The Increasing Role of Philanthropy in Fin4Dev

Suruchi Aggarwal • 20 June 2019

      The 2019 Bain Philanthropy Report showed that social sector funding has grown at a pace of 11% over the past five years. While the contribution of the government - 6% of national GDP - remains the largest, private philanthropy's growth rate of 15% has outstripped that of public funding, at 10%. The financial support contributed by domestic corporations and individual philanthropists therefore has huge potential in enabling India's progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. 


      Philanthropy has emerged as one of the most significant catalysts in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. Philanthropic frameworks have moved beyond simple funding to leveraging cross sectoral resources, setting long term goals, igniting scalable social and technological innovation, and building creative partnerships for impact. 


      Interestingly, each and every cause that philanthropists and foundations support is included in the ambitious scope of the SDGs, which encompass a wide range of issues in the economic, social and environmental spheres. What needs to be done is mapping of these initiatives to the global agenda. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors developed two guides on "Philanthropy and the SDGs" which were presented at the event. The first one is a "Getting Started" guide and the second one is a toolkit to advise on "Practical Tools for Alignment". These publications are basically a guide on how to align the interventions to the SDGs. 


Launch of the Philanthropic Guide and Tools
Sonvi Khanna, DASRA (left) and Shoko Noda, Resident Representative UNDP India (right) presenting the two guides on "Philanthropy and the SDGs". 


      Most philanthropic funders will see that their missions are affirmed by the SDGs, whether they fund domestically or internationally. The toolkits comprise the frameworks including a three-pronged approach through which organisations can contextualise their work within the SDGs through planning, assessing progress and reporting and using date, a pathway towards creating collaboratives and addressing challenges in working with the SDGs. 


      There are a number of tools available to facilitate SDG alignment, including the SDG Philanthropy Platform's SDG Indicator Wizard, which helps organisations identify the goals and indicators their work is most aligned with, as well as the SDG India Index developed by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), designed to provide an aggregate assessment of the performance of all Indian States and Union Territories and to help leaders and change makers evaluate their performance on social, economic and environmental parameters. The SDG India Index does this by tracking the progress of all the States and Union Territories (UTs) on a set of 62 National Indicators, measuring their progress on the outcomes of interventions and schemes of the Government of India. 


Panel 1
The first panel discussion revolved around the theme "The Changing Face of Philanthropy in India". 


      Funders may also find that the SDGs can help them frame issues, connect with other change-makers, strengthen partnerships and communicate about their progress - all for greater impact. Foundations and their grantee partners can take part in this global effort by contributing funds, implementing programs, sharing knowledge and aligning their objectives with those of the SDGs. 


      The discussion centred around the importance of collaboration within the sector and beyond, shifting priorities from short-term and project-level outcomes to creating systemic change and on new approaches to scaling impact on pressing local and global issues. 


Panel 2
The second panel discussion revolved around the theme "High Impact Philanthropy and the Ecosystem". 


      This increased emphasis on outcomes reporting vies rise to an even more pressing need for all actors within the development ecosystem to align further to the SDGs to have a common understanding of data that is relevant to collect and analyse and benchmarks to refer to. Many organisations are also working on developing standard measures for impact, since its definition is often so subjective. Community dynamics and infrastructural issues within particular contexts can pose obstacles to the intended outcomes of a particular intervention and the importance of ensuring last-mile delivery and verification. The focus is on increasing measures to engage and empower Indian corporations, foundations and individual donors to support evidence-backed, highly effective interventions and programmes. 


      We are at a very inspiring stage for philanthropy in India, where an increasing number of philanthropists are joining the cadre of structured and strategic philanthropy, irrespective of their quantum of giving. 


      The event saw a number of compelling discussions on the changing face of philanthropy, its potential for charging the development space within India with financial support, innovation and rigour, and the importance of the SDG framework in uniting efforts towards building more inclusive growth for the country. 


The views expressed in this blog and the report are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.