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Philanthropy + Anthropology= Philanthropology

July 8, 2010

Philanthropology: Where do you fall?  It’s a pretty common understanding that a lot of the things we do as “adults” come from what we were exposed to and taught when we were younger.

So it’s logical that Barclays Wealth, the leading global wealth manager, has determined that there are several different types of “philanthropists” or “donaters of money,” based in large part on your own background:

Privileged Youth: Typically younger, and have inherited their wealth. Give their time and energy to charitable causes as a means of offsetting some of their guilt about their comfortable lifestyles. They are very generous with their time, and use their social networks to support predominantly social welfare causes across the globe.

Eco Givers: Eco Givers are most likely to be young females who have worked hard for their wealth. They are demanding of how their donations to charity are spent and, fundamentally concerned with the issue of climate change, this group predominantly supports environmental charities.

Altruistic Entrepreneurs: Middle-aged business owners with strong ties to their roots, this group’s wealth is self-made. With a strong belief that successful people have a duty to share their wealth, their philanthropic behaviour is often driven by their desire to support the communities in which they grew up.

Reactive Donors: Predominantly high-earning male executives, this group usually gives to charity because they believe that it is expected by their peers, rather than through a social or moral motivation. They also tend to give indirectly, through purchases from brands that support charities.

Cultured Inheritors: In their late 50’s and 60’s, this group’s wealth tends to be self-made although they also have inherited wealth. They plan to bequeath their wealth to their families. They wish to continue to the legacies of their parents, who may also have been heavily involved in charitable work. Their social and moral beliefs drive their motivation to give.

Professional Philanthropists: Consisting of high-level executives and successful business owners, this is the oldest group and their wealth is almost exclusively self-made. They support causes not only through donations but also by offering their business expertise, leading them to be more demanding of charities as they want to see the impact of their donations.

So, not to go over the same territory as other blogs, but: what category do you fall under? Cross country movers will get you from point a to point b. Personally, I don’t think I fit “neatly” into any of these categories at all and I can think of a few people who don’t either. Of course, note the caveat at the top, which says these are categories of “high net worth/income individuals.”

Even through the Barclay’s categories, one can tell that a lot of people give for various societal reasons. The “Privileged Youth” likes to use their social networks and offset their guilt. The “Reactive Donors” give because of peer pressure. “Professional Philanthropists” donate because of their business expertise.

We’ve talked on this blog about how South Asians may not be giving as much as other ethnic groups because of the societal influences that surround them, such as a mistrust of how the money is being handled or suspicion about the lack of transparency of the charities. The ‘save-save-save’ mentality that is embedded into so many Asian cultures may be another factor. (And yet, that saving has gotten them somewhere. India’s GDP is the 5th highest in the world, just behind Japan and China and beating out even the UK.)

If you don’t fit neatly into these categories — why don’t you tell us what type of philanthropist you are? Do your philanthropic ways sprout from your cultural background? From how or what you were taught to do as you grew up? Or was it from growing up and observing the world around you? Did you realize there was a need and you strived to fill it or do you give for other reasons? It’d be great to be able to get at the heart of “philanthropology” from your perspective!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 1:16 pm

    Along the same lines, there is an article in the SF Gate about something very similar in terms of analyzing the reasons people give philanthropically!

  2. Ashok kumar singh permalink
    December 18, 2012 5:56 am

    I have learnt to help towards social cause from my parents, and social environment. Its not possible for every person to be sound in all aspects of life.whosoever you are ,if u think that you have something i.e. money, education etc which can be used to help others needy people, you should definitely do.


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