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14/8/2013

Volunteering rates on the rise in France



A new report published by France Bénévolat (France Volunteerism) in conjunction with research agency Ifop and with support from Credit Mutuel has noted a marked increase in volunteering in France over the past three years.

 

The study, which compares questionnaire responses from over 2100 people in 2010 and 2013 respectively, shows an overall increase in volunteering of 14% and a 32% leap in youth engagement.

 

In general, the report estimates that over 40% of French citizens are willing to offer their time for free and underlines how important it is to maintain these high rates of volunteering, stating that “an overwhelming majority” of its 1.3 million associations are run by volunteers.

 

The report distinguishes between three types of volunteering: volunteering for non-profit organisations; volunteering for trade unions, political interests and municipalities; and “direct” or “informal” volunteering. It is the first time a quantitative study of volunteers in non-profit organisations has been conducted in France.

 

The greatest increase in volunteering was found to be in “direct” or “informal” volunteering, which refers to helping individuals directly, at 31%. Volunteering in non-profit organisations rose by 12%, but union, political and municipality support dropped by 6%.

 

Looking closer at the sectors in which French volunteers give their time, the sport and recreation sectors attract almost half of the proportion volunteers combined (23% and 25% respectively), followed by charitable associations, which ranked first overall in the report at 31%.

 

With the marked increase in youth engagement, young people are now among the groups of citizens most likely to commit to regular and structured volunteering in their community, which also includes women and the over-65s.

 

The comparative study is planned to be conducted every three years, but the first results already point to a significant culture of volunteering in one of Europe’s biggest countries.

 

So what is the motivation behind this growing community trend in France? The answer is simple, according to the report:

 

“Our people are driven by an undeniable spirit of solidarity,” it states.

 

The full report is available (in French) here

 

Rachel Payne, ISCA