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Indian philanthropy is growing from tradition to innovation: Neera Nundy

Dasra cofounder was on the cover of the W-Power special in 2020 for streamlining the social sector and helping bolster the philanthropic ecosystem in India. As those initiatives find more takers, she notices a turning point in the giving behaviours of inter-generation and first-generation wealth creators

Published: Jun 8, 2023 05:29:41 PM IST
Updated: Jun 8, 2023 05:36:32 PM IST

Indian philanthropy is growing from tradition to innovation: Neera NundyNeera Nundy, Dasra cofounder and partner Image: Mexy Xavier

Indian philanthropy is evolving rapidly, with families accumulating more wealth over time. According to the India Philanthropy Report 2023 by Dasra and Bain & Company, cumulative net wealth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNI) in India climbed by 9.2 percent in FY22, with the top level of greater than ₹50,000 crore wealth witnessing a 19 percent jump. HNIs and affluent givers are emerging as a high-potential segment with a 12 percent increase in the affluent population and a 7 percent increase in the HNI population. While UHNI giving has not kept pace with their increasing wealth, the combined contribution of HNIs and affluent givers increased by 11 percent over FY21 to ₹25,300 crore.

generational families transfer responsibility and decision-making to the next generation (inter-gen) and first-generation wealth creators (now-gen) enter the philanthropy landscape, there is a shift from traditional charitable giving to a more proactive approach that emphasises supporting portfolios and collaboratives.

We are witnessing positive directional shifts among the giving behaviours of inter-gen and now-gen givers. This cohort has a “learning mindset” and embraces innovation and risk in philanthropy, seeking knowledge to take affirmative action and deploy capital at a faster pace.

We are seeing a clear shift from philanthropy based on personal motivations to bolder aspirations of building a stronger India. This is reflected in their giving behaviours that are integrating an intersectional lens through a focus on GEDI (gender, equity, diversity and inclusion), climate action, and a greater interest in strengthening the philanthropic infrastructure that has the potential to trigger a new era of bold and innovative philanthropy.

Also read: How family philanthropy can shape a new social contract in India

Through our work with 300+ families, we have observed a greater intent and an appetite among some families towards ‘market-building’ initiatives aimed at driving systems change to address complex developmental issues and accelerate giving in India.

Indian philanthropy is growing from tradition to innovation: Neera NundyNarrative building is also being recognised as a catalyst for shifting perceptions and mindsets of key stakeholders to unlock greater funding, foster collective action, and embrace more equitable philanthropy. Trust-based philanthropy is gaining momentum, and families are recognising their responsibility towards investing in more complex and systems-focussed outcomes, working with partners such as governments, non-profits, corporates, foundations among others to drive collaborative action.

The ecosystem to support philanthropy in India has matured and strengthened, with networks such as GivingPi, creating a community among philanthropists and enabling learning, intermediaries advising Indian families on their giving, and research reports providing sharp insights and actionable data around philanthropy. Wealth management firms have philanthropy advisory desks, and the number of Indian collaborative funds that philanthropists can contribute to has risen sharply in the last few years such as the Rebuild India Fund.

With family philanthropy expected to grow at approximately 18 percent CAGR from FY22 to FY27, families have a unique opportunity to shoulder long-term patient capital and build bridges by working at the intersection of government, businesses, foundations, civil society, and communities to build a resilient India where no one is left behind.

(This story appears in the 16 June, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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