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11th International Research Conference of the European Research Network On Philanthropy

Philanthropy and crises: Roles and functioning of philanthropy in times of societal upheavals


Pre-conference ‘Safe Spaces’ & PhD Workshop: 28th June, 2023

Main Conference: 29-30th June, 2023


University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska Cesta 23, Zagreb, Croatia.

Practical information:

Practical information regarding the location, hotels and local transportation is available here.

Participation contribution:
PhD Students, retirees and participants from non-profits with an annual turnover of < 100.000 EUR: € 249 (early bird), € 299 (regular)

Scholars and participants from non-profits with an annual turnover of <250.000 EUR: € 349 (early bird), € 399 (regular)

Other categories (non profit representatives with an annual turnover of € 250.000 > / public and commercial sector): € 449 (early bird), € 499 (regular)

Early Bird Rate ends: March 31, 2023


Philanthropy plays a key role in times of crisis. Philanthropic initiatives are often the first to engage when a crisis emerges and the last that remain when a crisis ends. Climate change created action by groups in society that were not considered part of philanthropy; the covid crisis already saw the birth of many philanthropic initiatives and the war in Ukraine sparked generosity in Europe that might be – in absolute terms – unprecedented in history. However, in the same time, and within the context of societal upheavals, philanthropy is also criticised for being ineffective, its particularism, its elitism, and even as agents of influence by unwanted entities. Traditional forms of philanthropy are considered outdated by some and replaced by alternative forms like impact investing or informal and ad hoc giving through online and mobile platforms. 

How come that a societal phenomenon that is defined as ‘private action for the public good’ and literally is translated as ‘love for mankind’ often has to deal with negative perceptions in the public opinion? How can philanthropic organisations and initiatives remain better connected with their constituency and societal stakeholders? And to what extent is philanthropy able to overcome its shortcomings and can it live up to its potential? What can we learn from history in the role philanthropy can play in transforming our society to address the crises of tomorrow? What is the relevance of alternative sources of philanthropy like data and to what extent can this be used by philanthropic organisations? 

Against the background of these crises and developments – we invite contributors of papers to reflect and share their work on the roles that philanthropy in its different forms can play during and after crisis and social upheavals. What is needed to make philanthropy live up to its potentially catalytic capacities? How does philanthropy develop during crises and how can philanthropic behaviour be sustained when a crisis fades away? To what extent does this vary depending on individual, organisational or national contexts?  

Let us collectively build and harvest our knowledge on philanthropy. Join us as we consider how  philanthropy – in all its forms – plays its role in the crisis of the past, present and can live up to its potential in the future. 

Hosted by the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb, the conference will welcome  scholars from all disciplines and practitioners of philanthropy who share a motivation to discuss the purpose and practice of philanthropy in the present day, and to generate new questions about how philanthropy might develop in the future. The conference will also offer participants the opportunity to learn about the developments in philanthropic practice in Europe and especially in the context of Central and Eastern European Countries. 

Papers are invited to speak to these conference themes and also to the following related areas:

  • Altruism and generosity
  • Alternative forms of philanthropy
  • Bequests and intergenerational transfers
  • Cross-border giving
  • Comparative cross-country studies of philanthropy
  • Corporate philanthropy and CSR
  • COVID-19 and philanthropy
  • Cross-sector collaboration with corporations and government
  • Diaspora and community philanthropy
  • Donor motivations, concerns and advisory needs
  • Economics of philanthropy
  • Efficacy, efficiency and performance evaluation
  • European philanthropy (or philanthropies)
  • Family philanthropy
  • Fundraising strategies and practices
  • Foundation roles and strategies
  • Governance of foundations
  • High net worth philanthropy
  • Impact, outcomes and outputs of philanthropy
  • Legal, fiscal and regulatory issues in philanthropy
  • Methodology for philanthropy research
  • Morality and ethics of giving
  • New frontiers and innovation in philanthropy
  • Philanthropy and democracy
  • Private and public foundations
  • Roles of philanthropy
  • SDGs and philanthropy
  • Social innovation, crowdfunding and philanthropy
  • Strategies for philanthropy
  • Theories of giving and volunteering
  • Venture philanthropy, social investment
  • Volunteering, giving time

    For who:

    • Researchers in all academic disciplines
    • Professionals from and working with the philanthropy sector – including nonprofit executives and staff, foundation staff, consultants, and policymakers.
    • Non-presenters are welcome
    • ERNOP Membership or ERNOP Associated Membership is required to register for the conference. Become a member or associated member here.

    Keynote address: Michaeal Meyer on roles and functions of philanthropy in times of crises

    Michael Meyer’s research and teaching is about nonprofit-management and governance, the third sector and civil society, the diffusion of management thinking into NPOs, and entrepreneurial ways of solving societal problems, e.g. social entrepreneurship and social innovation. At WU Vienna, he teaches undergraduates, graduates, PhDs, and Executives.

    Beyond nonprofit management, he also offers courses on leadership, teambuilding, organizational behavior, and organization theory.

    Together with many collaborators and friends, he has published more than 20 books. He has published more than 120 scholarly articles in academic journals and edited volumes. Michael’s research is also on the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe and on managerialism in nonprofits. With the Social Entrepreneurship Center, Michael is also in the forefront of applied research on social innovation and contributes to capacity building for civil society in CEE.

    Michael Meyer has been the head of the Institute for Nonprofit-Management at WU Vienna (University of Economics and Business) since 2005. He is one of the academic directors of WU’s Professional Master in Social Innovation and Management, and an academic director of WU’s Competence Center for NPOs and Social Entrepreneurship. Michael also contributes to the editorial board of NVSQ and NML, the two most impactful academic journals of the field.

    Keynote Panel on Philanthropic Resilience

    This panel – composed out of practitioner experts and academics –  will build on the role and functioning of philanthropy during crises of the past (e.g. Balkan Wars, Refugee crisis, Covid), and in the context of recent developments (i.e. War in Ukraine) and addresses the question of how philanthropy can be strengthened and  institutionalised within a macro-environmental (national) context. How do affected and bystanders react? What implications for philanthropic organisations and how to channel philanthropic outbursts and make them last? Is this anyway possible? And what is the role of philanthropy in emerging countries and how can this be strengthened? What is needed to make philanthropic initiatives resilient and institutionalised within a society?

    Panel participants are Nenad Bakic (Croatian Makers Movement, Croatia), Jakub Dostál (College of Polytechnics Jihlava, Czech Republic), Cvjetana Plavsa-Matic (National Foundation for Civil Society Development, Croatia) and Boris Strecansky (East-West Management Institute, Georgia & Center for Philanthropy, Slovakia). The panel will be moderated by Nathan Koeshall (Catalyst Balkans, Serbia).


    Requirements and Procedure

    For presenting your individual work at the ERNOP Conference 2023, submission of a full working paper is strongly encouraged. Plased note that only papers that are submitted by June 4 are taken into consideration for the ERNOP Best Conference Paper Award (Certificate and cash prize of € 1000,-).

    Please note that:

    • The full working paper should not exceed 8,000 words.
    • The paper should be submitted as a Word document.
    • You can find the paper outline suggestions here, you are advised to use this format for your paper submission.

    Submission Deadlines

    Full papers: June 4, 2023

    Submit your paper here

    Want to be up to date about the conference? Please fill in your contact information here and we will keep you posted!