Regulating fundaraising in Europe – A timely issue

(ECNL) We invite CSOs, policymakers, academics and other interested parties to join us in our pursuit of a better environment for fundraising activities. As a first step, we proudly present our comprehensive research on the topic!

legislative framework for philantropy Fundraising regulation is a timely subject in Europe, as the past decade has seen a number of countries revisit their regulatory framework on the subject. The legislative changes show diverse trends: many aim to reduce administrative burdens and regulatory controls on fundraising activities while others increase state oversight.

Some countries have introduced new laws: for example, the Polish Act on the principles of conducting public collections and the  Slovak Law on Public Collection were both adopted in 2014. In the UK, the 2016 Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill conferred additional powers on the Charity Commission to regulate fundraising and proposed a new fundraising regulator.  In France, a new regulatory regime for crowdfunding came into force in 2014, and a special law on SMS donations was adopted in 2016.  In Germany, meanwhile, 13 federal states, have repealed their Collection Laws in the past two decades. And in Finland, the Interior Ministry has presented a proposal for a new fundraising act to replace the current Money Collection Act, making fundraising activities more flexible and eliminating the prior authorization procedure.

Despite the actuality of the topic and the importance of civil society organizations’ (CSOs) right to access resources, there has been relatively little research regarding just how CSO fundraising is regulated. To help fill this gap, ECNL has published an extensive study comparing the legal framework for fundraising which covers 16 countries from all regions of Europe; 21 international and regional documents; 65 laws and regulations; 101 secondary resources; 30 links and websites; 3 case studies.

This report is just a first step towards further research to assess the impact and implementation of legislation and self-regulation fundraising. In the coming year, we also plan to:

  • Launch a multi-stakeholder dialogue on how best (if at all) to regulate fundraising;
  • Create global guidelines and a toolkit on the minimum standards and principles of fundraising regulation and self-regulation;
  • Conduct follow-up research on the subject.

In case you are interested in joining us in our pursuit of a better environment for fundraising activities, please, contact ECNL’s Francesca Fanucci at 

Read the report here
Download our short summary here