European Research Network on Philanthropy

Institutional members

Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sectorinstitutforsammfunsforskning
Institute for Social Research

Bernard Enjolras
Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector
Institute for Social Research
email: bernard.enjolras@

Håkon Lorentzen
Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector
Institute for Social Research
email: hakon.lorentzen@

Karl Henrik Sivesind
Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector
Institute for Social Research
email: karl.henrik.sivesind@

Kristin Strømsnes
Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector
Uni Rokkan Centre
email: kristin.stromsnes@

Dag Wollebæk
Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector
Institute for Social Research
email: dag.wollebak@

Sources of philanthropy

In order to get a picture of the size and scope of the the philanthropy sector in a country, different sources of philanthropy are classified. In defining philanthropy, a definition is used that is being used in the longitudinal Giving in the Netherlands study, which defines philanthropy as ‘voluntary contributions by means of money, goods and/or time (expertise), given by individuals and private organisations (foundations, corporations and charity lotteries), and serving primarily the public good’. Note that in answering the question of who gives what to whom, ‘given to organisations’ is added, because the numbers focus on institutionalised philanthropy.

Giving by households (in vivo)

Three types of voluntary contributions are mentioned, namely money, goods and time. Although volunteering by individuals is an important part of the voluntary contribution of individuals, measuring and monetising voluntary work is still very much a work in progress. Moreover, the possibilities for monetising volunteering is questionable and still very much an academic debate. Therefore, volunteering by individuals will not be a part of the figures. Also data on in-kind giving is hard to find, and has been only be included if available.

Giving by individuals also does not include any taxes that are being redistributed to non-profits serving the public good, such as church taxes, tax redistribution schemes, or percentage philanthropy practices. Although these practices form an important source of revenue for many non-profits, the voluntary aspect of these practices is missing. 

Giving by bequest

Bequests, making donations to charitable organisations by means of a testament or will, are a specific income source in the income portfolio of non-profit organisations. Acclaimed as one of the drivers of ‘the new golden age of philanthropy’, the unprecedented expected intergenerational transfer of wealth provides major opportunities for non-profit organisations. As we can only rely on secondary sources, collecting data on bequests is more difficult than for in-vivo donations.

Giving by foundations 

Despite legal differences between European countries of what is considered to be a foundation, foundation giving is defined as monetary donations from a private non-profit organisation derived from an endowment. By only including donations derived from endowments, instead of adding the total expenditure by foundations, counting donations from individuals and/or other organisations twice is prevented.

Giving by corporations 

Although this overview excludes individual volunteering, some voluntary work is included nevertheless. For corporate giving we tried to include the total contribution by a company as calculated by the LBG model – one of the most commonly used methods by corporations (see This includes cash and in-kind donations in addition to the value of the work hours donated through employee volunteering schemes and any management costs incurred in implementing community investment initiatives. As a distinction between absolute giving (no returns from the recipient) and sponsoring (the recipient delivers a non-monetary return) cannot easily be made, sponsoring is also included.

Giving by charity lotteries

The final source of philanthropy comes from charity lotteries. Charity lotteries are not considered to be a conduit or form of individual giving, but specific organisations donating a considerable percentage of their revenue to charitable organisations. Also, charity lotteries are considered to be private players, independent from governments or politics. In many European countries, the revenue from (national) lotteries is redistributed to charitable organisations. However, in a number of cases they are a supplement to or replacement for government subsidies. As these lotteries are not independent organisations, for the purposes of this publication these lotteries are not included.

Philanthropic goals

For the aim of creating country profiles on giving, we have at least tried to include all the potential philanthropic goals. Next, we have provided broad categories that give a functional overview of significant philanthropic goals, instead of providing very detailed categories that might be considered independent categories in themselves in one country but do not exist in another, or might be considered too small.

For the aim of the country profiles the following categories have been used:

  1. Religion
  2. Health
  3. International aid
  4. Public and/or social benefit (national)
  5. Sports and recreation
  6. Culture
  7. The environment, nature and/or animals
  8. Education
  9. Other (not specified)

Data quality

In order to answer the questions of who gives what to which charitable goals, we must first ascertain how accurate the answers to these questions really are. In other words, we need to know whether the studies that have been carried out to collect data on giving by individuals, corporations, foundations and charity lotteries actually measure what they are supposed to. Regarding collecting data on giving, this is not always as easy as it might seem. Answers to questions on giving depend on the way those questions are asked, the number of prompts and the length of the survey. Different methodologies lead to different outcomes.

