What is a diaspora? Diaspora is defined as the dispersion or movement of a people from their original homeland. In communities of immigrants and their descendants, people adjust to their communities in a surprising way: by giving back. In my Sikh community, having a strong diaspora community is an important part of my life.
In a 2014, Nidhi Raj Kapoor studied “diaspora philanthropy,” in the U.S. by interviewing communities from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Titled “Making a World of Difference: How BRICS Diaspora Give,” Kapoor concludes that members of these communities often distrust charities from their home countries. They distrust the governments and infrastructure and worry that their money won’t go to who it is intended to help. Instead, they are eager to donate their time and money to U.S. based organizations. With nearly $51.6 billion provided from family members back home, these groups are a great resource for philanthropic causes.
“The U.S. diaspora are more philanthropically-conscious and giving than ever.”
– Nidhi Raj Kapoor
While every diaspora group is different, there were some interesting common patterns. For example, donors tend to give due to emotional responses as opposed to strategic reasons. Natural disasters in home countries are a big reason to give money, evident in how the top cause donated to by diaspora communities is emergency disaster relief.
As I referenced in my last post, education is an essential part of philanthropy. This is clear in how Indian Americans tend to give equally to U.S. and Indian organizations. However, they have given million dollar gifts to U.S. nonprofits, in particular to the universities they attended.
How should nonprofits take advantage of this diaspora philanthropy? Nonprofits in these countries can reach out to these communities to remind donors of their purpose. Many of these nonprofits are not connected to the government, which is what makes possible donors cautious of giving back to their home countries. In the U.S., this is a great time for American philanthropy. Groups can utilize the positive attitude diaspora communities have taken towards charity and use it to their advantage.