies.
Animal welfare and wildlife receive the most support from individual donors in Brazil, where 72% of donors are women and 51% prefer to donate online. Russia
While there are many companies that still engage in traditional grantmaking, some companies are beginning to support NPOs and development sectors more strategically. Companies tend to run social programming in the communities in which they operate and align their activities with executive interests.
Companies prioritised the following goals when developing their social strategies:
- Increasing business sustainability and community presence (85% of companies)
- Addressing social problems (62%)
- Strengthening employee competence and corporate culture (13%)
The majority of corporate social funding went to education (supported by 87% of companies), ecology (79%), development of local communities (80%), and healthcare (75%). India
In 2018, the government spent $29.2 billion on social development and the private sector invested $9.8 billion. With the government remaining the largest contributor to the social sector, India is now seeing the growth of private philanthropy. According to the recent Bain report, private funding grew at a rate of 15% per year between 2014 and 2018, while public funding increased at about 10% per year. The segment of individual philanthropy has seen strong growth – 21% per year in the past five years.
The majority of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds in India are directed to education (32% of CSR funds), healthcare
(26%) and environmental protection (14%). Access to sanitation and lowering mortality rates among newborns and mothers are often among top priorities. Although Indian corporations and foundations are trying to align their programmes with the UN SDGs, close collaboration with the government is a greater priority, as they believe that it will make their projects more sustainable in the longer term. China
China has the largest population in the world and the largest GDP calculated in international dollars.
Unlike Brazil and India, the predominant share of charitable donations reflected in official statistics falls on the share of the corporate sector – 60% to 70%, citizens' contributions make up about 20%. According to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), just 7% of the country's population participated in charity in 2016, implying significant growth opportunities. Individual participation in charity has fluctuated over the past few years. The sector suffered from natural disasters that stimulated short-term donations, as well as from scandals that reduced the trust and willingness of the population to donate. The total amount of donations from individuals decreased by 60% from 2011 to 2014, but has since recovered, increasing in aggregate annual terms by more than 60% from 2014 to 2016. This trend will continue as disposable income increases, and as the rapid development of digital infrastructure (such as internet, mobile, etc.) expands access to charitable organisations.
Funds are predominantly channeled to education, poverty eradication, health and wellbeing, and sustainable cities and regions.