A survey by Georgetown University’s Indiaspora Philanthropy Summit reveals that while the $1 billion number is obviously an impressive one, it is actually less than the community’s philanthropic potential as a whole. One expert told the Times of India that the giving potential of Indian Americans is actually $3 billion annually.
“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,” Joe Dougherty of Dalberg Advisors said in a statement.
The Indiaspora Philanthropy Summit was created in part to encourage more charitable giving from the community. “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,” said Indiaspora founder M R Rangaswami.
According to Indiaspora’s findings, Indian-American charitable donors as a group have several characteristics that position them to become influencers in the philanthropy world. The community tends to be interested in projects that deliver social impact and were interested in a variety of causes. Indian-Americans were also notable for the amount of them they spent volunteering.
The average Indian-American donor volunteers 220 hours a year and research and screen the organizations they support closely. One problem Indiaspora’s survey identified was that the donors questioned had something of a “passion gap” between the causes they said they supported and the causes they gave money to.
The community does not necessarily give to those causes which it collectively claims to be most passionate about,” the survey noted.