Asian Philanthropy Often Has Ancient Roots

December 12, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

Effective fundraising requires such a sophisticated, nuanced approach that large-scale categorization will no longer suffice in many fundraising areas. For example, nonprofits might need to look more closely at the term “Asian.”

In her book “Diversity and Philanthropy” Lilya Wagner provides a look at the backgrounds of Asian donors, both in their countries of origin and those that are part of the American fabric.

  • India. Philanthropic activity in India has a long history. Its philanthropic culture is rooted in religious traditions through which charitable acts were recognized acts of righteous virtue, from Hinduism through to Christianity.
  • China. A vast array of nongovernmental organizations has been trying to meet daily needs as government is no longer even pretending to provide cradle-to-grave benefits. Still, philanthropy has been part of Chinese culture since the earliest days.
  • Japan. Although Japanese philanthropy might appear far from generous statistically, Japan has a long history of philanthropy and fundraising, which in Japan are deeply tied to cultural factors and personal interest.
  • South Korea. In common with other Asian-American populations, Korean traditions of giving tend to be informal or non-institutional, with giving to family, friends and other close relatives before giving to nonprofit organizations.
  • Philippines. Traditional Filipino giving centers around sharing and reciprocity, as well as the importance of giving to family, self-support or mutual assistance.
  • Indonesia. The Western concept of giving is still somewhat foreign, but in many ways Indonesian practices reflect the Western view that contributing without any expectation of return is valued.