European Research Network on Philanthropy
Bocconi University
Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CeRGAS)

Sara Berloto
Bocconi University
Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CeRGAS)

Elisa Ricciuti
Bocconi University
Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CeRGAS)

Individual members


Simone Castello
Università Cattolica di Milano
email: s.castello86

Gina Rossi
University of Udine
Department of Economics and Statistics
email: gina.rossi@

Raffaella Rametta
University of Teramo
Faculty of Political Science
email: rrametta@

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 Italy

Lucia Boccacin and Linda Lombi[1]

‘What drives people to help others? What are the underlying motivations for altruistic behaviour? Do transactions of this nature have a mainly economic value or do aspects of generosity and the absence of exploitation prevail?’ (Parker, 1981, p. 30).

Long the focus of sociological thought regarding the prosocial aspect of donation behaviour, these questions continue to guide empirical research on the topic. A necessary step towards a response would seem to be a discussion of some of the symbolic codes that underlie the act of giving. These regard altruism/the gift, trust and solidarity (Boccacin, 2005). The altruistic dimension is critical to understanding the phenomenon of donations and its social dimension. Altruism, in fact, seen as a concern for others that becomes the principle of action (Bulmer, 1986), implies an intentional behaviour that has the improved welfare of other as its objective, without personal interests or expectations of rewards (Eisenberg, 1982).

Sociological theory has repeatedly clarified the multidimensionality of altruism at a social level (Anheier, Rossi & Boccacin, 2008). A lowest common denominator emerges from among the various interpretations and meanings of the concept and its practice – a person’s awareness of the existence of a need and the voluntary and intentional desire which stimulates altruistic behaviour and an act of donation in order to change this situation of distress and difficulty. The social implications of this behaviour which emerge through this dynamic were clearly identified by Titmuss almost fifty years ago and are still valid today: ‘…the grant, or the gift of unilateral transfer – whether it takes the form of cash, time, energy, satisfaction, blood or even life itself – is the distinguishing mark of the social…’ (Titmuss, 1968, p. 22). At the end of his famous study on blood donation, he writes ‘Freedom from disability is inseparable from altruism’ (Titmuss, 1970, p. 246). Altruistic and donative behaviour is further characterized by its objective relational weight, because the self-sacrificing action, as such, cannot be disinterested in the condition of others. (Donati, 2011).

A second symbolic code underlying giving, in addition to the altruistic-donative aspect of donations, is the understanding of trust as a fundamental and qualifying trait of social ties. This trust implies a reliability on a person or system in connection with a particular set of results or events (Giddens, 1990). The altruistic, donative and trust momentum implicit in donations is embodied in the symbolic code of solidarity (Donati, 2003), understood in particular as a propensity towards helping others.

The term solidarity, etymologically, identifies the existence of a solid bond: it involves the acceptance of a moral commitment, a ‘concrete’ responsibility which refers to a sense of belonging to the same human community. The concept of solidarity implies joint action and, consequently, the refusal of individual solutions, both in free rider form as well as more simply as a rejection of the individual dimension as exclusive (Evers-Laville, 2004). It is related to that of subsidiarity, which allows a dynamic relational that respects and enriches the different social subjectivities (Boccacin, 2014).

In summary, altruism, trust and solidarity are the symbolic and cultural roots that give rise to the specific and tangible action of cash donations. It is through these observable specific and tangible actions that we can also detect traces of intangible and symbolic elements critical to the subjective and inter-subjective processes which affect the actions of the donor.

The sources[2]

Donation and succession data from ISTAT (Italian National Statistics Institute) 2000 to 2009 ( provided the basis for the Italian scenario, but no official nor specific national survey currently exists that could outline the overall picture. Similarly, data relating to income from charity lotteries are not available and are therefore not discussed in this report.

