Frequently asked questions about money collections - Police
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Frequently asked questions about money collection and money collection permits
A money collection permit is required if you intend to ask the public to donate money without giving them anything in return. You do not need a permit to donate money to charity yourself. Furthermore, no money collection permit is required for donating proceeds from charity events or your organisation’s sales.
Small-scale money collections can, subject to certain conditions, also be run by simply notifying the local police department.
Money collection permits can be issued to non-profit organisations and foundations as well as certain parties specified in the Finnish Money Collection Act. Private individuals and businesses are not eligible for money collection permits and cannot therefore run money collection campaigns.
Money collection permits are issued by the National Police Board. Permit applications must be in writing and submitted to the National Police Board by post, email or via the Police’s online services. To use the Police’s online services, you need a Suomi.fi e-Authorization.
If you wish to amend your existing permit, you should contact the authority that originally issued the permit (either the National Police Board or your local police department). Applications to amend existing permits can be sent by email or by post. Applications to amend money collection permits that are valid indefinitely can also be sent via the Police’s online services.
The Police’s online services cannot be used to request changes to fixed-term money collection permits issued under the old Money Collection Act. In other words, all applications to amend money collection permits issued under the old act must be submitted using a paper form (by email or by post).
Follow the instructions provided on this website and make sure to complete all sections of the application form. This will speed up the processing of your application!
All money collection permits issued under the new act are valid indefinitely. This means that there is no expiry date.
You need to specify a date on which you intend to begin money collection in your permit application. Remember that money collection permits cannot be issued retroactively. In other words, you cannot begin collecting donations until your permit has been issued. You cannot apply for a permit retroactively for a money collection campaign that has already begun.
Money collection permits issued under the old Money Collection Act remain in force until the expiry date specified in the terms of each permit. If your permit is still valid, there is no rush to upgrade it.
If, however, you want to apply for a new permit before your old one expires, follow the instructions on this website to file an application. Please also ask the National Police Board to cancel your old permit.
If your existing permit was issued by your local police department, you should send your new permit application to the National Police Board and ask your local police department to cancel your old permit. It is best to ask for your old permit to be cancelled as soon as your new permit has been issued. You cannot run money collection campaigns without a valid permit.
In the context of money collection, non-profit causes refer to social, educational and ideological causes and other forms of social action.
Money collection campaigns must satisfy the non-profit criterion in two ways: firstly, money collection permits can generally only be issued to non-profit organisations or foundations. This means that the organisation’s rules must specify that its mission is charitable. The organisation must also pursue charitable causes in practice. To qualify for a money collection permit, only a portion of the applicant’s operation can be profit-seeking.
Secondly, all money raised through money collection campaigns must be used to promote non-profit causes. The causes that can be promoted with the funds raised will be specified in the permit. Using the proceeds of money collection campaigns for any other purpose is forbidden.
The purpose for which you wish to raise money should be described in as much detail as possible and you should ideally provide practical examples. Your application must explain how the funds will be used in practice. Without a clear description of the purpose of your money collection and tangible examples, the authorities will not be able to determine whether your application satisfies the non-profit criterion.
Please avoid phrases such as “promoting our organisation”, “pursuing our mission” and “covering the costs of our non-profit activities”, as they do not explain how you actually intend to use the funds raised. Similarly, stating that the money will be used, for example, “to protect children” is too general a description. A much better way to describe your organisation’s objectives would be, for example, to say that “the funds raised will be used to promote child protection by sponsoring summer camps and after-school clubs for children of low-income families and parents with substance abuse issues”. As well as providing details, try to make your description broad enough to avoid the need to constantly amend the terms of your permit.
You cannot. Proceeds from money collection campaigns can only be deposited in the bank account(s) specified in the money collection permit. Please identify all the bank accounts that you intend to use for money collection, i.e. the accounts into which you will ask the public to pay money, in your application.
