Individual approach to donors is the most effective way to attract donations

On 1 October, the partners of the “Increasing citizen investments in a sustainable civil society in the Baltic Sea region” project met with Swedish civil society organisations to share experiences on human and business sector habits regarding donation to the civil society sector. At the beginning of the discussion, representatives of the Estonian organisation NENO and the Civic Alliance - Latvia outlined the situation in Latvia and Estonia in order to highlight the different approaches and situations in both countries.

According to Kai Klandorf, an Estonian representative, over the last five years, people have been more willing to donate to civil society, as well as more involved in volunteering, and there has been a sharp increase in donations, respectively. Also, a relatively large part of the public chooses to donate small amounts, but very regularly, for example, as a monthly donation. Donation of goods and services, on the other hand, is less popular.

Kristīne Zonberga, a representative of the Civic Alliance - Latvia, describing the situation in Latvia, noted that during the last three years there has been a decline in donations from both individuals and companies to the civil society sector, which is directly related to changes in tax policy. According to the data provided in the annual reports of associations and foundations, it can be concluded that the areas most supported by donations are sports, charity, culture, education and the improvement of social welfare. Respectively, in 2018, the largest drop in donations was experienced by charity (-31%), culture (-30%) and sports (-29%).

In turn, representatives of Swedish CSOs highlighted the Facebook donation button, which is a successful tool for attracting donations to the organisation. The Swedes also emphasised that donors want to get more involved, not only to donate, but also to show that they are socially responsible, while also to receive feedback in return, emphasising their participation. Given that various Swedish organisations were represented, various challenges were also highlighted, such as education in the field, publicity, training of volunteers and others. However, the participants of the discussion acknowledged that the individual approach to addressing potential donors is the most effective and most often provides the desired result.

On 10 November, a document will be presented summarising the findings of this meeting and the results of surveys on the donation habits of citizens, companies, CSOs, as well as the experience of CSOs in receiving donations in Latvia, Sweden and Estonia.

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This information was produced with the financial support of the Nordic Council of Ministers.