The data presented in this report are therefore derived from the following sources:

    1. The ISTAT 2011 census of industry, public and non-profit institutions: a survey conducted to provide information concerning the main characteristics of enterprises, non-profit organisations and public institutions. The census date of reference was 31 December 2011. Specifically, data on donations and bequests are included in the census of a total of 301,191 non-profit organisations (see ISTAT, 2014).
    2. ‘Italian Solidarity’: an annual survey conducted with CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing) methods and edited by the Doxa Research Institute. The survey investigates the behaviour of Italians relative to charitable donations. The data referred to in this report relate to the year 2012. The sample consisted of 1 000 persons representative of the population over 15 years of age and identified through a three-stage stratified sampling process (Doxa, 2013).
    3. ‘The social commitment of companies in Italy’: a study conducted biennially by SWG [Italian market research group] for the Osservatorio Socialis di Errepi Comunicazione through online interviews (CAWI – Computer Assisted Web Interviewing). The scope of the references is made up of companies with over 100 employees. The sample representative of this range is based on the parameters ‘field of membership’ and ‘macro area’. The results for the years 2011 (sample consisting of 823 companies) and 2013 (400 companies) (Osservatorio Socialis, 2012, 2014) were examined for this report.
    4. Research on donations by the Osservatorio Socialis in 2014 in partnership with Ixè Ltd., a quantitative survey involving 1 000 subjects representative of the Italian adult population and conducted with CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) and CAMI (Computer-Assisted Mobile Interviews) methods (Osservatorio Socialis, 2014b).
    5. The ACRI Report (Association of Foundations and Savings Banks) containing information on 88 banking foundations. For economic and financial management data, budgets for the year ending December 31, 2013 were examined (Acre, 2014).
    6. Data collected by the Italian Taxation and Revenue Office and released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy on the donation of the so-called ‘five thousandth’ for the year 2012.

Overview of Giving in Italy

While in Italy there is no official national survey to precisely measure the overall flow of donations in any recent year such that the total amount donated and the distribution by geographic area may be calculated, an analysis of the different sources consulted in this report allows an estimation of the phenomenon and the outlining of several trends.

The data show, in fact, some convergences. More women and members of the older population group donate than of the youngest group (although men donate higher amounts). The north of Italy registers more donations, but the highest total amount donated in a geographical area is recorded in the centre of Italy, as evidenced by both the data on individual donations as well as those relating to revenue for charitable institutions of the third sector. However, it is currently difficult to estimate the amount per capita of individual donations due to the differences in the financial flows examined. Vita, in the article already mentioned, estimated the annual flow of donations in Italy to be € 11.5 billion. The sum is derived from the sum of individual donations (€ 4.6 billion), offers to parishes (€ 2.6 billion) and other private donations (€ 4.4 billion). The total figure, recalculated on the basis of inflation rates for the last three years, may be currently estimated at € 12 billion (Aa. Vv., 2015). However, it is worth pointing out that this is an estimate and is not supported by any single official survey. As we are unable to distinguish the different sources of ‘other private donors’, we cannot include the figure in the overall number of Giving in Italy (€ 9.1 billion). Giving in Italy is thus based on giving by individuals (€ 7.2 billion), foundations of banking origin (€ 0.9 billion) and giving by corporations (€ 1.0 billion).

Another important element that emerges from the analysis is the presence of a greater propensity to donate by persons engaged in voluntary activities and in solidarity actions carried out in the religious sphere. This, as noted by other researchers (Principles, Jensen & Lamura, 2014; Boccacin, Rossi & Bramanti, 2011), demonstrates how generosity is expressed in concrete actions of an altruistic nature, aimed at providing support not only on the economic front, but also on the social and relational ones. The ‘virtuous cycle of giving’, then, begins by which those engaged in solidarity activities donate economically and support different prosocial activities in various ways, thus contributing actively to the development of a civil culture (Donati & Colozzi, 2004).


[1] Department of Sociology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano, Milan

[2] The authors wish to thank Alice Zanchettin for the valuable support offered during the data retrieval and statistical information.