Yes. A collection account must always be used when organizing both money collections and small-scale money collections. This means that the collection funds must be credited to the collection account in one way or another before, for example, an account is made of the collection.
However, this requirement does not mean that various payment intermediation services or, for example, online crowdfunding platforms cannot also be used to organize collections. Again, donations must still be credited to the collection account through payment systems before final use.
The money collection account must be in a Finnish deposit bank or in a branch of a state-licensed deposit bank in Finland operating in the European Economic Area. In other words, only a bank account opened with a deposit bank can be accepted as a money collection account.
Thus, for example, a mere payment intermediation service cannot be designated as a money collection account, as otherwise the condition laid down by law that the account must be an explicitly a deposit bank account is not met.
There is no limit to the number of money collection accounts that can be used. You can therefore list as many bank accounts as you wish. However, your proceeds from money collection must always be kept separate from your other funds. Permit holders are required to report on the use of funds raised to the competent permit authority. This is why it is usually best to have a separate account or accounts for money collection purposes.
Try to choose your money collection account(s) so as to make it as easy as possible for yourself to keep track of the funds raised and report them. If you are using an account that is also used for other purposes, make sure that you are able to tell your money collection proceeds apart from other transactions by means of, for example, reference numbers. Only the bank account(s) specified in your permit can be used to deposit proceeds from money collection campaigns.
All applicants are required to supply the following supporting documents:
- Explanation of how money collection campaigns and the use of the funds raised will be supervised
- An extract (no more than three months old) from the Finnish Register of Associations / Register of Foundations / Register of Religious Communities or another register kept by a public body
- A copy of the rules of the association or foundation
- A copy of the applicant’s most recently adopted financial statements or other evidence of the applicant’s financial situation
- An annual report, an action plan or other evidence of the applicant’s operations
The National Police Board cannot access the registers, which is why it is up to the applicants to provide the required information.
The permit authorities need personal details in order to run background checks on the individuals identified as being involved in money collection and to assess their trustworthiness. This cannot be done without personal identity codes. You need to supply the names and personal identity codes of all the individuals who will be in charge of running money collection campaigns in your organisation.
The easiest and safest way to supply the information to the National Police Board is via the Police’s online services, or you can use the Police’s secure email address at https://securemail.poliisi.fi/.
Usually at least the members of the board of the association or foundation, so provide at least their information. In addition, always list all people who have access to a money collection account.
Other people can also decide on matters related to the organisation of money collection, such as:
- the organisation’s directors and members of any supervisory board or other statutory governing body,
- the organisation’s managing director and other executives and managers,
- the organisation’s agents,
- anyone authorised to sign official documents on behalf of the organisation,
- the organisation’s money collection manager or chief of finance, and
- the organisation’s treasurer or secretary.
The list is not exhaustive. Please think carefully about the individuals who will be competent to make decisions about money collection in your organisation before submitting your application. Report in the application the names and personal identity number of each such person.
Money collection permits can also be issued to newly established associations and foundations. In the absence of an annual report and financial statements, newly established organisations can support their application with, for example, an action plan and a financial plan. However, these plans need to describe the organisation’s operation and financial situation as realistically and comprehensively as possible.
The organisation’s rules, registration details and an explanation of how money collection campaigns and the use of the funds raised will be supervised also need to be appended.
You need to explain how you intend to ensure that your money collection campaigns and the way in which you use the funds raised comply with the rules. You can describe, for example, how and when the funds raised will be used, how decisions will be made about the use of the funds and how the use of funds will be supervised.
If you intend to use the funds, for example, to sponsor your partners, you should also explain how your partners will report to you on the use of the funds they receive from you, what information your organisation will be able to obtain on the use of the funds or what arrangements have been made to enable your organisation to supervise the use of the funds otherwise.
There are no formal requirements for the explanation. You can, for example, include the explanation in your action plan, as long as the plan is specific to your money collection operation. The key criterion here is that your organisation has a plan in place for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Money Collection Act and the terms of your permit.