Therefore, in order to make a country profile on giving, all contributors were asked to describe the background to the data that were available in 2015 about giving in 2013[1]. They included the sources of the data collection (secondary sources or population surveys), the frequency of the data collection (if any) and the most recent year of the data collection. Regarding the target populations, the description of the data quality includes statements about representativeness, their response rates and validity. They further described the questionnaires they used, the instruments for data collection and their internal validity, but also the sources of the data (sponsors), their accessibility (public or private and the costs involved for retrieving the data), the locations, availability and studies carried out using the dataset. Finally, they gave a description about the background variables included in the dataset. With the aim of assessing the data quality, we used representativeness, validity, the availability of a classification in categories of philanthropic goals and whether the dataset includes some (relevant) background variables.

[1] The country profiles contain data that was available in 2015 on giving in a country in 2013. It might be that new data has become available more recently.

Introduction on Giving Research in Norway

Karl Henrik Sivesind[1]

Philanthropy has only in recent years become a significant force in society in Norway, and thereby also increasingly a research topic. Still, volunteering and non-market transactions are the primary way for the population to support nonprofit organisations. However, the share of the population that donates money is increasing as a result of an increasingly professional operation by fundraising organisations focusing on recruiting personal sponsors and regular donors. In addition, a number of large foundations have changed the foundational landscape since year 2000. Partly as a result of rich families and persons donating money to grant-making foundations in science, medicine, culture and arts, and partly as a result of conversion of mutual insurance companies and saving banks to limited companies, resulting in foundations representing the former mutual ownership. As a result, the research on giving in Norway also has increased in recent years.

Research on individual giving has primarily been done at the Institute for Social Research. Donations from households were an important part of the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Study, done for the first time in Norway for the year 1997 (Sivesind, Lorentzen, Selle, & Wollebæk, 2002; Sivesind et al., 2004). Data on household giving was updated for 2004 (Sivesind, 2007) and 2009 (Sivesind, 2012, 2015; Wollebæk & Sivesind, 2010). In this chapter, some new data for 2014 will also be presented.

Several studies of foundations have also been conducted at the Institute for Social Research (Lorentzen, 2001, 2004; Lorentzen & Dugstad, 2010; Sivesind & Arnesen, 2015), by The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2012; The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority, 2013), and by the University of Agder (Prof. Morten Øgård, and dissertations by PhD Susan T. Furrebø, Master Nicole Elgueta Silva, etc).

Deloitte conducts an annual survey of fundraising organisations in Norway in collaboration with The Norwegian Fundraising Association (Norges Innsamlingsråd). The focus is on changes in sources of funding for the various organisations.

Corporate social responsibility has been studied primarily at Norwegian Business School, in particular by Prof. Atle Midttun and Senior Researcher Caroline Ditlev-Simonsen, who has a PhD on the topic.

Overview of Giving in Norway


Table 18.6 shows that half of all income to philanthropic contributions in Norway came from individual donations. Gaming and lotteries accounts for just 31 percent, even when income from all registered activities are included. Grants from foundations were 18 percent and the contribution from individual bequests to some of the largest fundraising organisations was just 2 percent. These figures do not include donation from corporations or large donations from individuals that don’t go through foundations. The latter are too infrequent to show up in a reliable manner in population surveys on donations to voluntary organisations. Donations from households to charitable purposes other than voluntary organisations are also not covered by the survey.

Table 1. Sources of contributions in 2013 in millions*

Sources of contribution million EUR percentage
Individuals In vivo 503 55 %
Individuals Bequests 36 4 %
Corporations n/a n/a
Foundations[6] 373 41 %
Registered gaming and lotteries n/a n/a
Total 912 100%

* The year is 2011 for contributions from foundations and 2014 for individual in vivo donations, see tables above.

