European Research Network on Philanthropy

ESSEC Business School
Chair in Philanthropy

Arthur Gautier
ESSEC Business School
Chair in Philanthropy
Email: gautierart@

Anne-Clair Pache
ESSEC Business School
Chair in Philanthropy
Email: gautierart@

Individual members

Edith Bruder
Centre d’Etude et de Recherche sur la Philanthropie
Email: edithbruder@

Charles Sellen
Centre d’Etude et de Recherche sur la Philanthropie
Fabrique Spinoza
email: charles.sellen@

Current research projects on philanthropy in France

The Centre d’Etude et de Recherche sur la Philanthropie (CERPHI) is a private research centre dedicated to increasing the understanding of the philanthropic sector and improving its practice through research. An important resource for research on philanthropy is at the CerPhi website (, where a large amount of our data, documents and publications are available.

Recent examples of the CerPhi’s research capacity include a sociological survey on ‘Urban Food Scavengers’. Furthermore, in 2008, the CerPhi was a partner of The Index of Global Philanthropy, in collaboration with the Hudson Institute for Global Prosperity in the USA.

As consultant and evaluator, the CerPhi identifies and enlightens giving profiles and patterns of French private donators in a publication entitled La générosité des Français. This publication had its 13th edition in 2008. The CerPhi is currently working on the project of setting up a Chair of Philanthropy in a university in Paris. The creation of this Chair will bring a much needed contribution to the field of research on philanthropy in France.

The CerPhi is currently engaged in six on-going research projects.

Phase Two of a scientific random sample study on ‘Food Scavengers’ (following on from Phase One completed in 2008) which has been requested by the French High Commission for Active Solidarity.
A monthly survey looking at ‘le Climat de la Générosité’ which is regularly conducted by telephone with 1500 interviewees in order to measure and evaluate fluctuations in their intention of contribution to charities, and how the way they respond is influenced by media coverage, the current economic situation , as well as political and humanitarian events.
An annual study of charitable donations declared by households for the year 2008, emanating from records of tax deductions for charitable donations provided by the French taxation authorities – the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques.
A qualitative study on corporate philanthropy concerning Small and Medium-sized Companies as requested by the Forum National des Associations et des Fondations Françaises.
A representative study focusing on the way the regulation of philanthropy operates, which takes into account the views of specialists working in this field as well as those of major donors.
The Cerphi is currently associated to a working group on the project of setting up a Chair of Philanthropy in a university in Paris. The creation of this Chair will bring a much needed contribution to the field of research on philanthropy in France.
For more information, please contact Edith Bruder.

Current state of Giving Research in France

Data sources for household donations in France

There is no overall statistical source in France that provides general data on charitable giving.
First of all, at theState level, information on charitable giving can be derived from tax records on charitable deductions from the French taxation authorities, the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques.These data correspond to the donations declared by households living in metropolitan France, overseas departments and territories, and foreign countries.
The Direction Générale des Finances Publiques provides three types of data:
–          Number of households and amounts donated by department and commune
–          Breakdown by tax-liable income brackets of the number of giving households
–          Percentage of households that declare donations and average taxable income for the two previous years
Undeclared donations are evaluated for 2006 at €650 million, compared with €1,575 million declared for the same year. This evaluation was made by comparing fiscal data with the data obtained from a sample of associations about the donations they receive. Undeclared donations are mainly donations in kind and in cash and legacies.

Secondly, since 1999, a population survey has been initiated by Fondation de France. Every two or three years, this sample survey carried out by TNS Sofres has collected data on the giving habits of 2,000 randomly selected adults (18 years of age or over). This survey concerns donations in kind, in time, in money (checks, bank transfers, cash, direct debit or generous purchasing), made by individual donors. Respondents were questioned using in-home face-to-face interviews.

The Direction Générale des Finances Publiques data have been analyzed by the Centre d’Etude et de Recherche sur la Philanthropie (CerPhi – Centre for the Study and Research on Philanthropy) since 2004. These data were previously analyzed (from 1993 till 2003) by Fondation de France.