In 2020, the National Police Board charges a processing fee of EUR 300 for all new money collection permit applications and EUR 100 for applications to amend an existing permit. A fee of EUR 100 is also payable for the processing of annual reports.
The fees are set in Decrees of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior on Fees Payable for the Services of the Police each year. Both new money collection permit applications and applications to amend existing permits carry a fee regardless of whether or not the application is successful.
The fee is levied once the decision has been made. The bill is sent to the address specified in the application. For applications submitted via the Police’s online services, the processing fee is payable when the application is submitted. In other words, there will be no bill afterwards.
Processing fees for annual reports can also be paid online if you submit your report via the Police’s online services. If you send your report by post or by email, the bill will be sent to the address given in the report.
The law trumps organisations’ rules and applies to everyone. You cannot use your organisation’s rules as an excuse for disregarding the law. You cannot run money collection campaigns without a money collection permit or without notifying the police simply on the basis of a provision in your organisation’s rules.
The answer depends on whether the methods you use to recruit supporting members comply with normal member recruitment rules. You should check whether your organisation’s rules specify the terms of supporting membership and the benefits and obligations of supporting members as well as the membership fees charged from supporting members or the way in which the fees are calculated. As long as these issues are covered by the rules and you also keep a list of supporting members, your recruitment practices are deemed to comply with normal member recruitment rules and do not constitute money collection.
Recruiting supporting members can be classed as money collection, if the terms of supporting membership and the benefits and obligations of supporting members are not specified in the organisation’s rules and if being a supporting member confers no special benefits to such “members”. In such cases, supporting members are not entitled to the membership benefits that other members get in return for paying the membership fee. Collecting membership fees from supporting members without offering them anything in return constitutes money collection. It is important to make a clear distinction between this kind of money collection and normal member recruitment and to explain to donors that their donation will not make them members. You should not, for example, mention anything about recruiting supporting members in connection with such money collection campaigns.
As long as donations are only collected from members, no permit or notice is required. You can ask for donations from your members through, for example, an intranet that is only accessible to your organisation’s members. You can also write to your members directly or ask them for donations through newsletters that are only sent to the individuals listed in your organisation’s membership register.
If you intend to ask for donations not just from your organisation’s members but also from non-members, you need to apply for a money collection permit or file a small-scale money collection notice.
No, you cannot. Apart from the few exceptions specified in the law, a money collection permit or a small-scale money collection notice is required for all kinds of money collection.
Asking your friends to donate money to mark your birthday, for example, does not constitute money collection. However, any appeal for donations that you make to the general public always counts as a money collection campaign even if you make a list of the individuals whom you intend to approach in advance.
You cannot. The public referred to in the Money Collection Act may also consist of juristic persons. Consequently, it is also a question of money collection when, for example, companies or associations are the object of the appeal. So, for a money collection, apply for a money collection permit or make a small-scale money collection notice.
You cannot. For example, if a product is also available free of charge, the activity does not offer genuine consideration, but in practice a donation is requested. So, it's about raising money.
In genuinely remunerated operations, the product usually has a fixed price determined by the seller. Thus, for example, the price is not voluntary or optional.
In the case of a fixed and universal fee, the activity is genuinely remunerative. It is therefore not possible to get the product for free. In this case, it is normal trading and the money collection law does not apply.
If it is not clear whether this is trading or money collection, it may be a prohibited form of organisation. Money collection is prohibited in such a way that there is a clear risk of confusion between trading and money collection.
Sponsorships are one form of money collection. Sponsors agree to, for example, pay for the schooling of a specific child. They usually send the money to a charitable organisation, which makes sure that the funds are channelled to the child whom they wish to sponsor. Sponsors get nothing in return for the money that they donate except for the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing good. Recruiting sponsors therefore constitutes money collection.
