Finland’s new Fundraising Act came into force on 1 March, making it easier for charities to raise funds.
Pia Tornikoski, secretary general of the Finnish Fundraising Association VaLa, and member of the working group for fundraising legislation reform that proposed and worked on the Act, commented:
“Particularly during the current situation with COVID-19 when charities are losing income because of cancelled events, a great advantage of the new Act is the ability it grants charities to react quickly with appeals. Hopefully people are willing to donate and charities will at least get some compensation for their loss.”
Under the previous laws, charities applying for a permit to collect funds had to send their one to two year fundraising plans to the police for approval, setting out how they planned to appeal for funds during this time and the channels they would use. Permits granted under the old Fundraising Act were also all fixed-term. As of 1 March, this is no longer the case, with permits valid indefinitely, and the new law also making it easier to organise smaller appeals.
Under the new Act, fundraising requires either a licence granted by the National Police Board for an indefinite period, or the submission of a notification to a police department in the case of small-scale fundraising. For a fundraising licence to be granted, the organiser must be a not-for-profit entity and the fundraising for charitable purposes only. The fundraising organiser also has to be a corporation or foundation registered in Finland.
Small-scale fundraisers can organise fundraising up to twice per calendar year and the maximum amount that can be raised each time is set at EUR 10,000. This is 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.