Boccacin, L. & Lombi, L. (2017) Research on Giving in Italy. 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 Italy

Descriptive statistics of giving by individuals in vivo

According to Doxa (2013), 29.6 % of the Italian population over the age of 15 made a donation during 2012, down 5 percentage points from the previous year. An analysis of the data reveals that women donate more than men (34 % vs 25 %), as do those who belong to the more mature age group (15-34 years: 12 %; 35-54 years: 34 %; over 54 years: 38 %). Territorially, those who live in the north give more frequently (north-west: 34 %; north-east: 39 %) than those who reside in the centre, south and islands (24 % for both regions). The level of education, according to the study commented here, has a negligible influence on giving (university degree: 30 %; high school graduation: 31 %; compulsory school years only: 28 %). The percentage of donors increases among those who do voluntary work (41 %) and those who are dedicated to religious activism (44 %).

This study shows that the main recipients of the donations are medical research (58 %), provision of emergency humanitarian aid (41 %), the long-distance adoption of a child (12 %), initiatives to combat poverty in Italy (12 %), animal protection (9 %), protection of the artistic heritage (4 %), environmental protection (2 %), support of the Catholic Church (2 %), and aid for children (1 %).

The average amount donated was € 43, an increase from the 2011 survey results (€ 37), but still lower than the previous decade (weighted average from 2001 to 2012: € 54). The total monetary donations was € 640 million, equal to € 10.66 per capita. Although men give less frequently than women, as seen above, the amounts are on average higher (males: € 51; females: € 38). Adults give more than the younger groups (15-34 years: € 22; 35-54 years: € 35; over 54: € 54), and the inhabitants of central Italy give more compared to other regions (centre: € 48; north, south and the islands: € 29).

Most donations are made directly (49 %). The following methods of transfer are used: SMS (40 %), post office payments (33 %), bank transfers (9%), credit cards (2 %), bank direct debit (1 %), and the Internet (1 %).

However, the collection methodology of the Doxa data has been criticised because, in the opinion of some scholars, it underestimates the average figure paid since it does not include relevant sources such as parish donations and the five thousandths (a ‘percentage philanthropy’, whereby individuals may nominate to transfer a percentage of their income tax to a public benefit organisation) (Aa. Vv 2014). The article ‘Quanto donano gli Italiani’ in the journal Vita in March 2015 suggests a far higher number (€ 7 200 million), € 116 (Aa. Vv., 2015) [3]. This wide difference between the Doxa survey estimates and that of the above article is caused mainly by parish donations, an amount equal to € 2.6 billion with an average of € 100 thousand per the parish (ibid). According to the survey conducted by the Osservatorio Socialis (2014), which also includes five thousandths payments (more details below), the percentage of Italians over 18 who have donated stands at 49 %, higher among women and among those who are aged 45 years or more. This study also differs from the Doxa study mentioned above in that it shows a greater propensity to donate by persons who have a higher level of education.

As mentioned above, another important source for the examination of individual donations in Italy is made up of data on the so-called five thousandths, i.e. that part of their taxes that every citizen-taxpayer may annually decide to allocate, when completing their tax returns, to entities carrying out activities with a social objective. According to the financial statements of the first 20 associations in receipt of the five thousandths, € 380 million was received during 2013 (Aa. Vv., 2015).

An analysis of the data submitted each year from the Italian Taxation and Revenue Office to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy reveals that in 2012 approximately € 395 million was transferred, of which approximately € 265 million was destined to groups involved in voluntary work, € 56 million to scientific research, € 52 million to medical research, € 13 million in social activities carried out by the municipalities and € 8 million to amateur sports associations (Ministry of Labour, 2012).


[3] The article ‘Quanto donano gli Italiani’, published in the journal Vita in March 2015,   adds to this amount  4.5 billion euro defined, in a generic way, as  “other donations”. This data is based on ISTAT 2011 census of non-profit institutions. Whereas  this entry has not been further specified, we decided not to include it in our estimate.


Boccacin, L. & Lombi, L. (2017) Research on Giving in Italy. 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 donwloaded here. The full study on Giving in Europe can be ordered at


Giving by bequest in Italy

At the moment information on giving by bequest in Italy is not available.

