How European Philanthropic Trends Are Boosting Giving Opportunities

Growing philanthropy in Europe is creating opportunities for donors and increasing impact for charitable causes around the world.


The philanthropic landscape in Europe is flourishing, with a rising number of charitable organisations across European nations backed by foundations, individuals, and corporate donors, through which £87.5 billion is donated in Europe annually.

As Europe’s wealth expands so does its philanthropic activity, with donors increasingly focusing on global causes and seeking collaboration and tax efficient ways to support them across borders. Learn how growing philanthropic trends are harnessing giving opportunities with tax benefits for companies and individuals in Europe.

The expansion of philanthropy in Europe

Most of Europe’s 180,000 foundations have emerged in the last 20 years, and they donate an estimated €60 billion annually to the 2.8 million charitable organisations across the European Union countries. Germany and France are the largest European philanthropic markets in size, wealth, and growth. On average, the nonprofit sector typically contributes around 5% of a European country’s GDP. In France, the charitable sector employs 10% of the French workforce and generates 10% of the country’s GDP.

The number of registered international nonprofit organisations (INPOs) in Europe has grown by 30% since 2010, indicating an appetite for supporting causes that transcend borders. Belgium hosts the largest number of INPOs, followed by Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Wealth in Europe is growing, which correlates with increased European philanthropic trends. High-net-worth individuals and families have been increasingly giving back to society through philanthropy. According to Oxfam, since 2020, billionaires in the EU have increased their accumulated wealth by one-third, reaching €1.9 trillion in 2023. The five richest billionaires in the EU have increased their wealth by more than three quarters (75.9%) from March 2020 to November 2023. That equals 57% of the EU countries’ education budget, or €760 billion. Donors are looking to give, and the average size of donations is generally increasing, even in cases where the trend shows fewer individual donations, like in France, for example.

Increased opportunities to give through tax incentives

European governments encourage individuals and businesses to engage in charitable giving through tax incentives—a growing trend of philanthropy in Europe. Governmental tax incentives for donors and recipient organisations are prevalent across Europe. For instance, individuals in Germany can deduct up to 20% of their pre-tax income as a donation to a nonprofit organisation—Unsurprisingly, 50% of Germans donate to charity every year.

In France, where individuals can claim a reduction of 66% from their income tax for the amount donated or a reduction of 75% from wealth tax, the number of individual donations declared to the French tax authorities doubled between 2010 and 2021. In 2021, French businesses gave €3.5 billion—an increase of 119% since 2010.

Collaboration promotes cross-border giving

Philanthropy in Europe increasingly operates across borders and in collaboration with international partners, despite barriers such as legal frameworks, tax implications, and administration differences. Collaboration among philanthropic organisations, businesses, and governments is becoming more common—another growing trend for philanthropy in Europe. Online platforms remove barriers to giving and facilitate connectivity and collaboration among donors and nonprofits.

Transnational Giving Europe (TGE), for example, is a partnership of leading European foundations and associations to facilitate tax-efficient, cross-border giving within Europe. The TGE network enables donors, both corporations and individuals, resident in participating countries to give to nonprofits while benefiting directly from tax advantages provided for in legislation of the donors’ country of residence. In 2023, GlobalGiving was awarded full beneficiary status which will allow for tax efficient donations to be made to GlobalGiving nonprofit partners using the TGE platform from donors registered in France and Germany.

In the last two decades, philanthropy in Europe has undergone huge growth, supporting tax-efficient donations and collaboration, resulting in more effective and impactful giving in 2024 and beyond.

GlobalGiving connects nonprofits and donors in nearly every country around the world. Our network of trusted and vetted partners across 175+ countries worldwide offers a solution for effective cross-border donations, driving meaningful change in business and philanthropy in Europe and worldwide.

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Featured Photo: Support A Young Girls Leadership Academy in India by CREA

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