Over the last decade, philanthropy in India has grown rapidly. There has been healthy growth across corporate, ‘retail’, and HNI-led philanthropy. The Giving Pledge, changes to the Companies Act (CSR), and crowd-funding opportunities have all provided impetus to the sector. At the same time, there is a sharper focus on innovation, scale, sustainability, and accountability in the social impact sector. New areas of thematic interest, such as governance, scientific research, and independent media are emerging.
These developments in the philanthropy and social impact sectors have been accompanied by a growing ecosystem of support. Even at its relatively nascent stage, the ecosystem encompasses a range of service providers across domains such as legal, compliance, strategy, talent, fundraising, communication and incubation.
However, it is a fragmented and inadequate ecosystem, with four critical gaps:
There is a dearth of organisations studying the philanthropic and social impact sectors. As a result, decision-making and debate is inhibited by the lack of credible, quality data and knowledge.
There are no neutral, independent platforms for inter-sectoral dialogue, nor for developing coherent sector vision and voice. The few networking opportunities that do exist are mostly oriented to matchmaking between interested funders and social impact organisations.
There are several capacity-building programs being offered for the sectors, mainly focused on building technical and functional skills, in addition to thematic expertise. However, there is clear gap when it comes to developing capacity on leadership, governance, and institution building.
Lastly, as the sectors expand and diversify, it becomes ever more critical to start looking at norms and practices that govern them. These norms would range from the relatively obvious ones of transparency and accountability to the deeper ones that speak to values of collaboration, equity, and inclusion.
Thus, beyond these services, the support required would also include broader, sector - enabling inputs such as data and insights on funding flows, platforms for norm-setting, cross-learning and sector benchmarking, advocacy for an enabling policy environment, etc.