Table 2 shows rough estimates for how the philanthropic contributions are distributed to different purposes (ICNPO-categories). Sports get the largest share with 20 percent, followed by religion, health, culture, and education and research with 12 each. Somewhat smaller shares go to social services with 11 percent, and other with 9 percent. This shows that when all sources of contributions are seen together, there is a relatively even distribution of funding. Sports get a lot of money from gaming and lotteries (determined share from Norsk Tipping and grass root share), but little from donations and foundations. International aid gets money mainly from donations. Culture gets money from gaming and lotteries (determined share from Norsk Tipping), but also from foundations. Health and Social Services get money from donations, bequests, foundations (research in medicine), and gaming and lotteries (Extra lottery and a determined share from Norsk Tipping to social and humanitarian organisations), and consequently have a broader set of sources than the other categories.

Table 2. Uses of contributions in 2013

million EUR percentage
International aid (9) 221 14 %
Religion (10) 181 12 %
Sports  (1 200) 316 20 %
Health (3) 180 12 %
Culture, art and recreation (1 100 and 1 300) 181 12 %
Social services (4) 166 11 %
Education and research (2) 183 12 %
Other (not specified) 128 8 %
Total 1 556 100%

The total amount of monetary donations from these sources was € 1.56 billion. In comparison, more than 60 % of the population volunteered during the last 12 month period in 2014, and a very large part of that time was used to generate cash income for the organisations through flea markets, coffee and hot dog sales, as well as through arranging sports and culture events and festivals. According to Statistics Norway, the replacement value of 15,000 fulltime equivalent working years of volunteering in 2013 was € 8.6 billion [NOK 76.86 billion]. The estimated value of the households’ donations to voluntary organisations was in comparison € 503 million in 2014 or just 6 % of the added value of volunteering. In addition, the Norwegian population supports certain organisations by buying books, toilet paper, washing detergents, and fleas and by a large number of passive memberships that cannot be considered as normal market transactions. Furthermore, nonprofit organisations generate value added through their welfare services and other operations paid for partly by the government and partly by the citizens. Outside of the welfare field, Norwegian nonprofit organisations generate surprisingly large share of their income through their own activity, whereas the share from donations is close to the average of western EU-countries (Arnesen, Sivesind, & Gulbrandsen, 2016; Sivesind, 2007, 2012; Sivesind et al., 2004; Sivesind & Selle, 2010). Even if one may argue that the value of volunteering set as the normal pay per hour in similar industries is too high[7], there can be no doubt that volunteering and non-market transactions still are the most important contributions from the Norwegian population to nonprofit organisations.


[1] Institute for Social Research, Oslo

[6] Giving derived from income from endowments only

[7] The value added of volunteering is the replacement value according to the UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts (United Nations, 2003).


Sivesind, K. H. (2017) Research on Giving in Norway. In: Hoolwerf, L.K. & Schuyt, Th.N.M. (eds) Giving in Europe. The state of research on giving in 20 European countries. Amsterdam: Lenthe Publishers.

The country chapter can be downloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at


Giving by individuals in Norway

Descriptive statistics of giving by individuals in vivo

In 2014, 70 per cent of adults from 16 – 79 years reported in a representative population survey that their household donated to voluntary organisations during the last 12 months.[2] In 2009 the share was slightly higher (76 per cent), but it had increased strongly since 1997 (51 per cent). The average household donated € 325 to nonprofit organisations in 2014. An estimate based on average donations multiplied by population in different population strata (6 household types[3] , 7 regions), shows that the Norwegian households donated about € 500 million [NOK 4,5billion] (see table 1), which is equivalent to 0,2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. This is the same share as in 2009. However, since to GDP has grown, the current value of the donations is much higher in 2014 for the receiving organisations. Table 1 shows the per cent of donors and average and median amount donated to different types of nonprofit organisations in 2015.

