Most Philanthropists Want to Remain Anonymous
30 May 2013 at 10:34 am
Most philanthropists would rather not publicise their giving or actively promote their causes, according to a report by Forbes Insights.
The BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index: Measuring Commitment in Europe, Asia, Middle East found 77 per cent of survey respondents said they either insist on remaining anonymous or do not actively publicise their charity.
Described as the first index of its kind, the BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index by Forbes Insights measures the commitment of individual philanthropists from Europe, the Middle East and Asia in terms of three main criteria: the amounts given, innovation and the effort invested to promote their causes.
The data for the index is derived from a survey of more than 300 individuals—divided equally among the three regions and with at least $5 million in investable assets—conducted by Forbes Insights between January and March 2013.
Additional interviews with ultra-wealthy philanthropists in these regions were conducted by Forbes Insights.
The survey found motivations for giving vary vastly by region, and are embedded in regional cultures and histories.
In the Middle East, religious faith is the top motivation (63%). In Asia, it’s the desire to give back to society (25%). In Europe, it’s equally family legacy, altruistic desire and a sense of duty (17% each).
The commitment measurement of individual philanthropists reveals Europe and Asia are at a halfway mark in their progress toward total commitment to individual philanthropy, while the Middle East is roughly a third of the way there, according to the BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index.
“While the lower score in the Middle East presents an apparent paradox in light of the Islamic imperative toward charitable giving, this might be partly explained by the religious injunction to be discreet about one’s giving,” the report said.
Promotion is one of the factors measured by the Index.
The Index looked at promotion as a means to help the cause. None of the regions studied are even halfway there in terms of the reach of the maximum score.
The Middle East is the region where philanthropists are the most averse to talking about their philanthropy, scoring just 5.4 out of a possible 25 points. Europe is the most open region, scoring 10.4; Asia scores a slightly lower 9.8.
Sixty percent of survey respondents from the Middle East said that they insisted on anonymity about their giving, as compared with 38 per cent in Europe and 26 per cent in Asia.
Even though Europe has the highest promotion score, talking about your own giving is somewhat controversial.
“In Europe, for French, German or Belgian people, it’s still really personal. It’s bad manners [to herald one’s donations],” explains Nathalie Sauvanet, Head of Individual Philanthropy at BNP Paribas Wealth Management.
She says that people are just now beginning to feel more at ease when addressing peers about philanthropy, showing a bit less reluctance in this situation than in discussing their charities with the press or the general public.