The latest panorama of generosity for the year 2019, conducted by the Fondation de France and coordinated by Daniel Bruneau, has shown the continuing dynamics of French philanthropy and confirms the projections and trends already traced over the past 30 years in most “Western” societies
If we look in the rear-view mirror to measure the evolution of French generosity over the last 30 years, putting it in perspective with that of Americans, what do we see?
In the United States, the amount given by Americans in 1991 was $124.8 billion, compared to $264 billion in 2015, i.e. a multiplication by 2.12 in a quarter of a century (for the record, in 2019 this figure has climbed to $449 billion, i.e. a 1.7-fold increase in 4 years, and thus a 3.0-fold increase in 30 years).
If we make the same comparison for France, we were around 1.5 billion € in 91 (extrapolation from the Archambault-Boumendil study) against 8.5 billion in 2019, that is to say a multiplication by 6. Interesting, but we were starting from such a low base.
But the parallel does not end there, the same trends can be seen in more segmented analyses:
- An increase in the overall amount of donations from individuals, despite a decreasing number of donors. This trend is indicative of the deterioration in the income and assets of the smallest taxpayers.
- A concentration of donations made by the highest income earners and the wealthiest in exorbitant proposals, particularly in the USA where 2% of donors now account for 50% of donations to the philanthropic sector.
- Gifts (bequests, donations, life insurance) are steadily increasing, with the expectation of a real explosion, particularly in Europe prophesied by Richard Radcliffe.
- Strong growth in corporate philanthropy (which is a French singularity compared to the Anglo-Americans), particularly marked among small companies.
- The rise in fundraising flows from NICTs (New Information and Communication Technologies), which is still poorly understood from a statistical point of view, but which shows a dynamic that is still far from having reached its full potential. In 2019, Giving Tuesday raised $2 billion in one day. In 4 years, Facebook Fundraisers has raised over €2 billion, including €1 billion on birthday pages. The global crowdfunding market represented in 2020 an industry of nearly €1,000 billion. 40% of people under 35 years old have already participated in a crowdfunding campaign. All generations are on social networks. 90.5% of “Y”, 77.5% of “X” 48.2% of Boomers. Crypto-currency donations are increasing in parallel with the increase in the value of crypto-currencies on the market .”
- Resistance to traditional fundraising media: mailings, phoning and street fund-raising. Surprising as it may seem, despite the regular announcement of their accelerating decline, direct marketing tools (mailings, phoning, street fund-raising) remain the main fund-raising vehicles. But in my opinion, this is only a respite, because the new generations of donors are staying away from these solicitations, with the notable exception of street fund-raising, which still attracts the youngest donors.
- Finally, in this world of generalized overproduction and waste, the acceleration of donations in kind, in the circular economy, seems to meet the aspiration of donors concerned about the accelerated degradation of our environment.
In conclusion, everything indicates that philanthropy has a very bright future.
The same excellent prospective study, quoted above, carried out by the Adfinitas agency for the 2025 horizon, to which we refer you. Based on this analysis, we can easily imagine a fund-raising system dominated by the generous crowd doped with AI (Artificial Intelligence), with donor rates in relation to the population no longer at 40% but at 70 or 80%. These generous crowds will be not only donors, but also collectors, mobilizers, and even operators, eager to implement by themselves the solutions to the ills that nonprofits usually tackle.
However, a point of vigilance. It is very likely that, even apart from a general collapse (climate, pollution, repeated pandemics, global conflicts), the necessary reduction of inequalities through redistribution by taxation will not be imposed, in the image of the policy that followed the New Deal until 1984 (FD Roosevelt imposed an 85% tax on any income over $1 million per year).
Because this fiscal rigor has since been eroded to the point of recreating this abysmal gap between the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor, wiping out the standard of living of the middle classes in the process, we are likely to see a return to taxing the richest and, as a result, a decline in philanthropy.
Who is Antoine Vaccaro ?
Antoine Vaccaro holds a doctorate in organizational science – Management of non-market economies, Paris-Dauphine, 1985.
After a career in large non-governmental organizations and communications groups: Fondation de France, Médecins du Monde, TBWA; he is the president of CerPhi (Center for Study and Research on Philanthropy) Force For Good and the Fund-raising Lab. He holds various volunteer positions within associations and foundations and is also co-founder of several professional organizations promoting private funding of public interest causes: Association Française des fundraisers, Comité de la charte de déontologie des organismes faisant appel à la générosité publique, Euconsult, La chaire de Philanthropie de l’Essec, 2011.
He has published various books and articles on philanthropy and fund-raising.
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