Print this Page
Print this Page

A new Strategy for Social Capital Development aims to support active citizenship and enhance creativity of Poles.

Show all Profile-News...

Poland/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies

In the National Strategy for Cultural Development 2004-2007 there were no direct references to the issue of social cohesion. Indirectly, this issue is addressed in the main goal of the Strategy – the balanced development of culture in the regions. Another document of the Ministry of Culture, the Supplement to the NSCD 2004-2020, touches on the issue of building a community support system including the assurance of local assistance for those people who experience or are threatened by exclusion.

In 2009, a report on "Poland 2030. Developmental challenges" has been issued by the Team of Strategic Advisors of the Prime Minister. The scientific editor of the paper is MichaƂ Boni, who took up the post of Minister of Administration and Digitisation in November 2011. The document outlines the vision of possible development paths for Poland in the next 20 years. Referring to the already completed transformation process in Poland, and showing the possibility of further modernisation, the study shows dilemmas to be jointly resolved in the near future, particularly in the areas of economic, social, infrastructure, energy security and efficient management of the state. One of the crucial areas indicated in the report is the further development of social and creative capital of Poland.

The report lists 10 important challenges to be faced by Poland over the next two decades: growth and competitive edge of the economy, demographic developments, high professional activity and adaptability of labour resources, adequate infrastructural potential, energy and climatic safety, knowledge-based economy and development of intellectual capital, solidarity and regional cohesion, enhancement of social cohesion, efficient state, and an increase in social capital. The report analyses the current situation of Poland in areas such as: country development, economic growth, the situation of Poles and the Polish position on the economic and social map of Europe. It identifies the directions of state policy in order to meet the challenges of development. It also identifies the path of sustainable development of the country by polarisation and a diffusion model. By 2012, the Team of Strategic Advisors of the Prime Minister published 11 more reports concerning issues discussed in "Poland 2030. Developmental challenges" such as: innovation, the labour market and the development of the Polish and European (world) economy, education, science and more.

Within the next years the management of Poland's development is to be realised with the support of a system of planning documents created by a Long-term Strategy of Country Development (until 2030), a Midterm Strategy of Country Development (until 2020) and 9 integrated strategies. One of these is The Strategy for Social Capital Development, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The actions within the Strategy are aimed at supporting active citizenship, encouraging cooperation and enhancing the creativity of Poles, which is extremely important for the cultural sector as a whole.

Volunteer Sector

The Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Work adopted in April 2003 provided a legal framework for funding activities of NGOs that are subsidised by public funds. It defines a volunteer as a person who is engaged voluntarily and without remuneration in work for society, NGOs and various institutions engaged in different social areas.

The report "Voluntary Work, Philanthropy and 1% - report from research, 2007", published in November 2008 by the Klon / Jawor Association, shows that in 2007 only 11.3% (that is about 4 million) of adult Poles were engaged in voluntary work. This figure is more than 10% less than in 2006. About 68% of volunteers worked over 5 hours per day. It is less than in previous year. In 2008, about 20% of volunteers declared working in more than one organisation, while in 2007 the figure was 40%. Volunteers worked mainly in charity organisations and groups, religious and parish organisations, organisations and groups active in the field of education and upbringing and the Volunteer Fire Brigade, Volunteer Mountain Rescue (GOPR) and Volunteer Lifeguards (WOPR). Most volunteers have a higher degree of education (generally, the higher the education, the greater the activity). The research confirms that most volunteers are aged between 15 and 19 years old (pupils and students). The inhabitants of rural areas are also often involved in volunteer work.

The above mentioned research also embraced the issue of philanthropy. In 2008, 28% of adult Poles granted financial or in-kind support to NGOs and social or religious movements. This is slightly more than in 2007. Poles support mainly charity organisations (11.6%), humanitarian aid organisations (7.7%), religious and parish organisations and movements (5.4%). In general, people with higher education, aged between 26 and 45 years of age, are the most engaged in philanthropic activities.

According to the Klon / Jawor Association's research from 2010, there are 12 000 foundations and 71 000 associations in Poland. Nearly one third (31%) of them are interested in culture and art and 14% operate mainly in this field of activity. Almost half involve theatrical, musical or cinematic activities; slightly less operate in the field of visual arts, painting, sculpture, photography and architecture; one third focuses on national and regional traditions, monuments and places of memory or they run museums. Cultural organisations are also active in other fields, such as: education, sport, recreation and local development.

Table 1:    Main fields of activity for NGOs in Poland 2004-2010






Sport, tourism, recreation, hobbies










Culture and art





Social services, welfare





Source:    Basic facts on nongovernmental organisations 2010, report by Klon / Jawor (2011).

The cultural non-governmental sector is mainly concentrated in big cities – almost half of NGOs operate in the past or present provincial cities (15% in Warsaw). At the same time, 22% of cultural organisations operate in rural areas.

Cultural organisations have rather small budgets: the average income per year is 13 000 PLN, while the average budget for the entire Polish non-governmental sector is 20 000 PLN. There are huge differences between NGOs in rural and urban areas: the average budget of a cultural organisation in a village is only a few thousand, while in towns the figure is close to 20 000 PLN (and in the capital city exceeds 30 000 PLN). The budget of cultural NGOs in 2009 was based on public funds (42%) and donations, 1% of income taxes (17%) and membership's fees (15%). Nearly one-third of organisations applied for EU financial support in the past two years via projects – about a half with success, and two thirds intend to apply in the future.

The financial situation probably results in only 14% of cultural NGOs having permanent workers and another 23% are contract workers. A significant percentage of employees working in cultural NGOs have higher education degrees and the majority of them are women (there appears to be a feminisation trend among those working for cultural NGOs).

Foundations and associations which represent this sector more often join international networks and federations and also co-operate with foreign partners. Still, cultural organisations' main partners are local communities and authorities as well as public institutions. Cultural NGOs maintain frequent contacts and co-operation with the media which is not characteristic for the entire sector. Only 16% declare frequent and regular cooperation with other NGOs and only 22% are members of national associations of nongovernmental organisations.

Chapter published: 20-08-2015

Your Comments on this Chapter?