Descriptive Statistics for household donations in France

Fiscal context: the deductibility rates of charitable giving in France have increased from 1995 to 2006. For donations to organizations of general interest, the deductibility evolved from 40% of the gift with a maximum of 5% of the income in 1995, to 60% with a maximum of 20% of the income in 2003, and to 66% of the gift in 2005.
For charitable giving to organizations specialized in social care, the deductibility rate increased from 50% of the donation with a maximum of 1040 French Francs (€158) in 1995, to 66% with a maximum of €414 in 2003, and to 75% with a maximum of €470 in 2005.
Since 1995, an analysis of the data shows that the amounts declared by French households have increased from €740 million to €1,575 million in 2006. Between 1995 and 2000, the annual average increase of the amount of declared charitable gifts was about 5%. The years 2001 and 2002 showed very high progressions (11 to 12%). After a break in 2003 (progression comparable to inflation), the increase of declared giving was high in 2004 (19.5%) as a result of new favorable fiscal deductions (August 1st, 2003) and of the donations dedicated to the Tsunami victims (the donations of January 2005 were fiscally deductible from the incomes of 2004). The analysis of the data shows that in 2005, the increase of declared giving rose slightly (5.1 %) and that the year 2006 was stable.
The giving declared in 2007 (2006 incomes) amounted to €1,575 million, compared with €1,555 million the previous year, indicating a slight increase of 1.3%.
From 2005 to 2006, the analysis of the data shows:
·         an increase of the donations of people with high incomes, and a decrease of those of low income people. The donations increased by 31% from households with an income over €35,000, and dropped by 22% from households with an income below €35,000. This is true for all income brackets below this threshold.
·         the progression of two age brackets of donors: +4.38% of young people of less than 30 years of age (probably as a result of massive recruiting through street fundraising); +5.05% of people between 60 and 69 years of age as a group plausibly less affected by the first pressures on purchasing power.
The number of declaring households increased from 3,893,000 in 1995 to 5,168,869 in 2006. While the annual increase of the declaring households was between 2 and 4% per year from 2000 to 2003, an increase of 15% was recorded in 2004. Between 2005 and 2006 the number of declaring households decreased from 5,361,756 to 5,168,869, which is a fall of 4%.
During the same period, the number of fiscal households has increased. This means that the ratio of donating households to fiscal households therefore decreased by 5%. This fall was distributed differently according to age and income brackets
·         The decrease is higher among those under 50 years of age (-9% average)
·         The decrease is also higher among the more modest households. The number of declaring households with an income of less than €15,000 decreased by 20%, but taking into account the increase of the number of households belonging to this income bracket, the percentage of donating households decreased by 45%.
·         The households with an income from €15,001 to €40,000 show an increase of nearly 40%. The percentage of donating households for this income bracket increased by 12% in 2006.
The average donation increased from €190 in 1995 to €305 in 2006. The progression was relatively low up to 2001, then showed a high increase between 2001 and 2002 (+20%) and again in 2004 and 2005.
From 2005 to 2006, the average donation increased by nearly 5% with important disparities according to age, +10% to 13% for those below 30, less than 5% for those above 60.
Over the last ten years, French charitable giving has been strongly encouraged, legally and fiscally. However, the private financial resources of organizations and foundations do not seem to increase significantly. This is probably due to
·         A culture of “Welfare state” turning to “State management”, that delegates the support of general interest to the State
·         Social and tax contributions that are among the highest worldwide, reinforcing the idea that the State bears responsibility for major social issues (Aberhard et al. 2007; Vaccaro, 1999; 2007).

Source: Wiepking, P. (Ed.) The State of Giving Research in Europe. Household donations to Charitable Organizations in Twelve Countries. Pallas Publications: Amsterdam, the Netherlands. order here.


Aberhard, P., Vaccaro, A. & Jedidi S. (2007). La liberté des ONG humanitaires au risque de leur financement,. Les éditions hospitalières.

Vaccaro, A. (1999). International Fund Raising for Not-for-profits: A Country-by-Country Profile. In T. Harris (Ed.) New York : The AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series.

Vaccaro, A. (2007). Aspects anthropologiques de la philanthropie et état des lieux de la philanthropie et du mécénat en France. In Rapport Mondial sur l’argent dans le monde. Association d’économie financière.