Giving by corporations in Italy

Descriptive statistics of giving by corporations

Specific attention should be given to the contribution offered by companies through donations that express, from a sociological perspective, social responsibility on the part of businesses. According to estimates from an Osservatorio Socialis report on the social involvement of companies, Italian companies with more than 100 employees invested over € 1.05 billion in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in 2011 (€ 100 million more than 2009) in support of humanitarian, environment, art and culture, corporate welfare (Osservatorio Socialis, 2012). In 2011, there was a slight decline in the number of companies investing in CSR in Italy; 64 % invested in CSR compared to 69 % of the previous survey in 2009. However, overall, the total amount donated increased. The average value of the investment also increased, from € 161 (2009) to € 210 (2011). The major investors were located mainly in the north-west and in the south/islands. They were also mainly businesses with a turnover of over € 100 million.

Later data show a recovery in CSR investment: according to the 2014 study, 73 % of companies invested in social responsibility initiatives and/or environmental sustainability during 2013 (Osservatorio Socialis, 2014). However, the average investment fell to € 158 in 2013, for an investment total of about € 1 billion. Nevertheless, not all the payments were destined for philanthropic causes. The areas of greatest investment, as declared in the latest survey were, in order, energy saving and reduction of waste (65 %), projects for the benefit of employees (55 %), pollution and waste disposal (53 %), humanitarian support solidarity (38 %), payments in favour of sports (31 %) and of the arts and culture sector (24 %).

According to a secondary analysis carried out by Cesare Rizzi for the Food Bank on ‘Raccolta fondi dalle Aziende – Corporate fundraising’ (2013), only 2.5 % of Italian companies are ‘donors’, that is to say, they donated to the third sector, while overall donations (excluding sponsorship and causes related to marketing) amounted to approximately € 300 million a year, 0.022 % of the GDP (Rizzi, 2013).


Boccacin, L. & Lombi, L. (2017) Research on Giving in Italy. 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 foundations in Italy

Descriptive statistics of giving by foundations

Giving by foundations of banking origin[4]

An analysis of the XIX report edited by Acri on foundations of banking origin (Acri 2014) shows that the foundations transferred € 884.8 million, a decrease of 8.4 % over the previous year (2012: € 956.8 million). The number of interventions or actions was 22,334, a slight increase over the previous year (2012: 22 204, see table 15.1).

The seven principal recipient sectors of the disbursements made in 2013 received 95.5 % of the total transferred. These sectors are, in order, those connected with art and cultural activities (30.4 %), research and development (14.5 %), social welfare assistance (13.5 %), education and training (11.9 %), volunteering, philanthropy and charity (11.8 %), public health (7.7 %) and local development (5.6 %). In five cases in 2013 there was a decrease from the previous year (education, education and training: -27.3 %; art, cultural activities and heritage: -11.8 %; volunteering, philanthropy and charity: -10.9 %; local development: -10.2 % and social welfare assistance: -3.7 %). Two cases present increases compared to 2012 (+25.3 % for public health and +8.2 % for research and development).

Other donation areas account for a residual amount of less than 5 % of the total. A comparison with the 2012 data shows contrasting trends, with net increases for sport and recreation (+39.7 %), civil rights (+41.7 %), for religion and spiritual development (+22.8 %), and downturns in the fields of environmental protection and quality (-11.9 %), the protection of the family and the values associated with it (-39.9 %), and crime prevention and public safety (-59.5 %). However, as the report says, the low values of these amounts should be treated with caution when assessing the magnitude of the deviations in the residual areas mentioned.

