Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives

The global report focuses on detailed insights and trends on countries included in the Digital for Good global study. The report also presents key information on five giving vehicles that have the potential to transform the world of philanthropy globally: contactless giving, cryptocurrency giving, donor-advised funds (DAFs), impact investing, and workplace giving.

The use of contactless giving was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this uptake had commenced before. The proliferation and popularity of contactless payment technology and digital fundraising platforms has not only provided nonprofit organizations with more options to support their operations but also provided donors with an alternative cost-effective, and convenient way of giving.

Contactless giving has been ubiquitous in all eight countries included in the global research project, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, also contributed to innovation and acceleration of other ways of giving and new donation initiatives.

Cryptocurrency giving uses cryptocurrency, which is a digital financial system that is based on blockchain technology. Because of its special features, cryptocurrency giving is able to support philanthropic work, enhancing donors’ trust, and philanthropic organizations’ openness and transparency as it allows real-time tracking of funds.

Cryptocurrency giving is emerging in countries such as South Africa and South Korea, while it is still in its infancy in other countries—like the United Kingdom. There are some countries where there is no information or data available regarding cryptocurrency giving, such as Brazil and Kenya. However, in some countries, such as China, strict rules governing cryptocurrencies limits charitable giving.

Donor-advised funds (DAFs), are philanthropic investment vehicles that allow donors to contribute their cash and non-cash assets to a sponsoring organization that invests and acts as the administrator for the funds. Such investments are irrevocable and usually tax-deductible.

Among countries included in this global study, DAFs are used by only few donors in Brazil, India, and Kenya, and are not yet a common giving vehicle there. In Singapore, DAFs are one of the most rapidly emerging giving vehicles, while DAFs are still in their infancy in countries such as China and South Korea.

The role of impact investing has been growing in inspiring cross-sectoral collaborations and in attracting more funds in philanthropy. Impact investing is a financial investment that generates social or environmental benefits deliberately. The market size of impact investing has been increasing where foundations have become one of the leading market players. Some of the most popular subsectors of impact investing are financial services, energy, microfinance, water, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare, and food and agriculture.

Impact investing is emerging with future potential in China, South Africa, and South Korea. India and United Kingdom show a well-established and flourishing impact investing market, while Singapore has become an attractive regional hub for impact investing. The use of impact investing is increasing in Brazil and Kenya, attracting international impact investors as well.

Workplace giving is a giving vehicle when “employees make financial donations for charitable purposes with implicit employer endorsement.” (Shaker and Christensen, 2019, p. 2.) There are several types of workplace giving programs, including annual giving campaigns, donations through payroll deductions, employee matching gifts and volunteer support programs.

Workplace giving has become a global giving vehicle, widely used in some countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, or the United States, while recently introduced and slowly expanded in others. In both African countries—Kenya and South Africa—that are included in the global research project workplace giving has become an alternative to raise funds locally to address financial challenges faced by nonprofit organizations, and to foster a sense of community among co-workers and within society.

Country-level Insights and Trends

A greater volume of donations through retail giving was realized in Brazil as the Arredondar project’s partnerships with small and large retail stores led to more people providing micro-donations on a daily basis.

The sale of social-editorial products (publications, books, calendars) as a new donation channel was initiated by Editora MOL to expand donation networks and generate more social impact in Brazil.

The growth of Brazilian giving culture was further cemented by BSocial, a donation platform, that supports civil society organizations and solidarity events through crowdfunding and donor support.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: Brazil report.

Online giving and crowdfunding have been on the rise in China, which can be partly attributed to technological innovations and China’s economic development.

In this study, an online survey experiment was conducted in October 2021 to examine the effects of three factors—social information, message framing, and nonprofit overhead ratio—on individual donations to an online crowdfunding campaign.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: China report.

Online and digital giving is growing in India—70 percent of surveyed donors indicated their preference to donate using digital platforms or methods.

Forty-five percent of surveyed donors noted that they only donated occasionally, such as on special days or during events. Baby Boomers were the generation with the most donors that donated regularly (29 percent).

Forty-seven percent of the surveyed donors noted donation fatigue due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 related causes and issues.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: India report.

Crowdfunding, seen as the most efficient giving vehicle in Kenya, is growing rapidly and increasing fundraising accessibility for nonprofit organizations. In Kenya, crowdfunding would benefit from increased accountability, flexible regulations, and campaign creativity.

Workplace giving is boosting a culture of giving and sense of community among employees in Kenyan organizations.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: Kenya report.

There has been an acceleration in individual digital giving in Singapore in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as online donations and online volunteering sign-ups noticed a rise of 37 percent and 29 percent respectively, during mid-2020 to early 2021.

In-kind donations, as a new way of giving in Singapore, also increased during the surveyed time, as more than 70 percent of individual donors gave in-kind contributions, and more than 53 percent bought goods and services from nonprofit organizations as a form of donation.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: Singapore report.

The adoption of crowdfunding by the voluntary sector in South Africa was greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail giving and mobile giving also saw rapid growth in the early stages of the pandemic, but slowly waned as lockdown and restrictions subsided.

Black tax, an informal, entrenched form of giving to family members, continues to influence philanthropy in South Africa. A lot of people see it as a stabilizer contributing to the economic advancement of many, while others see it as a social burden and remnant of the country’s racist colonial system.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: South Africa report.

Giving by Automatic Response Services (ARS)—a giving vehicle unique to South Korea—allows donations to be made by a phone call. In 2020, giving by ARS amounted to USD 37.7 million and witnessed a huge spike in use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO), another unique giving vehicle in South Korea, is an automatic electronic payment service that makes donations to nonprofit organizations directly through the donor’s bank account. Between 2016 and 2020, overall giving by GIRO amounted to USD 206.5 million.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, donations in South Korea via crowdfunding platforms increased by 71 percent, from USD 18.8 million in 2019, to USD 30.8 million in 2020.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: South Korea report.

The rise of online giving among younger and older donors in the United Kingdom has been partly facilitated by crowdfunding ventures and platforms.

A hybrid philanthropic trajectory is most likely to be seen in the United Kingdom, where online interactions accompany and support offline engagements.

Learn more about the Digital for Good: United Kingdom report.

Looking Ahead

New societal challenges—such as climate change, displacement & forced migration, global health, and military invasions, are likely to accelerate new ways of giving and their rapid proliferation. While contactless giving, crowdfunding, and rounding up, among other emerging giving vehicles can lead to the further globalization and democratization of giving, online/virtual volunteering, as an innovation of philanthropy, can change the way nonprofit organizations involve donors and volunteers in their operations.

In order to enhance the implementation and use of new giving vehicles, long-term support from governments – including regulations, policies, public campaigns – is critical in strengthening an enabling environment for philanthropy. Simultaneously, further research on new ways of giving is invaluable to be ready for the emerging new era of philanthropy. Defining new terminologies, continuing to collect, analyze, and publish internationally comparable data, and encouraging knowledge sharing between philanthropic actors around the world is paramount for greater social impact.

Access the Global Perspectives report.