Philanthropic activities in Asia have grown significantly in the past decades  More and more people and institutions are voluntary donating time and money to public causes. These activities may range from student volunteers to corporate foundations, and from gifts of a few dollars from the man on the street to gifts of millions of dollars a year from high-income families. Regardless of the size, ACSEP regards these voluntary gifts as extremely valuable for society. With this research and education programme, ACSEP aims to understand and teach how these voluntary gifts can be used to make a greater social impact.

Effective giving is giving to charities or public goods that generate the highest possible social impact. In other words, it is about optimizing social welfare with voluntary resources. Since voluntary donations also generate happiness for the giver, effective giving seeks the balance between optimizing utility of the donor, and optimizing it for the receiver. 

The Effective Giving Research Programme approaches this from two different perspectives. 

First, it aims to gain a  better understanding of the biases in human decision-making when making philanthropic decisions. What motivates people to donate to charity? What is the role of culture, values, religion or other factors in the decisions to donate? What are common biases when we make donations? 

That leads us to the second approach: What kind of rational model can we use to determine to which cause to donate our time and money to optimize its? There are causes that are more legitimate than others, programmes that have proven to make a bigger social impact than others; and organisational structure used by charities that are more efficient than others. We use the wide variety of empirical academic sources to design models that can help (big and small) philanthropists in making the right (rational) choice on to where, whom and what cause they donate to. 

Strategic philanthropy is a topic closely related to effective giving, but focuses more on ‘professional’ philanthropists such as foundations and non-profit organisations. Although the main goal is still to improve decision-making to generate the biggest social impact with each voluntary donation - strategic philanthropy approaches this more from a management perspective. For example, how should a foundations select the right partners if it aims to make the biggest social impact? Or how could they determine the best approach to a social problem? 

 

Events

We are currently planning our upcoming events for Impact Assessment and Social Performance Management. Please come back to our page again for future updates or write in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be included into our mailing list to receive updates on our upcoming events and research.

Below are some of ACSEP publications and events that have contributed to our knowledge of social performance management and impact assessment among social purpose organisations in Asia.

Philanthropic Foundations in Asia: Insights from Singapore, Myanmar and China

By Pauline Tan and Swee-Sum Lam

Technical Report No. 2
(commissioned by The Agence Française de Dévelopement)


Download the Publication

Impact Investments by Foundations in Singapore and Hong Kong

By Pauline Tan and Swee-Sum Lam

Technical Report No. 1

(commissioned by The Sasakawa Peace Foundation)

Download the Publication

Overview of Charity Sector in Singapore: 2007-2013

By Alfred Koh, Swee-Sum Lam and Weina Zhang


Social Entrepreneurship in Asia: Working Paper No. 4

Download the Publication

Framing the Roots of Philanthropy 

By Swee-Sum Lam, Gabriel Henry Jacob, and David Jeremiah Seah

Basic Research Working Paper No. 2 


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Mar 2018
23
Temasek Trust Corporate Giving Practice Series
Venue: Mochtar Riady Building, NUS Business School

The Temasek Trust Corporate Giving series aims to develop the capacities of corporate givers in Singapore to make them more impactful philanthropists.

Our Research Fellow, Dr Frank Hubers kicked off the first of the Temasek Trust Corporate Giving Workshops on the 23rd of March 2018, where he discussed the topic of funder-grantee partnerships.
Jun 2017
29-30
International Behavioural Insights Conference (2017)
Venue: Marina Mandarin Orchard

During a break-out session on behavioural insights on philanthropy, Research Fellow Dr. Frank Hubers presented a study on the effect of mood on philanthropic donations. Affiliated faculty Dr. Weina Zhang moderated the session.  
Feb 2017
10
Philanthropy Social Innovation in Community Health (Case Study Workshop)
Venue: Mochtar Riady Building, NUS Business School

The workshop traced the growth and development of Lien Foundation - the first grant-giving organization in Singapore to professionalize. Taking the example of a specific project in the area of eldercare, the case study demonstrates how philanthropy can be conducted entrepreneurially by identifying the resources available and the principles to abide by in the decision making process within a dynamic environment. 

The takeaway from this workshop is applicable not only for philanthropic organizations, but social organizations that operate in an unpredictable environment.
Oct 2014
10
Philanthropic Psychology: The Psychological Science of Giving
Venue: Mochtar Riady Building, NUS Business School

The workshop traced the growth and development of Lien Foundation - the first grant-giving organization in Singapore to professionalize. Taking the example of a specific project in the area of eldercare, the case study demonstrates how philanthropy can be conducted entrepreneurially by identifying the resources available and the principles to abide by in the decision making process within a dynamic environment.

The takeaway from this workshop is applicable not only for philanthropic organizations, but social organizations that operate in an unpredictable environment.

The Strategic Philanthropy and Effective Giving programme consists of closely related research and educational activities. For the period of 2018 to 2020, we have planned, among others: :

  • Survey research on the cultural and relational drivers of philanthropy in Singapore
  • Case studies of existing social enterprises and social innovation projects in Singapore
  • Executive education workshop series for corporate foundations (in cooperation with Temasek Trust Foundation)
  • Executive education series for ‘new’ philanthropists
  • A guide book on effective giving

Please come back to our page to check on updates of our future research and education efforts in Strategic Philanthropy and Effective Giving. .

Collaboration Opportunities

We welcome collaboration opportunities and support for our research efforts to advance understanding and impactful practice of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. If you are interested in research collaborations or funding our research efforts, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..