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ERNOP Online Series 2022-2023

Virtual reality for philanthropy

November 8, 2022, 11-12 (CET)

Speaker: Giuseppe Ugazio (Geneva Finance Research Institute, Université De Genève)

Discussant: Simona Biancu (European Fundraising Association)

About this seminar: Gaining repeat donors from younger generations is crucial to the sustainability of non-profit organizations. Recent studies on millennials have shown that they desire purposeful work, value emotional engagement and impact, and prefer to support causes rather than institutions. Additionally, they appreciate experiential learning and like to connect using technology, highlighting the need for modern fundraising strategies to motivate volunteers and gain support. In light of these facts, Giuseppe Ugazio discusses if and how Virtual Reality can be harnessed to innovate fundraising and, at the same time, involve younger generations in philanthropy.

To watch the webinar, click here.

About Dr Giuseppe Ugazio

Dr Giuseppe Ugazio is the Edmond the Rothschild Assistant Professor in Behavioral Philanthropy at the Geneva Finance Research Insitute. He holds two Doctorates in Philosophy and in Neuroeconomics from the University of Zurich.

He is an interdisciplinary behavioral scientist studying the neuro-psychological mechanisms that drive complex human social behaviors. Using interdisciplinary experimental methods he probes the affective, cognitive, and behavioral control mechanisms that support social decision-making. In particular, his research focuses on understanding how these decision mechanisms compete and interact to drive choices related to philanthropy. To understand philanthropy, he is also developing an AI approach to disclose motivations to engage in prosocial endeavors looking in particular at the role played by emotions and moral values

About the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Geneva

Geneva is one of the most important global philanthropy hubs. In 2017, the University of Geneva established the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy to conduct global inter-disciplinary research and teaching in this field. The centre works in close cooperation with the different faculties in the University of Geneva. The Centre for Philanthropy is a public-private partnership between UNIGE and a number of and number of key philanthropic foundations with an international reach. Among its activities,  the GCP organises an international academic conference which offers open dialogue on innovative themes between academics researching in the field and different stakeholders. The 2020 Conference focused on Philanthropy and taxation gathering prominent scholars from around the world in different disciplines.

GCP has defined 4 priority topics:

  • Taxation and philanthropy
  • Social entrepreneurship and Hybrid entities
  • Motivations for giving
  • Diversity in foundation boards


About Simona Biancu

Fundraising and strategic philanthropy consultant and trainer, founder and CEO of ENGAGED in, a consultancy firm that works internationally in fundraising and strategic philanthropy. Simona Biancu got a post-graduate Master in Fundraising at Università di Bologna and completed training attending various courses all over Europe. With more than 10 years of experience on fundraising strategies, major gifts, individual and corporate fundraising, strategic philanthropy with Trusts and Foundations, legacy fundraising, Board development, she works with charities both in Italy and abroad. She chairs conferences, seminars and trainings at an international level.

Besides, Simona is vice-president and delegate to internationalization of the Italian Association of Fundraisers (ASSIF) and member of both the European Fundraising Association (EFA) and European Lung Foundation, she has many experiences as a Board member of Italian and international organizations. Also she is co-author of the book “Board in prima fila” (2020), focussed on Board development, and the blog “Welcome on Board”, focussed on experiences in consulting with nonprofits governance and development.

About the European Fundraising Association

The European Fundraising Association is a network of national fundraising organisations, working to strengthen and develop fundraising across Europe. Together we represent the European fundraising community with one voice, one collective body and one shared goal of facilitating better fundraising. We certify national fundraising qualifications and support their development, deliver inspiring networking events, share best practice and publish news and views from across the continent in our newsletter, Fundraising Europe.

EFA is a network of 20 member organisations from across Europe with the collective goal of working together to raise fundraising standards. Together we represent the European fundraising community with one voice, one collective body and one shared goal of facilitating better fundraising. EFA aims to strengthen and develop the fundraising profession across Europe. EFA’s mission is to develop fundraising across Europe by strengthening national fundraising associations and national fundraising organisations, and to promote fundraising, philanthropy and the work of not for profit organisations at the EU level. EFA serves as a platform and a collective voice for its members.