Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea), have this week released a briefing on the philanthropy environment in Europe. Published for EuroPhilantopics, a meeting where philanthropy engages with policymakers in Brussels, the briefing highlights five key findings.
Governments, for the most part, want to stimulate philanthropy: Across Europe, many countries provide a range of tax benefits to both donors and recipient organizations. The political landscape for philanthropy has remained relatively stable in Europe between 2018 and 2020. However, there have been both positive and negative developments and the current relatively positive attitude towards the sector cannot be taken for granted.
Laws are sometimes slow to respond to the desire to enlarge the toolbox: While the sector is testing out new digital and impact investing tools on the programme and asset allocation side, existing laws are sometimes too restrictive in keeping up.
More collaboration within philanthropy and across sectors: Societal challenges are increasing and the sector is responding with more cooperation and network building within the philanthropy sector but also across sectors with governments, the business sector, and within the wider non-profit sector.
Significant barriers continue to burden the operating of philanthropic organisations and donors: Both at Member State and EU level, additional reporting requirements designed to address money laundering and terrorism financing continue to create burdens for philanthropic organisations. Foundations and donors also face barriers when operating across borders: a single market for philanthropy does not yet exist.
A stable economic and socio-cultural environment (2018-2020): The economic environment from 2018 to 2020 was significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and government responses to it. Despite very different histories with philanthropy across Europe, the socio-cultural environment for philanthropy remained stable in 2018-2020. The general desire to participate in philanthropy is generally well-established in Europe. It remains to be seen how the war in Ukraine and energy crisis will impact this.
This briefing, which puts into context the findings of the 2022 Indiana University Global Philanthropy Environment Index and Philea’s 2022 Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws, will help national and European sector efforts to advocate for a more favourable operating environment and a single market for Philanthropy.