2015 India Philanthropy Report

Aditya Goel and Swati Ganeti, Consultant and Senior Associate Consultant respectively, in our New Delhi office share their experience as part of the team contributing to the 2015 India Philanthropy Report.

This year, we got the exciting chance to be part of Bain India’s 2015 philanthropy report! These annual reports are seen as benchmark reports for the philanthropy sector and have acquired a strong reputation of combining data and powerful insights to add value to India’s fast-growing philanthropic space.


Each year, the report covers the most pressing and important trends in this sector. Early on in this year’s process, we learned that there is an increasing trend of donations in India. Donors are contributing more and donating to a larger pool of nonprofit organizations. For 2015, our theme was to understand the key challenges faced by both sides (donors and non-profits) and suggest solutions that will help trigger the next wave of philanthropy. It was no easy task but we were keen to sink our teeth into the research, given the stellar reputation of the earlier reports that we had to live up to!

First, we aimed to understand donor characteristics – what motivates them to donate, what they think of philanthropy, and what results they expect from non-profit organizations. Second, we studied NGOs – what challenges they face while raising money and creating impact on the ground. Given the challenges India faces in terms of large-scale poverty, millions of malnourished children and the need to empower women, adding value to the philanthropy debate is crucial and we felt we were really contributing to something important. With the help of DASRA, a strategic philanthropic foundation that Bain has partnerned with in earlier reports, we talked to around 15 experts in this space. We also did an in-depth survey of about 400 donors and some 120-NGO employees to understand their perspective.

One of the most important learnings was the presence of a two-tier donor space. We found that ~10% of the donors belong to the sophisticated segment, which donates more and consistently. These donors are cause oriented whereas around 50% of donors donate out of guilt and peer pressure. These donors do not provide a consistent pool of donations, forcing NGOs to focus on fundraising rather than the actual results. The other ~40% are in the transition phase.

The conversations we had with experts in the philanthropy space during this case has shaped our views regarding the non-profit sector and also triggered our admiration for these folks who spend time and effort trying to help the underprivileged in a sustained and systematic manner. It was heartening to find that donors in India are becoming more willing to donate for social development. We also found that there are sufficient resources and talent available in the country, which if channelized in the right direction by a viable private-public-NGO partnership, can generate the necessary impact.

It was an enjoyable experience working with the Bain India Philanthropy team and we found it enriching to meet people involved in the Indian social sector, especially at a time when the country is at the cusp of its next wave of growth. We realized the true importance of this work when this report received tremendous traction in “Dasra Philanthropy Week 2015”- a 3-day conference involving all the major stakeholders (philanthropists, foundations, non-profits etc.) where we discussed the issues and possible solutions related to the Indian social sector. We also received follow up emails from experts in this sector on how important it was to highlight the key challenges and that this report would help trigger a discussion on these challenges among a wider audience. Additionally, it was great to see the media coverage of the report, which focused attention on the need for wealthier Indians to look out for the interests of those who are still not part of the India growth story.

Click here to read the report.

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