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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

Last update: 28 November 2023

France has 1.35 million associations that mobilise 12.5 million volunteers - La France associative en mouvemen2021-2022, October 2022.

In 2021, two thirds of young people aged 16 and over say they have been involved as volunteers, members or donors in an association in the last twelve months. The proportion of young people contributing more broadly to associative activities, either as organisers or participants, rose from 36% in 2016 to 45% in 2022. The majority of 13 and 14 year olds say they are keen to participate in community life: 82% of them plan to volunteer in the coming years, half of them "certainly" and the other half "probably" (Four out of five secondary school students plan to volunteer in an association, INJEP May 2022).

Voluntary activities are also popular with the public authorities, particularly because they enable young people to take part in society, to experience citizenship, develop know-how-to-be and know-how skills, while participating in the autonomy of young people and social cohesion.

The State intervenes in favor of volunteering, through the promotion of these activities, financial support to associations and the development of voluntary schemes both in France and abroad. Policies relating to voluntary activities are based on a joint effort between various stakeholders in the perimeters of different actions: ministries, public operators, local authorities, associations, companies...

However, volunteering and voluntary involvement is marked by inequalities: volunteering practice is often associated with the family heritage and/or degree level. Volunteering is more important among the population whose the level of education is the highest.

Two thirds of people (67%) who have seen a member of their family donate to an association do so themselves, compared to 42% of those who do not have this family heritage (Deux tiers des Français impliqués dans la vie associative, INJEP, January 2023).

In 2022, 15% of volunteers will have the lowest levels of training, compared to 27% of those with the highest levels of education (La France bénévole: évolutions et perspectives, Recherches & solidarités, May 2022).