Philanthropy is on the rise across Europe. Independent from the state and free from the constraints of capital markets, philanthropic foundations address most pressing social issues and play an important role as drivers of innovation and change. However, little is known about the real volume of philanthropy and its societal impact in Europe. We seek to facilitate cross-border cooperation and to present data as credible intelligence and a robust evidence base for stakeholders and the wider public.

Why does Dafne engage in data and research?

Philanthropy is on the rise across Europe. However, little is known about   the real volume of philanthropy and its societal impact in Europe.  In many countries, there are no specialised research institutions that collect data on a regular basis and report to the public or they have limited resources and capacity to engage in such research. Thus, there is lack of clarity even about the most commonly discussed figures such as the number of foundations, their endowment size and the volume of expenditures. Figures that we urgently need to underpin impact measurement of philanthropic foundations, public recognition of the sector or advocacy efforts, to name but a few examples.

Complexity of the philanthropic sector in Europe

Lack of comparative studies is related to the complexity and diversity of the sector. Not only do foundations differ in size, legal entity, endowment, governance and charitable purpose, they also operate in complex political, economic, legal and social frameworks that largely differ from country to country. While  95% of foundations in Germany  pursue charitable, common-benefit goals and are exempted from tax payments,  the majority of foundations in neighbouring Austria  are family foundations established for private wealth management. In some countries, philanthropy has long history and tradition and enjoys public recognition, while in others foundations are treated with criticism and suspicion.

How to foster cross-national cooperation?

In order to overcome this gap and to  advance research on European philanthropy,  it is important to foster cross-national cooperation and agree upon definitions, research questions and methodologies for data collection and analysis. This would allow us to provide statistical information on the sector, to measure impact of philanthropic institutions and provide information on how the sector is changing over time and what the new developments across Europe are.

An  aligned research strategy would provide a basis for in-depth analyses and comparative studies. Equally important is to strengthen collaboration between academic institutions, think tanks, philanthropy support organisations, ministries and consultancies in order to create research outcomes that are relevant to practitioners and the wider public. This would contribute to the accountability and transparency of European philanthropy. Dafne is well placed to facilitate cross-border cooperation with both research institutions and philanthropy support organisations and to present data as credible intelligence and a robust evidence base for stakeholders and the wider public. Please visit  the country profiles  for further information on the foundation sector in Europe collected by Dafne.

DAFNE Summer Meeting 2020 Digest

DAFNE Summer Meeting 2020 Digest

This year’s DAFNE Summer Meeting was held online with more than 70 participants, allowing a wide range of colleagues of DAFNE member organisations to engage in breakout and plenary sessions on thematic discussions, peer exchange and exploring the learnings for themselves and their organisations from the COVID-19 crisis in a “looking ahead” session.

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Country Profiles

DAFNE members are active in 28 countries across Europe.  They are uniquely placed to offer data on the philanthropy field and an understanding of the operating environment in their countries.  We share this intelligence in our Country Profiles which provide information on the philanthropy sector and the DAFNE member. This shows that there are over…

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European Edition of the Global Philanthropy Environment Index

DAFNE has partnered with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University to prepare and distribute a European special edition of the 2018 Global Philanthropy Environment Index.   The Index provides information about the philanthropic landscape of 30 European countries, measuring regulatory, political, and socio-cultural environments through a standard instrument completed by country-based experts. You can…

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Enlarging the Space for European Philanthropy

DAFNE and EFC embarked on an initiative to explore what are the legal, fiscal and administrative obstacles that restrict the space for philanthropy.  Initially this involved consultation with members and then led to the commissioning of a study.  Oonagh Breen, Professor of Law at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, undertook an analysis…

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The 4Cs – A Practical Guide

The 4Cs is a planning and evaluation framework designed specifically for organisations that offer professional support to the philanthropy field.  It was developed by DAFNE and WINGS members and is intended to be adapted and used in different contexts.  DAFNE and WINGS are continuing to engage with members using the framework and can provide support…

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