Table 1 Percentage of individuals belonging to households donating to different categories of voluntary organisations and mean amount donated, 2014

% that donated Mean amount donated EUR Median amount donated €
Health 36 % 130 60
Social services 20 % 108 60
International aid 53 % 175 60
Religion 15 % 437 60
Other 15 % 122 60
Total 70 % 306 144

The largest share of the Norwegian population donates to international aid organisations with 53 per cent, up from 44 in 2009. Here we find the nonprofit organisations with the highest incomes from regular donators and personal sponsors on Deloitte’s list, such as SOS Children’s Villages, Plan Norway, and Save the Children. Other international aid and mission organisations, i.e. Red Cross, UNICEF, The Mission Alliance, Amnesty International, and the Strømme Foundation, also get large incomes from such donations (Deloitte, 2015). In addition, The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, with activities primarily in Norway, is on the top ten list. The second largest share of Norwegians (36 per cent) donates to health organisations, down from 48 percent in 2009). Here we find the Norwegian Cancer Society [Kreftforeningen] which mainly funds medical research and the Norwegian Heart and Lung Patient Organization [LHL] which is a patient interest organisation but also operates clinics and hospitals paid for by the public authorities. Other important organisations in this area are the Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association [NKS] with 50,000 members and the Norwegian Health Association [Nasjonalforeningen for folkehelsen] with 100,000 donators and 35,000 members; both of these organisations are advocacy and member organisations but also are providers of health services paid for by the public authorities. Some of the large nonprofit organisations in this area operate large rescue and ambulance services, such as the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue with 68 000 members and Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation [Stiftelsen norsk luftambulanse] with 713 000 support members. The Red Cross, Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Rescue Dog Association are active in search, rescue, and first aid operations. Additionally, large organisations exist for blind, deaf, handicapped, rheumatic, and many other people with diseases and disabilities. In recent years, the number of smaller organisations for people with specific diagnoses has grown rapidly.

Many of the health organisations illustrate that the traditional way of supporting nonprofit organisations in Norway is by passive membership. These members could be recruited to become active for shorter or longer periods as participants in organisational events, volunteers, elected representatives, and donors. More recently, it has become common to recruit donors that are not among the members through direct marketing and direct dialogue in the streets.

Organisations active in social services receive donations from 20 per cent of Norwegians, down from 31 in 2009. The Red Cross and Norwegian People’s Aid have large parts of their activities at the local association level in this area. Some religious organisations are important in care for extremely poor, homeless, and drug and alcohol addicts, such as the Salvation Army, the Blue Cross Norway, and the Church City Mission [Kirkens bymisjon]. Many people who donate to these organisations may consider it as a contribution to social services rather than to religion when answering the giving survey questions. Even as the population gets more secularized, these organisations are highly respected for their social care for people that government’s services fail to reach.

Religion gets donations from only 15 per cent of the population, the same share as in 2009. This includes religious congregations, mission organisations, and the Norwegian Church Abroad, but also non-religious organisations as the Norwegian Humanist Association [Human-etisk forbund]. These life stance organisations are grouped together with the religious organisations because they get public support per registered member just like a religious society. Thus, the distinction between religious causes and secular causes is not absolute in the Norwegian data, but this category is strongly dominated by religious organisations. In addition 15 percent of the population donated to other categories of organisations.

Norwegians give on average € 325 to nonprofit organisations[4].  The largest average donation goes to religion and life stance organisations with € 438 in average donations. Some religious societies are very concerned about their autonomy; some even refuse public support, thus raising a large share of their income from active members is a high priority. The second largest average donations go to international organisations with € 175. Then follows health with € 130, other with € 122, and social services with € 107. However, since there is an uneven distribution of giving, a few persons give very large amounts, average numbers tend to exaggerate the size of the donations. If we look at median amount donated in 2014 in the right column in table 18.1, the figures are much lower.  The median annual donated amount for all categories in total was just € 144. For each of the categories of organisations the median was € 60, except religion with € 96.

Table 2 shows estimates of the amounts each category of organisations got in donations by individuals in a twelve month period in 2014. The largest amount goes to international aid with € 191 million, followed by religion with € 134 million. Although the average amount is larger in religion, the share of the population that gives is much smaller than in international aid organisations. Then follows health with € 97 million, social services with € 43 million and other with € 38 million. Since 2009, religion has climbed from being number 3 after health to be number 2 on the list of largest total donated amounts.

