CSIP Conference Highlights Key Aspects of Research on Indian Philanthropy and Giving

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New Delhi: The Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP), Ashoka University hosted its inaugural research conference on ‘Philanthropy and Giving in India’ recently. The conference witnessed deliberations on themes such as – prevailing issues in the non-profit sector, the importance of data and research in supporting the sector to reach its potential, and reasons why people volunteer and give to charity.

Speaking at a panel discussion, Anant Bhagwaiti, Partner, The Bridgespan Group mentioned that the increase in annual wealth of some of the richest people in India is more than the entire size of the philanthropy sector. Referring to a report by Dasra Foundation, he highlighted that on an average, the wealthiest Indians are twenty times less generous than their American counterparts when it comes to giving.

Elaborating upon the purpose of the conference, Ingrid Srinath, Director, CSIP, stated that “There is very little reliable research on philanthropy and giving in India. CSIP’s work seeks to address those gaps as well as build the field of social sector research. The conference helps showcase the research being done and encourages more such work.” Swati Shresth, Research Director, CSIP, also remarked that the research conference helped in bringing out the critical needs of the sector.

Underlining the causes of giving, Dr Sara Konrath, Social Psychologist, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, mentioned that egoism is a major inward facing factor that prompts people to give. She further pointed out that trust in NGOs and altruism were two outward facing reasons that lead people to donate.  

The conference witnessed over 500 registrations, nine unique presentations by eminent Indian as well as international speakers. The keynote address was delivered by Mark Sidel, Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on ‘Civil Society in Asia in the COVID Era: A Comparative Look at Key Themes Across the Region’.

Describing the unequal relationship between the donors and NGOs, Gayatri Lobo, COO, ATE Chandra Foundation mentioned that NGOs are usually expected to be flexible to the donor’s ask, even when it is not actually required to achieve impact. She emphasised that India has long way to go before NGOs are truly treated like partners in solving social and climate associated issues.