Extensive reform of fundraising legislation in sight – Working group's proposals would make it significantly easier to organise fundraising
The working group preparing the reform of Finland’s fundraising legislation is proposing the enactment of a new Fundraising Act. The new act would replace the current fixed-term money collection licences that are required each time fundraising is arranged with a system of licences granted for an indefinite period, and would enable small-scale civic fundraising to be arranged without the need for an official licence.
"A new Fundraising Act in the form proposed would make it considerably easier and simpler to organise fundraising," says Senior Officer Sini Lahdenperä.
The working group submitted its report to Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko on 17 January. The Ministry of the Interior then circulated the legislative proposals widely for comment.
The proposals were prepared in close cooperation with stakeholders. During this process the Ministry of the Interior consulted non-governmental organisations and civic activists at the consultation events and workshops that it arranged and by means of an online survey.
In 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.
Notification to the police would be sufficient for small-scale fundraising
A fundraising licence would not be needed for small-scale fundraising, which would instead require notification to be submitted to a police department. 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. The organisation of small-scale fundraising would be restricted to associations, foundations or religious communities registered in Finland and political parties entered in the party register. In addition, groups of at least three adults permanently resident in Finland would be permitted to organise small-scale fundraising.
The proposed act would retain the opportunity to organise fundraising to assist a single individual or family in financial difficulty, either as fundraising subject to licence or as small-scale fundraising. Fundraising for furthering the study or recreational activities of a daycare centre group, school class or established study or hobby group would also continue to be possible without the need for a licence.
Public sector entities would not be able to engage in fundraising
As before, public sector entities would not have the right to organise fundraising. However, universities, universities of applied sciences, the Finnish National Gallery and the parishes and parish unions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Orthodox Church of Finland would be permitted to organise fundraising. The Fundraising Act would lay down separate provisions for this.
With the aid of annual notifications and accounts rendered for small-scale fundraising, the National Police Board and police departments would be able to engage in monitoring to ensure the lawful use of funds collected in fundraising, the moderate level of fundraising costs and the use of funds raised for the purpose notified.
The proposed act is scheduled to be submitted as a legislative proposal to Parliament in early autumn 2018. The act would then enter into force in spring 2019.
Sini Lahdenperä, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 488 312, [email protected]