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US tops philanthropic giving, says BNP index

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According to the fourth annual BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index by Forbes Insights, the United States remains the leader globally in personal philanthropy. 

Europe comes in as a close second, followed by Asia, with the Middle East achieving the sharpest increase in philanthropic giving. 

In partnership with parent company BNP Paribas Wealth Management, Bank of the West Wealth Management uses the Philanthropy Index to better serve its clients with an understanding of the goals and objectives of the world's most impactful philanthropists.

Respondents to this year's survey – philanthropists from four continents, each with more than $5 million in investable assets – seek to affect permanent change through their charitable giving. They are focused on creating sustainable outcomes for the organisations benefiting from philanthropy, and are dedicated to using new and innovative ways to accomplish those goals.

"Philanthropy and charitable giving are consistently ranked as one of the most important aspects of a client's legacy," says Pierre Ramadier, senior executive vice president and head of the Wealth Management Group at Bank of the West. "In the United States, almost 40 percent of philanthropists plan to leave at least a third of their wealth to charity, an encouraging sign that many Americans are driven to leave the world a better place than it was when they arrived."

American philanthropists were most motivated by personal experience with the cause at hand (43 per cent) rather than through sense of duty, desire to give back or faith. Almost all countries were focused on "health" as the top area of philanthropic giving (United States at 60 per cent), while Asia as a region chose "environment." Respondents in the United States were more likely to give to local causes (24 per cent) and they saw the best form of charitable collaboration as working with other individual philanthropists (48 per cent), rather than partnering with philanthropic organisations, as is the case in Europe and Asia. More than two in three American philanthropists stand out for their commitment to eradicating societal problems, such as disease (68 per cent).

"We work with our clients every day to help them find imaginative ways to leave a positive mark on their communities and the world at large – whether they are making impact investments, funding startups that focus on socially-responsible endeavors, or finding new ways to work with other like-minded philanthropists," says Ramadier.

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