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The Regulatory Framework for Fundraising in Europe

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.

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 in 16 European countries.

  • The research focuses on the regulation of fundraising by CSOs, defined as soliciting voluntary philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporations and grant-making organizations.
  • It examines options for both statutory regulation and self-regulation.
  • It draws upon international legal instruments, country laws and regulations, articles and studies, and maps out a broad spectrum of issues affecting fundraising, from reporting requirements to penalties to restrictions on cross-border donations.
  • It features case studies on Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and Spain, which provide concrete insights on the regulation of fundraising in countries from different regions and with different legal system and philanthropic cultures.
  • The report 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.

The publication was developed under the Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP II) implemented by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. It was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.