Indian-Americans do not donate as much as they should: Survey

Indian-Americans are capable of donating much more than they currently do, says a new survey.

Indian-Americans donate about $1 billion per year and this is far less than their potential of $3 billion in the US, states the Indiaspora-Dalberg Community Engagement Survey that was released during the Indiaspora Philanthropy Summit at Georgetown University.

Assessing the giving habits of Indian-Americans, the survey found that the community donated 1.5 per cent of their income per year, compared to the average American donation rate of four per cent per year.

“Today, we are discussing what lies next for Indiaspora in our role as a philanthropic catalyst, which is one of the core pillars of our mission. We are in the early stages of strategically planning what we should do to move the needle – which is to say, increase the amount of Indian-American philanthropic giving in America and to India, and make it more effective,” M R Rangaswami, Indiaspora founder, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

Joe Dougherty, Dalberg Advisors’ regional director for the Americas, said he hoped the survey would help galvanize philanthropic activities among Indian-Americans.

“Imagine the kind of impact the diaspora could create if they met their giving potential. We hope that the results of this study help galvanize philanthropic efforts among this important—and influential—community,” Dougherty said.

The survey also found Indian-Americans are prolific volunteers. Typically, an Indian-American volunteers 220 hours each year, far exceeding the US national average of 130 hours annually.

“However, the community must not get complacent – the Indian Diaspora has a long way to go before we can call ourselves good givers,” the survey notes. “We find there exists a large ‘giving gap’ in the realm of at least $2-3 billion. Further, we find a ‘passion-donation gap’, which means that the community does not necessarily give to those causes which it collectively claims to be most passionate about,” it said.