Table 1 Distribution of disbursements by the banking foundations per beneficiary sector. The years 2012 and 2013 compared

Distribution of disbursements per beneficiary sector (2013-2012)
SECTORS 2013 2012
Number Amount Number Amount
Interventions % million EUR % Interventions % million EUR %
Art, cultural activities and heritage 7 681 34.4 269.2 30.4 7 872 35.5 305.3 31.6
Research and development 1 222 5.5 128.3 14.5 1 244 5.6 118.5 12.3
Social welfare assistance (1) 2 495 11.2 119.8 13.5 2 712 12.2 124.5 12.9
Education and training 3 759 16.8 105.3 11.9 3 427 15.4 144.8 15.0
Volunteering, philanthropy and charity 2 790 12.5 104.6 11.8 2 682 12.1 117.3 12.1
Public health 1 121 5.0 68.4 7.7 1 129 5.1 54.6 5.7
Local development(1) 1 464 6.6 49.7 5.6 1 379 6.2 55.4 5.7
Environmental protection and quality 336 1.5 16.2 1.8 354 1.6 18.4 1.9
Sports and Recreation 1 138 5.1 12.1 1.4 1 117 4.9 8.6 0.9
Family and related values 234 1.0 10.5 1.2 218 1.0 17.4 1.8
Civil and political rights 47 0.2 0.5 0.1 35 0.2 0.3 0.0
Religion and spiritual development 33 0.1 0.2 0.0 18 0.1 0.2 0.0
Crime prevention and public safety 14 0.1 0.2 0.0 17 0.1 0.4 0.1
Total 22 334 100.0 884.8 100.0 22 204 100.0 965.8 100.0
(1) In the 2013 survey the interventions in the field of social housing (equal to € 6.1 million) were registered in the local development sector rather than social assistance.

Source: Acri (2014, p. 240).

Individual and private contributions destined for third sector organisations

The ISTAT census of non-profit institutions in 2011 collected information on 301 191 organisations (see ISTAT 2014). These included voluntary organisations, associations for social advancement, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social solidarity cooperatives, non-profit organisations, and prosocial foundations. This study is an important source for the examination of relevant data on the recipients of payments.

The data reveal that these bodies distributed funds in the form of gifts, donations, and bequests amounting, in total, to € 4 584 545 733. This represents an average of 7.2 % of the revenue of these institutions (ISTAT 2014). € 4.3 billion, classified as ‘other revenue from private sources’ must be added to this figure. Overall, therefore, private donations received in 2011 from the third sector amounted to about € 9 billion, of which half was from individuals. For the latter, it should be emphasized that there is a strong heterogenic link to the sector of main activity: the entities that collect more contributions, offerings, donations, and bequests are those working in the field of philanthropy/promotion of volunteerism, cooperation, and international solidarity. More than 50 % of the budget revenues of these types of entities came from donations of the type described above. It follows, then, that the sectors deriving a greater percentage of their income from these resources are those concerned with the protection of rights and political activity (11.9 %), culture, sport, and recreation (9.2 %), and the environment (9.1 %, see table 2).

Table 2. Contributions, offerings, donations, and bequests in the budgets of non-profit organisations according to the sector of prevailing activity. Year 2011 Value in %

Culture, sports, and recreation 9.2 %
Science and research 6.8 %
Health 3.5 %
Social aid and civil protection 6.6 %
Environment 9.1 %
Economic development and social cohesion 3.1 %
Protection of rights and political activity 11.9 %
Philanthropy and promotion of volunteering 6.7 %
International co-operation 53.8 %
Religion 51.3 %
Labour relations and representation of interests 4.6 %
Other activities 0.8 %
Total 7.2 %

Source: ISTAT (2014).

Geographically, non-profit organisations in central Italy attract the highest amounts of contributions in the form of gifts, donations, and bequests (39.8 % for a total of € 1,824,956,080). The north-west is next highest (34.1 % for a total of € 1 562 664 830) and the north-east (18 %, € 825 537 723), while the south and the islands collect only 8.1 % of the total (€ 371 387 100).

italy pie graph

Figure 1. Contributions from offerings, bequests, and donations earmarked for non-profit institutions. Distribution % for macro-region

 Third sector organisations involved in fund raising

The ISTAT census of non-profit organisations in Italy (ISTAT 2014) shows that 19.7 % (59 413 of the total number) of the institutions promote fund raising in order to finance their own operations.[5] Divided according to sector of prevailing activity, institutions involved in international cooperation and international solidarity are more likely to have declared an involvement in fund raising (80.5 %). After these, but at some distance, are institutions dealing with philanthropy and the promotion of volunteering (36.0 %), health (34.9 %), social assistance and civil protection (33.6 %; see table 3).

