A new Fundraising Act has been proposed for Finland that would make it easier for charities to raise vital funds.

 

A working group is already preparing the reform of the country’s fundraising legislation, and has proposed a new Act to replace the current fixed-term money collection licences that are required each time fundraising is arranged.

 

Under the proposed new act, fundraising would require either a fundraising licence granted by the National Police Board for an indefinite period or the submission of a small-scale fundraising notification to a police department. For a fundraising licence to be granted, there would be a general requirement that the fundraising organiser should be a not-for-profit entity and that the fundraising is for charitable purposes. The fundraising organiser would also have to be a corporation or foundation registered in Finland.

 

Licences would not be needed for small-scale fundraising, which would instead require a police department to be notified. There would be no requirement for the organiser of small-scale fundraising to be a not-for-profit entity nor would the fundraising have to be for charitable purposes. However, the legislative proposals would not allow the organisation of small-scale fundraising to support a business activity or to accumulate wealth for a private individual or a legal person.

 

Under the proposals, a small-scale fundraiser could organise fundraising up to twice per calendar year and the maximum amount raised each time would be set at EUR 10,000. This small-scale fundraising would be restricted to associations, foundations or religious communities registered in Finland and political parties entered in the party register, as well as groups of at least three adults permanently resident in Finland.

 

The proposed act is scheduled to be submitted as a legislative proposal to Parliament in early autumn 2018. It would then enter into force in spring 2019.

 

Member of the working group for fundraising legislation reform and secretary general of the Finnish Fundraising Association (VaLa), Pia Tornikoski said: 

"The current legislation is quite restrictive and has probably discouraged some charities from raising funds from the public. The proposed new Fundraising Act will offer more opportunities, especially for smaller charities, around how they can fundraise. Larger organisations will also benefit from being able to use new and innovative fundraising techniques and channels like digital platforms and social media more easily.

 

"In preparation, the Ministry has genuinely listened to the voice of civil society and fundraisers themselves, while striking the balance of respecting donors' rights and meeting international regulations like the Financial Action Task Force, which combats money laundering and terrorism financing."