There are various funding opportunities for associations. There are more modest operating and facilities grants as well as large project grants. In order to receive funding, the funder usually requires that the association conducts high-quality operations, has been active for at least two years, and that its administration, finances and reporting is properly managed. For operations to be considered high-quality, they must have clear objectives, there must be demand or a need for them, and they must produce the desired results and benefits. However, it is advisable for associations to first focus on their own fundraising and only apply for project grants once they can finance their core activities through fundraising.
Note the following before applying for funding
Each funder has their own application forms, application guidelines and application periods. Remember that receiving external funding may also create new obligations for the association, such as accessibility requirements for the association’s websites, social media accounts and mobile applications. Before applying for funding, make sure the following documents are up to date:
- The association’s rules
- Plan of operations and budget plan
- The previous year’s annual report and financial statement
- The operations inspector’s or auditor’s report
- Financial documentation adheres to the Finnish Accounting Act (opens in new tab) (e.g. there are receipts for each expense)
Find a suitable funder
Umbrella organisations, such as Moniheli or Fingo, may offer small operating grants or larger project funding to their member organisations.
Cities and municipalities offer small operating and facilities grants, for instance. The number and size of available grants as well as application processes by municipality and year. For this reason, it is helpful to actively keep track of what types of funding the city or municipality offers and when.
Arts Promotion Centre Finland, commonly known as Taike, offers grants and subsidies. They only accept applications for funding from registered associations. Taike’s emphasis is on supporting cultural activities. Associations can, for instance, apply for a festival subsidy in order to organise an art or cultural event.
Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations, known as STEA, offers large project funding for operations that promote health and social welfare. In addition to project funding, associations focusing on the issues of health and welfare may apply for targeted operating grants (Ak-avustus). Large associations can also apply for a general operating grant (Ay-avustus).
Finnish government agencies and ministries, such as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the National Agency for Education, and the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations ETNO, offer various types of project funding. The application process and amount of funding offered varies by funder. It is therefore advisable to familiarise oneself with each potential funder individually.
The European Union (EU) offers sizeable project funding for professionally run associations. The EU channels a great deal funding especially for operations in developing countries. The application procedures of the EU, however, necessitate a high level of competence and expertise. In addition, the EU has particular requirements for project management and administration. You can read more about them in Fingo’s EU funding guide (in Finnish; opens in new tab).
Foundations may also offer funding to associations. There are hundreds of foundations in Finland. The best place to find information on the funding available and application processes is the Aurora database (opens in new tab).