This article originally appeared on the website of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
A first-of-its-kind research project, The Global Philanthropy Tracker (GPT) measures cross-border donations from individuals and organizations around the world. The GPT presents data on four flows—philanthropic outflows, official development assistance (ODA), remittances, and private capital investment—for 47 countries. The data gathered represent the year 2020 or the most recent year with available data.
The global challenges of 2020, from social injustice to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate disasters, put the philanthropic sector to the test and provided an opportunity to reconceptualize the role of philanthropy in foreign aid and sustainable development. By reporting on these four flows, the GPT demonstrates how civil societies, governments, businesses, and individuals collaborate to address societal issues around the globe.
The 2023 GPT, the 11th edition of the index, bridges the gap between an increasing need for philanthropy and the lack of knowledge about the scope of cross-border giving.
Countries covered in the 2023 GPT
The 47 countries represented in the 2023 GPT report cover every world region and varying levels of economic development. They represent a combined 61 percent of the world population and 85 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP).
In the report, the countries and the data are grouped by income level as defined by the World Bank‘s measure of gross national income (GNI). Using GNI allows for a more holistic view on the countries, accounting for factors such as quality of life and school enrollment. Such social factors can have an effect on an individual’s propensity to give.
Cross-border philanthropic outflows from 47 countries, 2020.
Total Cross-Border Resources
In total, the countries covered by the 2023 GPT contributed USD 70 billion in philanthropic outflows in 2020. When combined with ODA, remittances, and private capital investment, the total rises to USD 841 billion. The largest portion of this money comes from the high-income countries, which contributed about 95 percent of the total amount measured.
Outflows by Cause and Recipient Region
Among the countries with data available on supported charitable causes, education and health were the most supported causes, consistent with the findings in the 2020 report. These two causes directly align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 4 (Quality Education) and 3 (Global Health and Well-Being), respectively. However, a majority of countries do not detail how giving to certain causes aligns with the SDGs.
In terms of the geographic destination of donations, Africa was the most supported region among the countries with available data. This top destination has remained constant since 2018, with Asia also remaining a top recipient of cross-border philanthropy. Meanwhile, Europe has seen an increase in the number of countries sending cross-border donations to the continent.
For information on further changes since 2018 and potential future trends, please visit the Trends & Themes page.
This research highlights how philanthropic organizations can promote innovation and cross-sector collaboration. The challenges presented by global issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a rise in new methods of giving, particularly in digital form. Vehicles such as crowdfunding or mobile payments allowed for continued support for philanthropic causes despite lockdowns and movement restrictions.
Based on the information gathered in this research, the report proposes three key areas where global philanthropy can be strengthened:
- Enhance local philanthropic ecosystems through regional collaborations;
- Establish mechanisms to mobilize local philanthropy in addressing global challenges;
- Develop international standards for data tracking and promote data transparency.