Future World Giving is an ambitious CAF project with a positive message: that if governments act now the future of philanthropy could be bright, with people all over the world engaging in supporting a vibrant civil society and addressing social needs. In particular, the project aims to highlight the potential for opening up philanthropy to a rapidly increasing global middle class whose engagement in philanthropy could have a huge impact on society.
Background to Future World Giving
In December 2012, I sat down with colleagues to discuss how we should take our global policy work forward. With ten offices across six continents that provide a range of financial and advisory services for NGOs and companies, large or small and donors, from the very wealthy to ordinary generous people, we recognised that we occupy a unique position to talk about the global environment for charitable giving.
We agreed that whilst the World Giving Index -an annual study of the proportion of people in each country who give money to charitable causes, volunteer time or help a stranger – has helped to start a global conversation about giving. By allowing a comparison of how often we are generous with our time and money, it
has initiated debate online, in the chambers of government and over coffee tables the world over. However, the WGI leaves many people with more questions than it answers. The principle questions that we agreed we would like to tackle going forward were;
- What would the world be like if we could bring engagement in giving up to the levels of more generous nations in emerging economies?
- Why is it that even accounting for economic differences, some countries score higher in the WGI?
- What policies could to create an enabling environment for mass engagement in giving?
- What are the barriers to the future growth of middle class giving?
Unlocking the Potential of Global Philanthropy
In attempting to answer some of these questions we developed the Future World Giving project. In February 2013 we published a concept for paper for the project, “Unlocking the Potential of Global Philanthropy” which detailed the context for our studies and the enormous stakes for the world in addressing the need to create an enabling environment for mass charitable giving. It asserted that although philanthropists and NGOs have rightly been quick to see the immediate potential encouraging the emerging super-rich in fast growing economies in the global South to give – think of the Giving Pledge – we have been slower to see the potential for mass giving in these future economic centres.
Building Trust in Charitable Giving
OECD projections estimate that the number of middle class people will grow by
161% by 2030 with their spending power increasing by 161% over the same period. If this new aspirant middle class were to dedicated 1% of their expenditure this could generate an astonishing US$550 billion a year in charitable funds. To put that figure in perspective,close to the GDP of Sweden and significantly more than the $135 and $195 billion a year that Geoffrey Sachs once estimated would be needed to eradicate extreme poverty.
In January of 2014 we published a report called “Building Trust in Charitable Giving” which looked at what governments can do to ensure that NGOs are well regulated, afforded status but are not over burdened by legal requirements. We found that regressive policy towards NGOs and an atmosphere of suspicion among governments across the world risks undermining public trust and threaten to stifle the growth of charitable giving. We made a number of recommendations including that governments should;
- Ensure that everyone is legally entitled to register a charity without discrimination.
- Reduce red tape for smaller not-for-profits whilst maintaining regulatory focus on larger organisations
- Allow not-for-profits to access foreign funds and engage in international association without discrimination
Enabling an Independent Not-for-profit Sector
In May of 2014 we published our third Future World Giving report entitled “Enabling an Independent Not-for-profit Sector” which attempted to assess to what extent NGOs (and donors) need to be free to speak out on issues and manage their resources as they see fit in order for a vibrant civil society and a culture of generosity to thrive. We found that the independence of NGOs was at risk due to the hostile rhetoric and regressive policies of governments around the world and highlighted some extremely concerning trends for governments limit access to foreign funding and more generally for new laws which undermine the voice of NGOs. As well as issuing a number of recommendations the report introduced some basic principles including;
- Governments should allow not-for-profits to criticise and influence policy in order to improve standards and promote public debate.
- Not for profit organisations need freedom to manage their resources in the way which best achieves their stated mission.
- Governments should foster a strong and independent civil society to benefit both the state and society as a whole.
Rules to Give By Index
On December 1st 2014 we published the world first global index of the basic legal and tax infrastructure with Nexus Global Youth Summit and McDermott Will & Emery. The Rules to Give By Index ranks all 193 UN recognised nations on the presence (but not implementation) of laws that are important for enabling the development of a culture of charitable giving.
The Future World Giving project has had extensive media coverage with articles in the New Statesman, The Guardian and the Stanford Social Innovation Review to name but a few. Our reports have been referenced widely including in a UNDP report on “Philanthropy as an Emerging Contributor to Development Cooperation” The Future World Giving blogsite has been viewed in 129 countries since its launch in August 2013 and enables us to tackle in depth some of the issues that we were unable to include in our reports.
In addition, the Future World Giving project has taken CAF to new and exciting audiences. I have spoken at the Nexus Global Youth Summit in New York, at the United Nations at the Nexus Global Youth Summit and the 2nd Seminar of the Legal Framework for Civil Society Organisations at the invitation of the Presidents office in Brazil, at international academic events such as Charity, Philanthropy and Development, organised by the University of Sussex and other events across Europe. Next month I will be speaking at the Global Citizen Forum in Toronto, Canada.
NEXT: exploring the effectiveness of tax incentives and exemptions
We are working with pro-bono legal experts through the Thomson ReuterTrusLaw Connect programme to produce a detailed Future World Giving report into tax incentives in which we will look at 30 large economies and assess the efficacy of different policies on incentives for giving.
Thank you for all of your kind words of encouragement and the help that you have given me in getting this project off the ground and stay tuned for our next reports on tax incentives in the coming months.
Charities Aid Foundation
Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) a registered charity (number 268369) that promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organsiations.
We help donors – including individuals, major donors and companies – to give more effectively whilst providing financial and fundraising solutions for charities in the UK and internationally, helping good causes to manage their resources more effectively.
We also have a strong track record in research, policy and advocacy; working across a range of issues to ensure the best possible funding environment for charities.
CAF has been operating globally for over 30 years. Supported by a Secretariat based in London, CAF’s work is represented by its international network around the world. CAF has extensive experience in emerging economies and has expertise and relationships in the BRIC countries.
Links to the websites of CAF Global Alliance offices can be found below:
- CAF America
- CAF Australia
- CAF Bulgaria
- IDIS Brazil
- CAF India
- CAF Russia
- CAF South East Asia, Singapore
- CAF Southern Africa
- £470 million philanthropic funds distributed 2012-13 (non-UK offices: £44m)
- £2 billion philanthropic funds distributed last five years (non-UK offices: £155m)
- We hold/manage over £2.8bn of assets on behalf of our clients
- We work with over 50,000 NGOs in more than 90 countries
- Span six continents, supported by local, experienced people in nine countries