Table 2 Uses of donations by individuals in 2014

million EUR percentage
International aid 191 38 %
Religion 134 27 %
Health 97 19 %
Social services 43 9 %
Other 38 8 %
Total 503 100 %

 Data sources of giving by individuals in vivo

The data on giving by individuals in Norway are from a stratified, representative population survey on giving and volunteering from 2014 based on telephone interviews conducted by Statistics Norway with 1,921 respondents aged 16–80 (response rate of 63 per cent). Similar surveys have been conducted with about 5 year intervals (Arnesen, 2015). The funding comes from the Ministry of Culture or in collaboration from several ministries. The data from 2014 includes, in addition to donations, volunteering for voluntary organisations, for private enterprises or the public sector, and direct volunteering for persons outside of the household. The survey also includes personal background variables normally used in population surveys, some of which come from register data.


[2] This includes those who confirmed their household donated, but did not know or would not answer how much money they gave

[3] Singles, couples and multiple family household, with and without children.

[4] The top 0,5 percent of the donations have been replaced with average donations in each category to limit the effect of the most extreme outliers.


Sivesind, K. H. (2017) Research on Giving in Norway. In: Hoolwerf, L.K. & Schuyt, Th.N.M. (eds) Giving in Europe. The state of research on giving in 20 European countries. Amsterdam: Lenthe Publishers.

The country chapter can be downloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at

Giving by bequest in Norway

There are no Norwegian individual-level data on giving by bequests to voluntary organisations. However, Deloitte asks fundraising organisations about income from different sources in their annual survey. It is important to note that the data is from a survey of 135 fundraising organisations, of which only 57 responded (Deloitte, 2015). Traditionally, the Salvation Army and the Cancer Society get the largest sums from bequests, and these and many of the large organisations are covered by Deloitte’s survey. However, the total sum donated through bequests is probably much larger than the € 36.1 million total. A large number of contributions to smaller organisations probably add up to substantial amounts. We know from newspapers that even local associations may occasionally get a surprisingly large amount from a bequest. However, there is large variation from one year to the next in such donations, both for large and small organisations.

Table 1 shows that The Salvation Army (€ 11.4 million) and The Cancer Society (€ 10.0 million) got by far the largest sums in 2013, followed by SOS Children’s Villages with € 3,7 million.

Table 1 Uses of charitable bequests in 2013

million EUR percentage
Salvation Army 11.4 32 %
Cancer Society 10.0 28 %
SOS Children’s Villages 3.7 10 %
Norwegian Church Aid 1.4 4 %
The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted 1.4 4 %
Red Cross 1.0 3 %
Norwegian Health Association 0.9 2 %
The Church City Mission 0.9 2 %
The Norwegian Rheumatism Association 0.3 1 %
Other (not specified) 5.0 14 %
Total 36.1 100 %

Source: (Deloitte, 2015: 31)

If we try to sort the organisations in categories by their main activity (ICNPO categories), we find that religion (The Salvation Army and The Church City Mission) received the largest amount with € 12.3 million, followed by health, which includes the Cancer Society and the Norwegian Health Association, with € 10.9 million. Next are international aid organisations, including SOS Children’s Villages, Norwegian Church Aid and Red Cross[5], that get € 6.1 million. The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted and The Norwegian Rheumatism Association are classified in civic and advocacy organisations and get a total of € 1.8 million.

Data sources of giving by bequests

The most important data source is Deloitte’s reports from annual surveys of fundraising organisations in Norway in collaboration with The Norwegian Fundraising Association (Norges Innsamlingsråd). The focus is on changes in sources of funding for different organisations. However, only around 40 percent of the organisations that got the questionnaire respond to the surveys. The target group is mainly national fundraising organisations. Organisational surveys to national and local/regional organisations conducted by the Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector includes questions about income from bequests, but the number of organisations that report such income is too small to allow a reliable estimate (Gulbrandsen & Sivesind, 2013; Sivesind, 2012).


[5] The Red Cross has also a large part of their activity in Norway in particular in social services. Here, we assume that the bequests support mainly the international aid.