Yes, selling immaterial gifts constitutes money collection. Buyers of immaterial gifts get nothing in return for their money, as the money is used to buy goods to help, for example, people in third-world countries. A buyer can, for instance, tell their friend that they have purchased an immaterial gift instead of buying a physical present for the friend. The friend’s present is therefore a feeling of happiness for having helped a worthy cause, which is not a tangible reward for the money spent either.
Sellers of immaterial gifts must make it clear for all those involved that what they are selling are not traditional goods. Online marketplaces must clearly state that the money that buyers spend on immaterial gifts is a donation: the buyer is giving money to a charity and the friend for whom they are buying the gift will be notified that the money reserved for their present has been donated to buy, for example, three mosquito nets to prevent malaria.
Church collections involve asking the public for monetary donations, and they can therefore be considered a form of money collection. However, the Money Collection Act makes a special exemption for church collections that satisfy certain criteria.
No money collection permit is required for church collections held by registered religious communities, as long as the collection takes place in connection with a public religious service and money is only collected from members of the congregation. Religious communities cannot ask for donations online, for example, without a money collection permit. A money collection permit is also required if a religious community intends to collect contributions from people who may be attending their services via a video link.
Registered associations, foundations and the Finnish Red Cross do not need a permit to collect donations in connection with their own events as long as the following conditions are satisfied:
- There must be no admission fee to the event, and the event must be open to the general public.
- The event must be held indoors, or outdoors in a cordoned-off area.
- The event must have a programme.
- The organiser of both the event and the collection must be a registered association, a foundation, the Finnish Red Cross or an operational unit of the Finnish Red Cross.
The funds raised must be used to promote the organiser’s mission. The funds cannot be used to boost business.
If the organiser is a registered religious association, a collection similar to a church collection can be held to raise funds to support the association’s mission.
Yes, if the aim is to raise funds without giving the donors anything in return. However, if the objective is, for example, to sell products or recruit investors, the campaign does not constitute money collection and no money collection permit is required.
Using product sales, for example, as a way to disguise what is actually a money collection campaign is nevertheless prohibited. Crowdfunding must not be used as a means to circumvent the rules.
Yes, in some circumstances. The individual or family must be struggling financially as a result of, for example, an accident, illness or other similar misfortune, phenomenon or circumstances. An individual’s having been in an accident is not enough; they must have also suffered financial hardship as a result.
Collections for individuals or families can be based on a money collection permit, if the terms of the permit provide for these kinds of collections. Alternatively, a small-scale money collection can be run to raise money, in which case the local police department must be notified.
Parish unions and independent parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland as well as parishes of the Orthodox Church of Finland can collect donations for diaconate financial assistance with a money collection permit or by filing a small-scale money collection notice. Diaconate financial assistance can also be offered to individuals and families.
Private individuals cannot raise funds to help another individual or a family.
Collection emblems are symbolic keepsakes of little value, such as pins or stickers, that are handed out to donors. If collection emblems are used, they should be given to donors when they make their donation or shortly afterwards. However, handing out collection emblems is always voluntary.
Collection emblems no longer need to be supplied to permit authorities with money collection permit applications or small-scale money collection notices.
Collection emblems are different from any promotional items handed out in connection with appeals for donations. The two must be clearly distinguishable from each other, and the same items cannot be used for both purposes.
Money collections are usually not allowed to reward donors in any way, as the whole point of money collection is to collect donations. However, you can still distribute, for example, promotional items in connection with your appeals for donations, as long as these are clearly distinguishable from any collection emblems used. Donors can also be offered an opportunity to have their name published, for instance, in a commemorative plaque, on a website or on television.
You can also organise events to thank your donors. For example, donors can be invited to your organisation’s public events or to special gatherings of your stakeholders. These kinds of events do not count as rewards.
However, always remember to draw a clear line between money collection and business.