Table 3. Fund raising among non-profit institutions for the sector of prevailing activity. Year 2011 Absolute values

MAIN ACTIVITY SECTOR Fundraising No funds raised Total
Absolute values % Absolute values % Absolute values %
Culture sports and recreation 33 092 16.9 162 749 83.1 195 841 100
Education and research 3 138 20.2 12 381 79.8 15 519 100
Health 3 832 34.9 7 137 65.1 10 969 100
Social aid and civil protection 8 424 33.6 16 620 66.4 25 044 100
Environment 1 559 24.8 4 734 75.2 6 293 100
Economic development and social cohesion 1 010 13.5 6 448 86.5 7 458 100
Protection of rights and political activity 1 500 22.0 5 322 78.0 6 822 100
Philanthropy and promotion of volunteering 1 745 36.0 3 102 64.0 4 847 100
International co-operation 2 870 80.5 695 19.5 3 565 100
Religion 1 640 24.2 5 142 75.8 6 782 100
Labour relations and representation of interests 504 3.1 15 910 96.9 16 414 100
Other activities 99 6.0 1 538 94.0 1 637 100
Total 59 413 19.7 241 778 80.3 301 191 100

Source: ISTAT (2014, p. 13)

Once more a strong national gap emerges: non-profit organisations engaged in fund raising are located mainly in the north-west (33.0 %) and north-east (32.2 %), while the lowest recorded distributions are seen in central Italy (26.7 %) and, especially, in the south (19.2 %) and the islands (15.8 %).


[4] These make up a group different from those referred to as pro-social foundations as included in the census on non-profit institutions.

[5] The ISTAT survey questionnaire collected two distinct variables regarding donations from individuals and revenues from fund raising, and these variables were not subsequently crossed and re-aggregated. This makes it unfortunately not possible to assume more information from an aggregate of the two sources.


Boccacin, L. & Lombi, L. (2017) Research on Giving in Italy. 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 Italy

Charity lotteries do not exist in Italy.

References and further reading

Aa.Vv. (2015). ‘Quanto donano gli italiani’. Vita, Marzo, n. 3: 33-44.

Acri (Associazione di Fondazioni e Casse di Risparmio) (2014). Diciannovesimo rapporto sulle fondazioni di origine bancaria. URL:—anno-2013 (Last accessed: 22nd April, 2015).

Anheier, H.K., Rossi, G., Boccacin, L. (eds.) (2008). The Social Generative Action of the Third Sector. Comparing International Experiences, Milano: Vita e Pensiero.

Boccacin, L. (2005). Third Sector and Social Partnership in Italy. A Sociological Perspective. Milano: Vita e Pensiero.

Boccacin, L., Rossi, G., Bramanti, D. (2011). ‘Partnership, Social Capital and Good Practices Among Public, Private and the Third Sector’, Journal of US-China Public Administration’, 8, 3, pp. 241-260.

Boccacin L. (ed.), (2014). Third Sector, Partnerships and Social Outcome. The cases of Italy and Ireland. Milano: Vita e Pensiero.

Bulmer, M. (1986). Neighbours. The work of Philip Abrams, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Donati, P. (2003). ‘Giving and Social Relations: The Culture of Free Giving and its Differentiation Today’, International Review of Sociology, vol. 13, n. 2, pp. 243-272.

Donati, P. (2011). Relational Sociology. A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences, London and New York: Routledge.

Donati, P., Colozzi, I. (eds.) (2004). Il terzo settore in Italia: culture e pratiche, Milano: Franco Angeli.

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