Everyday Giving in India: Harnessing the potential of a billion givers for social impact

May 02, 2019


Key Questions

  • Who is an everyday giver and how do they give to others?
  • What are the key motivations of everyday givers in India?
  • What are the primary channels and challenges of everyday giving in India?
  • Who are the ecosystem players influencing everyday giving in India?

From September 2018 to April 2019, Sattva undertook a first-of-its-kind study on the everyday giving ecosystem in India, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies. The study is a comprehensive mapping of the giving ecosystem, including the givers, the NGOs that engage with retail givers, online and offline giving channels, and the enabling ecosystem, their practices, successes and barriers, and provides actionable recommendations into unlocking more potential from India’s everyday giver.

An important third pillar in this narrative is samaaj – a strong society requires strong citizenship, and this makes everyday giving indispensable to India’s sustained vision of a vibrant democracy. Everyday giving is a resilient and sustainable form of funding and show of societal support for India’s large non-profit sector.

“Kindness to strangers is an idea that has deep philosophical roots. It is a vision of humanity that transcends all religions and also tribalism. It is a cosmopolitan, universalist idea that allows ordinary people to stretch themselves. While it is natural and desirable that we give of our resources to those we know and trust, or to those who are like us, there is also something deeply ingrained in us that allows us to feel empathy to the stranger in distress. We can, if we are mindful, see ourselves in that stranger. And we respond with the same kindness that we would hope to receive ourselves. This report on Everyday Giving is about all kindness, but perhaps especially about kindness to strangers.” – Rohini Nilekani

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  • India’s everyday givers are ordinary citizens, from within and outside the country, who contribute their money, skills, voice and goods in small but meaningful ways to four chief destinations in India: local community, religion, disaster relief and social purpose organisations (SPOs).
  • India’s everyday givers are motivated by four triggers: convenience, urgency, community and impact. Givers prefer to engage with social causes personally but are impeded in their giving by lack of information on reliable SPOs, relevant avenues for giving, and regulatory barriers.
  • There are four types of ecosystem players: influencers who trigger everyday givers, funders who support EG solutions, enablers who support fundraising and create knowledge, and the policy ecosystem working on regulatory interventions.
  • In order to achieve the potential for everyday giving in India and build a sustainable culture of citizen engagement, it is critical to meaningfully engage with everyday givers, gain congisance of Indian realities of everyday giving, leverage mainstream communities, and encourage givers to mindful ways of giving.