Sivesind, K. H. (2017) Research on Giving in Norway. In: Hoolwerf, L.K. & Schuyt, Th.N.M. (eds) Giving in Europe. The state of research on giving in 20 European countries. Amsterdam: Lenthe Publishers.

The country chapter can be downloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at

Giving by corporations in Norway

At the moment there is no information on giving by corporations in Norway available.

Giving by foundations in Norway

Descriptive statistics of giving by foundations

In 2011 there were 7,612 foundations in Norway with a total book equity of € 11.2 billion, according to data from the Foundation Register. A survey conducted by the Norwegian Foundation Authority, showed that 3,400, or 60 % of the total of 5,844 foundations in the survey, were grant-making foundations with a total book equity of € 4.8 billion and € 373 million in grants. The grants were on the same level as the two previous years. The survey covers 77 percent of the foundations, representing 93 percent of the book equity in Norway (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2012). In addition, one fourth of the foundations that did not have grant-making as an explicitly stated purpose in the statutes still gave grants. Extra-stiftelsen and other foundations registered by the Fundraising Control distributed € 123 million in grants, but had only € 114 million in book equity, since their grant-making is based on annual income from fundraising and lotteries. A total of 825 grant-making foundations were located in Oslo, 432 in Hordaland County including Bergen, Finnmark County up north only had 7, while the remaining counties varied from 150 to 33 (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2012).

Table 1 shows, that among the 2,581 foundations that had grant-making as their only purpose in the statutes, 18 % supported research, with 31 % of the total grants of € 124 million, followed by education, which received 15 %, social purposes 13 % and culture 12 % of the grants. This means that the dedicated grant-making foundations in Norway have a strong orientation towards research in terms of the number of foundations, and even more so when it comes to the total amount given in grants. The focus is in particular on natural sciences and medicine.

Table 1 shows the distribution of grants only from 2,581 foundations that have grant-making as their sole purpose. Foundations that are both operative and grant-making (933) or only operative (2,330) did not get the survey-question about which purpose they gave grants to. We therefore don’t know if these shares are representative for all the foundations that gave grants in 2011, and have not tried to estimate the amount for the different categories in table 1. It is also important to note that in recent years, several large foundations have been established that have significantly increased both the grant-making and operative activities of the foundation sector in Norway.

Table 1 Uses of donations by foundations in 2011

million EUR percentage
Research 31 %
Sports 6 %
Culture 12 %
Religion 2 %
Social services 13 %
Education 15 %
Other 20 %
Total 373 100 %

Source: (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2012: 19)

Data sources of giving by foundations

A survey was conducted by the Foundation Authority in 2012 with a response rate of 77 % of all foundations, representing 93 percent of the booked capital in Norway. The questionnaire is included in the report (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2012). In addition, the Foundation Register has data for all foundations in Norway on booked equity, if the foundation is commercial or general purpose, statutes, board members, business address etc. Unfortunately, the register does not include data on grant-making. That is why the survey from 2012 is a very important source.

The Foundation Register is open for search online.


Sivesind, K. H. (2017) Research on Giving in Norway. In: Hoolwerf, L.K. & Schuyt, Th.N.M. (eds) Giving in Europe. The state of research on giving in 20 European countries. Amsterdam: Lenthe Publishers.

The country chapter can be downloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at

Giving by charity lotteries in Norway

Descriptive statistics of giving by charity lotteries

There is a general ban on lotteries, bingo and gaming operations in Norway, so legal gaming operates under exemptions. The gross turnover in the registered gaming and lottery market amounted to € 3,959 million (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2014: 38-40). The most important games are related to sports and lotto operated by the state-owned games company Norsk Tipping with 73% of the gross turnover in the gaming market, horserace betting operated by the foundation Norsk Rikstoto with 12 percent, The Extra Lottery operated by Norsk Tipping, from which proceeds is distributed by a foundation to health and rehabilitation organisations, with 6 % of the gaming market. In addition, there are games and lotteries operated by private actors: Bingos arranged by commercial enterprises – after having received authorisation – on behalf of humanitarian or socially beneficial organisations with 5 % of the gaming market. National lotteries and local/regional lotteries accounted for only 1.6 % each. This used to be a substantial source of income for voluntary organisations but is now less profitable as a result of competition from Norsk Tipping (Gulbrandsen, 2012). In addition comes bingos arranged by local voluntary associations and neighbourhoods (forenings- og bygdebingo) and not by commercial enterprises (0.7 %), and games on ships (0.4 %) (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2014: 9).

