Difference in Philanthropy between
1st and 2nd or 3rd World Countries

First-world countries are miles ahead of 2nd or 3rd world countries in just about every metric of progress and development. So it makes sense that philanthropic efforts between these countries would also be considerably distinct.

In a report published by the Charities Aids Foundation, it was found that seven of the 10 most giving countries in the world were high-income nations. This includes first-world nations like Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand, and more.

This stark difference in giving is largely influenced by conflicting priorities, political agendas, and societal structures that are prevalent in such regions. We believe there is something to be learned by exploring just how different the approach to philanthropy is between a 1st world country and its 2nd or 3rd world counterparts.

For more clarity, we’ll be taking the example of our very own India, a prominent 2nd world country.

Understanding the Nature of Philanthropy in India

Philanthropy isn’t a new concept in India. The act of giving as some people proclaim it has been deeply entrenched in the culture of India. Across the various religions and cultures India nurtures, being charitable is considered a holy deed that brings oneself closer to god.

“Daan” or “the charitable act of giving” was a prominent concept in India way before philanthropy first came into the picture. That said, contemporary philanthropy has taken over traditional concepts of giving in recent times.

Beyond the simple act of giving, attention is now being diverted to a diverse range of pressing issues, especially those that are more economical and environmental in nature. Non-Governmental Organizations have played an instrumental role in bolstering contemporary philanthropy in the country.

These NGOs in India have their hands full tackling a variety of issues that include poverty, healthcare, education, gender equality, environmental conversation, and much more. Another significant element driving philanthropy in India is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

CSR essentially mandates that corporations contribute a significant portion of their wealth to addressing various social issues plaguing India. As such, it isn’t uncommon to witness affluent individuals in the country engaging in charitable endeavors.

Despite all of these efforts, India isn’t even close to shedding the “2nd world country” tag. Our healthcare sector is in shambles, constant environmental degradation has left once thriving cities like Bangalore dealing with an unprecedented drought, and education remains elusive for many across the rural landscape of India.

Philanthropy in First World Countries

Contrary to a country like India, philanthropy in first-world countries like Canada, for instance, centers around addressing first-world problems. These problems could entail cultural preservation, mental health, animal welfare, and the preservation of art to name a few. Right off the bat, you can see the contrast between the problems first-world countries have to deal with and the 3rd world problems that are relatively graver in nature.

Philanthropy in first-world countries also revolves around individual donations. These individuals feel motivated to give because of the well-organized frameworks and tax incentives in place.

Philanthropy in these nations also benefits significantly from robust infrastructure and technological innovation that is absent in third-world nations. This makes first-world countries far more efficient in allocating resources where they are most needed. These nations also have competently functioning think tanks and research institutions dedicated to addressing pressing social and economic issues.

At first glance, philanthropy in first-world nations may appear like a well-oiled machine. While this is true, philanthropy in these countries isn’t without its challenges. The concentration of enormous legislative powers in the hands of very few has resulted in the perpetuation of existing inequalities. Donor fatigue is also quite common in these countries.

Some people simply give up on charitable endeavors when they don’t see any meaningful change stemming from their efforts. These countries also often end up ignoring interconnected global issues.

Finding Common Ground to Tackle Issues of the World

Judging by what we’ve learned so far, it is now easy to see how philanthropy practices differ between 1st world and 2nd or 3rd world nations. While developed nations have focused their philanthropic efforts on 1st world problems like cultural preservation and animal welfare, countries like India are still struggling to alleviate 3rd world problems like poverty and inadequate healthcare infrastructure.

The conflicting priorities among these countries seem to be changing in light of issues like climate change that will affect the entire planet indiscriminately. The introduction of SDGs by the United Nations is now compelling 1st and 3rd world nations to finally arrive on the same page in hopes of attaining a global utopia where progress can be enjoyed by all instead of a few.

There is a wider recognition to take action on a global scale. As such, cross-border collaboration between different countries that involve resource and knowledge sharing has become the need of the hour.

First-world countries, with their infinite resources and privileges, can uplift 2nd and 3rd-world nations by contributing to grassroots initiatives active within these countries.

2nd and 3rd world countries can learn a lot from their 1st world counterparts. They can leverage practices that have worked wonders for 1st world countries in a bid to strengthen their own local philanthropic eco-system.

The Bottom Line

For a very long time, the first-world nations have been ignoring certain issues that they perceive to be of less importance, leaving second and 3rd world nations to fend for themselves. However, policymakers and influential folks need to understand that there are certain issues that extend beyond borders.

A country like Canada or the UK needs to understand that they’ll never be able to control problems like climate change or mass migration if they don’t divert some of their philanthropic efforts to 2nd and 3rd world countries.

We are at a point in time where countries need to understand that making an impact that’s sustainable is impossible if only a few across the globe thrive while others remain marginalized and impoverished.

Problems like poverty, education inequality, and healthcare inefficiency aren’t just a problem for 2nd or 3rd world countries. These are issues that will affect the world at large, plunging global economies into chaos if left ignored any longer.

Philanthropy needs to transcend sovereign boundaries and reach people who need them the most. An equitable utopia is only possible with collaboration and mutual learning among nations, regardless of where they fall on the privilege scale.