E.g., 07/22/2019
E.g., 07/22/2019

Diaspora Philanthropy: Private Giving and Public Policy

September 2010

Diaspora Philanthropy: Private Giving and Public Policy

Philanthropy is part of the cultural fabric of many communities, driven by complex individual and social dynamics. But it is also affected by public policy in both donor and developing countries. Immigrants and their descendants have long maintained substantial ties to their communities of origin, including through voluntary giving. But there are several reasons to believe that diaspora philanthropy is evolving, to include the emergence of new development actors, new trends in global philanthropy, and new directions in diaspora engagement.

This report analyzes the evolving role of diaspora philanthropy in countries of origin, and examines the emergence of nongovernmental development actors and new trends in global philanthropy, such as strategic giving and use of online platforms to harness small donations. It also discusses public policies, in both donor and developing countries, that can encourage or discourage philanthropic giving, and provides several ideas on how U.S. policymakers might begin to engage diaspora philanthropists.

This would include tax incentives to promote diaspora philanthropy, technical support for charity registration in the United States, incentive funds to promote social innovation, capacity building and advice for diaspora donors, responsible giving forums for high-profile diaspora donors, and information, outreach, and knowledge management.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. The New Context of Philanthropy and Development

A. The Emergence of New Development Actors

B. The Emergence of New Philanthropists

C. The New Context of Diaspora Giving

III. Experiences of Diaspora Philanthropy

A. Individual Donors

B. Donations via Intermediaries

IV. Challenges and Lessons Learned

A. Agenda Setting and Identifying Priorities

B. Ambiguous Objectives, Ambiguous Outcomes

C. Lack of Trust in the Voluntary and Nonprofit Sector

D. Structural Limits on the Impact of Private Philanthropy

E. Capacity Building

F. Representation

V. Public Policy Issues

A. Policies to Promote (or Discourage) Philanthropic Giving

B. Policies to Build Capacity for Responsible and Strategic Giving

VI. Policy Options and Conclusions

A. Tax Incentives to Promote Diaspora Philanthropy

B. Technical Support for Charity Registration in the United States

C. Incentive Funds to Promote Social Innovation

D. Capacity Building and Advice for Diaspora Donors

E.  Responsible Giving Forums for High-Profile Diaspora Donors

F.  Information, Outreach, and Knowledge Management