Table 1 is based on “Annual statistics report from The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority 2013” (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2014: English summary p. 38-40). From the gross turnover in the registered, legal gaming and lottery market of € 3,959 million, the players collected 2,805 million in prize money. This left € 1,154 million in net turnover to be distributed to operators, entrepreneurs, site owners (45 %), as well as charitable purposes, which with some small exceptions means voluntary associations and organisations (55 %). This does not include unregistered online gambling on web-sites outside of Norway with a net turnover estimated to about € 90 million in 2013 (Rambøll, 2015).

Table 1 Uses of proceeds from registered gaming and lotteries to charitable purposes, 2013

million EUR percentage
Sport 285.0 44 %
Culture (Distributed over the state budget and by the Government) 110.5 17 %
Music/culture/recreation 20.4 3 %
Horses/horse sports 75.7 12 %
Health 66.7 10 %
Social and humanitarian 61.2 10 %
Other 5.6 1 %
Unspecified (to be included in categories 17.4 3 %
Combat gaming addiction 1.5 0 %
Total 644.1 100%

Source: (Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, 2014: 10)

A large part of the proceeds from Norsk Tipping is distributed according to percentages determined by the parliament. The share for sports has increased gradually from 45.5 and reached 64 per cent in 2015, culture’s share decreased from 36.5 to 18 per cent, while social and humanitarian organisations (samfunnsnyttige og humanitære organisasjoner) still get 18 per cent. This support is partly distributed by the Government and partly channelled from ministries through voluntary umbrella organisations that distribute support for local activities, i.e., The Norwegian Confederation of Sports and three voluntary umbrella organisations in the fields of music, amateur theatre, and children and youth organisations. The gamers may also decide which local voluntary association should get 5 per cent of their stakes, the so-called ‘grass root share’.

In the category Sports in table 1, the most of the money comes from Norsk Tipping’s determined share to sports and from the grass root share, in addition to smaller amounts from other games and lotteries. In culture the two main sources are proceeds from Norsk Tipping’s determined share and transfers from ministries. In addition there are income from the grass root share, bingo and some smaller amounts from other games and lotteries. Horses and horse sports get all the income from Norsk Rikstoto. In Health the largest sums come from the Extra Lottery and from Norsk Tipping. In Social and humanitarian organisations, which includes emergency preparedness organisations, there are organisations like the Red Cross, Norwegian People’s Aid, Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, the income comes mainly from Norsk Tipping’s determined share. In addition there are some smaller amounts from national lotteries, some other games, and the grass root share. Other organisations include religion and political organisations and some other smaller categories that get income from bingo, lotteries and the grass root share. Finally, Norsk Tipping must also use part of the proceeds to fund the government’s action plan to combat gaming addiction.

This shows that it is impossible to draw a line between what is a charity lottery and a commercial gaming operation in Norway. Proceeds from all kinds of gaming and lotteries are distributed, directly or indirectly via ministries and umbrella organisations, to charitable purposes which mainly are different kinds of voluntary organisations, for the most part in sports, culture and recreation. Proceeds from Norsk Tipping are also of vital importance for health, and social and humanitarian organisations.

Among the voluntary organisations there is a discussion of what the consequences of licensing online gaming from web-sites outside Norway would be. Although the net turnover has increased by 162 percent from 2005 to about € 90 million in 2013 (Rambøll, 2015), this is still very little compared to the legal gaming market € 1,154 million in net turnover. The receiving organisations are worried that a diminished role for Norsk Tipping would imply that they would get a much smaller share of the gross turnover. Commercial gaming companies normally distribute a much larger share in prize money, even if they should be licenced and start paying taxes to Norway.

As a general principle, amounts from lotteries that are decided upon by governments or include political interference are excluded from total amounts, because it is not considered as private actor.

