The population of the survey is composed of Foundations, defined as nonprofit units that share the following characteristics:
- have their own source of income coming usually from an endowment
- have their own governing board
- use their financial resources for educational, social or other public benefit purposes, either by supporting people or other nonprofit organizations or by operating their own programmes and bodies.
The survey is carried out with the cooperation of some Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano.