Number of charities: 850 charities
Total voluntary sector income: 3 billion DKK (~ £355 million)
Employees: Approximately 200.000 people are thought to be employed in the Danish non-profit sector.
The majority of voluntary sector income in Denmark comes from membership fees and monthly gifts (mainly direct debits). Other common methods of giving include:
• Face-to-Face (income generated via memberships only)
• Direct mail
• Mobile donations via text
• Online donations
• Nationwide and/or local fundraising events
Most popular cause: International aid and development
Number of donors: Approximately 2 million people
Danish fundraising charities work within a legislative framework comprised of various separate acts – among others Lov om offentlige indsamlinger (legislation on public fundraising).
In addition charitable and non-profit organisations operating in Denmark must be approved pursuant to s. 8 A and s. 12(3) of the Danish Tax Assessment Act. This is done to determine whether the applying organisation has an adequate level of public support, which is deemed necessary to justify its raison d’etre.
An approval pursuant to s. 8 A and s. 12(3) places certain demands on the approved organisation, but it also offers certain benefits to the organisation and its donors alike. Approved organisations are for example entitled to apply for compensation for irrecoverable VAT, while donors are able to receive tax deductions for their charity gifts.
In relation to VAT, The Danish Fundraising Association (ISOBRO) has furthermore lobbied successfully for the establishment of a VAT Refund Scheme, which now enables non-profit charities to obtain part compensation for irrecoverable VAT, by submitting claims to the Danish Tax Authorities. The Scheme has existed since 2007 and has up till now resulted in compensations of approximately 50 percent on average of the charities’ total irrevocable tax, amounting to around DKK 255 million for the whole period.
There are two ways of receiving tax relief in connection with charitable donations to Danish Non-profit organisations:
• Gifts of over DKK 500
Tax reliefs relating to gifts are calculated annually. Each individual gift must amount to DKK 500 or more in order to be included in the annual statement. In 2009 the maximum tax-deductable amount for one donor was fixed at DKK 14.500.
• Deed of Gift
An agreement to donate a specified amount for at least 10 years. The entire amount is tax-deductable. The tax deduction is limited to a maximum of 15 percent of the donor’s annual personal income.
A study of income figures from 2004-2008 showed a 14 percent rise in the total gross income – although the growth was not evenly divided throughout the sector. Environmental and animal protection organisations saw in particular a substantial growth in income of over 45 percent during this period. Average fundraised income grew by 17 percent although national, social and humanitarian organisations experienced a 48 percent growth and international organisations that of 29 percent growth. The primary areas of growth were in membership fees and legacies.
Following the 2004 tsunami in South-east Asia income increased considerably from 2004 to 2005 and can be largely attributed to the campaigns run by international relief organisations.