Data sources of giving by charity lotteries

There are annual statistics reports covering all registered gaming and lotteries in Norway from The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority with an English summary published on the website


Sivesind, K. H. (2017) Research on Giving in Norway. In: Hoolwerf, L.K. & Schuyt, Th.N.M. (eds) Giving in Europe. The state of research on giving in 20 European countries. Amsterdam: Lenthe Publishers.

The country chapter can be downloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at

References and further reading

Arnesen, D. (2015). Undersøkelsene om frivillig innsats 1998 – 2014. Dokumentasjonsrapport (Rapport 2015-3). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from:

Arnesen, D., Sivesind, K. H., & Gulbrandsen, T. (2016). Organisasjonslandskap i endring (Rapport 2016-4). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from:

Deloitte. (2015). Kartlegging av markedet for fundraising. Oslo: Deloitte AS. Retrieved from:

Gulbrandsen, T. (2012). Tilpasninger til endringer i økonomiske rammevilkår (Rapport 2012:2). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from:

Gulbrandsen, T., & Sivesind, K. H. (2013). Nasjonale organisasjoner –  en første oversikt (Rapport 2013-5). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from:

Lorentzen, H. (2001). Norway. In A. Schlüter, V. Then, & P. Walkenhorst (Eds.), Foundations in Europe: Society, Management and Law (pp. 206-214). London: Bertelsmann Foundation.

Lorentzen, H. (2004). Philanthropy and collectivism. Grant-giving foundations in Norway (Report 2004:15). Oslo: Institute for Social Research. Retrieved from:

Lorentzen, H., & Dugstad, L. (2010). Stiftelser i det moderne Norge (Report 2010:9). Oslo: Institute for Social Research. Retrieved from:

Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet. (2012). Rapport fra Stiftelsestilsynet. Kartlegging av pengeutdelinger i norske stiftelser. Førde: Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet. Retrieved from:

Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet. (2014). Norske pengespel 2013. Statistikk over norske pengespel og lotteri. Førde: Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet. Retrieved from:

Rambøll. (2015). Utredning av økonomiske konsekvenser av en mulig lisensordning for pengespill. Oslo: Kulturdepartementet. Retrieved from:

Sivesind, K. H. (2007). Frivillig sektor i Norge 1997–2004. Frivillig arbeid, medlemskap, sysselsetting og økonomi (Rapport 2007:10). Oslo: Institutt for samfunnsforskning. Retrieved from:

Sivesind, K. H. (2012). Pengestrømmer i frivillig sektor. Befolkningens gaver og lokallagenes økonomi (Rapport 2012:7). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from:

Sivesind, K. H. (2015). Giving in Norway: An ambitious welfare state with a self-reliant nonprofit sector. In P. Wiepking & F. Handy (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy (pp. 230-248). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Sivesind, K. H., & Arnesen, D. (2015). Norway Country Report. European Foundations for Research and Innovation. In B. Gouwenberg, D. Karamat Ali, L.K. Hoolwerf, R. Bekkers, T. Schuyt, & J. Smit (Eds.), EUFORI Study: European Foundations for Research and Innovation (pp. 855-890). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Sivesind, K. H., Lorentzen, H., Selle, P., & Wollebæk, D. (2002). The Voluntary Sector in Norway – Composition, Changes, and Causes (Report 2002:2). Oslo: Institute for Social Research. Retrieved from:

Sivesind, K. H., Lorentzen, H., Selle, P., Wollebæk, D., Sokolowski, S. W., & Salamon, L. M. (2004). Norway. In L. M. Salamon, S. W. Sokolowski, & Associates (Eds.), Global civil society: Dimensions of the nonprofit sector, Volume II (pp. 261-275). Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.

Sivesind, K. H., & Selle, P. (2010). Civil society in the Nordic countries: Between displacement and vitality. In R. Alapuro & H. Stenius (Eds.), Nordic Associations in a European Perspective (pp. 89–120). Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.

The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority. (2013). Foundations in Norway: The Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority. Retrieved from:

United Nations. (2003). Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts. New York: United Nations.

Wollebæk, D., & Sivesind, K. H. (2010). Fra folkebevegelse til filantropi? Frivillig innsats i Norge 1997-2009 (Rapport 2010:3). Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Retrieved from: