An institute dedicated to the promotion and the development of knowledge of non-profit organisations

The French Institute for Non-Profit Organisations aims to promote non-profit organisations’ contribution to society and democracy and to meet the needs for knowledge of such organisations as expressed by their actors.

Three missions to achieve this goal

Promoting research and directing it towards areas of interest

Gathering and disseminating research findings and other resources amongst the non-profit sector

Structuring a knowledge network on the non-profit sector

The origins of the Institute

The French Institute for Non-Profit Organisations was founded in Lyon by Simone André, a prominent figure of the non-profit sector who devoted 77 years of her life to the development and influence of non-profit organisations.

The initiative comes from the observation of the considerable place that non-profit organisations have in French society: 1.5 million non-profit organisations, 1.85 million jobs, 22 million volunteers and a €113 billion budget. Non-profit organisations, alongside public authorities, are responsible for large areas of the common good. They demonstrate their ability to go through deep societal mutations such as social and territorial cohesion, culture and education, solidarity with vulnerable people, sustainable development and collaborative economy. Their participative decision-making processes, and their collective contribution to society as intermediate bodies, allow them to actively contribute to democratic dynamism.

Based on the above observation, a strong conviction is at the origin of the Institute: enriching knowledge of non-profit organisations is vital. This leads to a better definition of their contribution to society and democracy. It also allows to better accompany the sector’s mutations, and to have a better understanding of its specific needs.

The French Institute Non-Profit Organisations was created in January 2019 under the aegis of the Fondation pour l’Université de Lyon (Lyon University Foundation), which is officially recognised as serving the public good. Based in Lyon, it aims to operate at a national and European levels and eventually, globally.

Since the non-profit sector is an essential part of universal civilisation, the time has come to create a leading cluster of knowledge and action. Such cluster should be a signal, an anchor point and a reference that spreads the light of the non-profit sector’s richness, in the midst of its mission’s fundamental greatness and interest.

Simone André



Consultation results: Non-profit organisations’ needs of knowledge

What does the nonprofit sector needs to know and which topics should research focus on? What are the nonprofit sector’s expectations towards an Institute that is dedicated to the promotion of knowledge on nonprofits?

The Institute has launched an original national consultation to gather the needs of nonprofit and voluntary organisations, their stakeholders and researchers. 

Find below the results of the consultation in two formats: a synthetic report and a webinar (both in French)

Seminary “Nonprofit and voluntary organisations and the sanitary crisis: nonprofits on lockdown?”

More than a year after the beginning of the health crisis, we wanted to bring together nonprofit practitioners and researchers to reflect together on the major issues that are affecting nonprofits. These reflections were articulated around 4 major themes:

  • “Formal engagement”
  • “Informel engagement and civic action”
  • “Temporality of the effects of the crisis on the sector”
  • “Autonomy and vulnerability of individuals”

This seminar was led by Bernard Petitgas (sociologist at the CERReV laboratory, University of Caen Normandie, laureate of the Institute) and Laëtitia Lethielleux (lecturer in management sciences, director of the Social and Solidarity Economy Chair at the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne and member of the REGARDS Laboratory and the Scientific Committee of the Institute).

An article summarizing this work is currently being prepared. 

2019 Call for proposals “Research on the non-profit reality” Laureates

How do non-profit organisations contribute to society? What mutations are they going through? Do they operate in specific ways?

We initiated a first call for proposals in June 2019 to support and promote research studies that address these issues, amongst others.

The focal point of this topic is the “non-profit reality”, and it encompasses all its different dimensions, may they be political, juridical, sociological, economical, or historical. It is open to researchers in human and social sciences and to all of the various research methods and theory approaches: academic research, participatory research methods, action research, applied research, operations research, …

We gathered a panel of 20 researchers who examined and selected 15 projects amongst the 43 applications we received. These applications covered 15 disciplines in total and a vast range of thematics.

15 projects have been selected and a total of €135,000 was granted to their realisation. These research projects address important issues for non profit organisations: citizenship and democracy, local dynamics, governance issues, digital technologies, and value creation.

