5 Ways Philanthropy Can Jump-Start Mexico

Despite advances, Mexico is at the back of the pack in philanthropy

By Débora Montesinos, HIPGive contributor

A study in 36 countries from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, revealed something worrying: Mexico is in last place among nations that have good philanthropy practices.

To reach their conclusion, the researchers analyzed the participation of civil society, companies, and governments that promote philanthropy as a means of social development.

But the diagnosis shouldn’t be discouraging! In fact, it opens the door to understand why philanthropic activities are beneficial, which is a first step to advancing them. Here are five ways philanthropy is beneficial:

1. It promotes social development and access to basic services.

Society has vast needs and philanthropy can create mechanisms to support the most in-need sectors. A few examples are: access to health services, education, better homes, employment, nutrition, assistance for the elderly, financial security, and environmental conservation.

2. Civil organizations improve their country’s economy.

In the last 20 years, civil organizations have become a principal employer in Mexico. So if Mexico thinks about encouraging altruistic activities, it’s also getting the push it needs to create the annual employment that is so needed.

In Mexico, there are around 20,000 civil organizations registered, and they generate around one million jobs annually. But, of those, only 44% are paid, and the rest are volunteer positions. And, although at first glance the one-million figure seems hopeful, it’s actually a bit low—it places Mexico last among the 22 countries studied in terms of jobs created. The participation of Mexico’s organized civil society totals about two percent of the country’s GDP.

3. It strengthens the social fabric.

Civil organizations strengthen the social fabric, since they create stability in communities, generate respect for human rights, facilitate communication and interaction between society and political actors, and generate a culture of tolerance and mutual respect.

4. It improves public perception of institutions.

A study by American Express Mexico, “Mexican attitudes and thoughts about social responsibility,” found that when a company implements social responsibility strategies it can improve its sales up to 150%. Moreover, almost 40% of consumers stop buying products if they know they come from companies that are not socially responsible.

5. It stimulates social prosperity.

Alliances between different social actors are one of the most effective strategies for reaching sustainable development. That’s what happens in developed countries, and the same could work in less developed countries like Mexico.