>> Read the 2020 call for proposals “Research on the nonprofit sector” (French)

>>  Discover our laureates (English)

Local meetings

The French Institute for Non-Profit Organsiations has launched a cycle of local meetings all around France that are intended to gather researchers and non-profit workers around the focal point that is the stake of knowledge on the non-profit sector. These meetings will bring local participatory research experiences to light, between researchers and actors. These gatherings will give them a chance to bond and bring up their needs to our attention.


SAVE THE DATE // Presentation of our 2020 laureates

11th October 2021.

Who are we?

A strategic Committee made up of people with rich and varied expertise that oversees the Institute’s strategy formulation, approval and implementation.

A transdisciplinary scientific Committee made up of researchers that oversees the Institute’s research programmes and contributes to its strategic decisions.

Our Strategic Committee
  • Simone André, President, initiator of the project, President of the Forum International des Associations.
  • Yannick Blanc, Vice-President, trustee of La Fonda.
  • Brigitte Clavagnier, Lawyer, JurisAssociation Editor-in-chief, member of the Haut Conseil à la vie Associative.
  • Caroline Germain, Managing Director of the Association pour le Développement de l’Accompagnement à la Stratégie et à l’Innovation de l’Intérêt Général.
  • Brigitte Giraud, President of CECLAVAR President, Director of the UNCPIE and trustee of the Mouvement Associatif.
  • Michel Machicoane, Former trustee of the Mouvement Associatif.
  • Marie-Claire Martel, President of COFAC, trustee of the Mouvement Associatif.
  • Bernard Sinou, Managing Director of Institut Mérieux. 
  • Claire Thoury, Managing Director of Animafac.
  • Didier Vinot, Vice-President of Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University, lecturer in Human Resources Management in Healthcare organisations.
Our Scientific Committee
  • Emmanuel Bayle, Professor in Sports Management at the International Sports Sciences Institute, University of Lausanne, and Head of the Master’s Degree Sports and Leisure Management.
  • Elisabetta Bucolo, Sociologist, member of the LISE-CNRS (UMR 3320), lecturer at CNAM.
  • Romain Demissy, PhD in Economics, researcher at ATEMIS laboratory, member of the Institut Européen de l’Economie de la Fonctionnalité et de la Coopération.
  • Bernard Enjolras, Research Director at the Institut pour la recherche sociale, Director at the Norwegian Center for Research on Civil Society Voluntary Sector, and Editor at Voluntas.
  • Marie Fare, Lecturer in Economics at Lumière Lyon 2 University.
  • Laurent Fraisse, Researcher in Socioeconomics, member of the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Sociologie Economique, lecturer at CNAM, Valenciennes University and IAE Panthéon Sorbonne.
  • Rupert Graf Strachwitz, PhD in Political Science, Director of The Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society, Berlin.
  • Guillaume Jaubert, Lecturer at Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University, researcher at IFROSS.
  • Laetitia Lethielleux, Lecturer in Management Science at Reims Champagne-Ardenne University (URCA), member of the REGARDS Laboratory.
  • Wilfried Meynet, Lawyer (Marseilles and Luxemburg bars) with expertise in non-profit organisations and foundations legislation, co-Founder of DESU degree “non-profit organisations engineering – Social Enterprise legislation” at Aix Marseille University.
  • Mathilde Renault-Tinacci, PhD in Sociology, researcher at CERLIS and at INJEP-National Education Ministry.
  • Philippe Ryfman, Professor and researcher at the Department of Political Science, Panthéon-Sorbonne Paris 1 Université, researcher at OCCAH (UQAM/Montreal), Lawyer (Paris Bar).
  • Roger Sue, Sociologist, Professor at the Department of Social and Human Sciences, Paris 5 Sorbonne University.
  • Peter Wirtz, Research Vice-President of the Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University, Professor in Management Science.     

A flexible and dynamic team at your service.

Floriant Covelli

Floriant Covelli

Managing Director

Claire Breschard

Claire Breschard

Project Officer

they support us