Money collection permits can be issued to
- non-profit associations entered into the Register of Associations,
- non-profit foundations entered into the Register of Foundations,
- non-profit political parties entered into the Register of Political Parties,
- non-profit religious communities entered into the Register of Religious Communities,
- unregistered non-profit organisations that cannot be registered due to their legal status,
- universities of applied sciences,
- the Finnish National Gallery,
- the Central Fund of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland,
- parish unions and independent parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and
- parishes of the Orthodox Church of Finland.
Money collection permits can only be issued to Finnish organisations. In practice, eligibility is mostly limited to organisations registered in Finland. Money collection permits can also be issued to unregistered organisations that operate in Finland and that cannot be registered due to Finnish laws.
The definitions of universities and universities of applied sciences are laid down in the Finnish Universities Act and the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Act. The Finnish National Gallery also counts as a Finnish organisation, as do the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Orthodox Church of Finland. Some of the organisations eligible for money collection permits are subject to special laws in respect of, for example, the purposes for which funds raised can be used.
Money collection permits can only be issued to the parties identified as competent to run money collection campaigns in the Money Collection Act. This means that private individuals, for example, cannot be issued with a money collection permit. In addition, money collection permits cannot be issued to organisations that do not meet the eligibility criteria. Unregistered associations, for example, do not qualify for money collection permits.
Neither do registered associations that are not categorised as non-profit organisations. This means that businesses, for example, are ineligible.
Money collection permits also cannot be issued to central government organisations, regional councils, local authorities or joint authorities.
All money collection campaigns must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Money Collection Act and the terms of the permit:
- Funds raised through money collection must be kept separate from the organisation’s other funds.
- Funds raised can only be used to promote the cause(s) specified in the permit.
- Appeals to the public must specify the name of the money collection, the cause and the permit number or small-scale money collection number.
- The competent permit authority must be notified of any changes in the organisation’s administrative staff (if these changes affect the individuals in charge of money collection) and any other substantial changes in the way in which money collection campaigns are run within one month of such changes.
- Potential donors must never be pressured into donating, harassed or made to feel guilty in any way.
- The public must always be given truthful information about money collection campaigns.
Remember that you will need to demonstrate how the funds raised were used afterwards. All money collection permit holders have a duty to account for the funds raised or to file annual reports.
Make sure to file your accounting reports and annual reports on time.
The reports are designed to explain to the permit authority how much has been raised through money collection campaigns and how the funds raised have been used. In addition to reviewing permit holders’ accounting reports and annual reports, the permit authorities can randomly select permit holders for more extensive checks.
The consequences depend on the seriousness of the violation and whether you have broken the rules before. Less serious violations are usually punishable by a simple reprimand. As long as there are no more problems after the reprimand, no further sanctions are necessary.
The National Police Board can prohibit permit holders who commit serious violations or break the rules repeatedly from continuing their money collection campaign or from using the funds raised. If the rule-breaking continues or the non-compliances are not rectified, the permit can be cancelled altogether.
Failures to submit annual reports or notify the competent permit authority of changes can also constitute a money collection violation. Using funds raised contrary to the terms of the permit can satisfy the statutory definition of a money collection offence.
The easiest and safest way to supply the information to the National Police Board is via the Police’s online services, or you can use the Police’s secure email address at https://securemail.poliisi.fi/.
Cancellation refers to the competent permit authority’s deciding to invalidate a permit, which renders any subsequent money collection campaigns unlawful.
Most cancellations happen at the permit holder’s request when they no longer wish to continue money collection and want to free themselves from the obligations that come with having a money collection permit.
However, the authorities can also decide to cancel a permit. This can be necessary, for instance, if the permit holder no longer satisfies the criteria on which the permit was originally issued. One example would be a permit holder’s ceasing to be a non-profit organisation.
Sometimes permits have to be cancelled due to permit holders’ rule-breaking and non-compliances. Such cancellations never come as a surprise, however, as the permit holder will always be given an opportunity to defend their actions before the final decision is made. Many permit holders in these circumstances will also have previously received a reprimand, a warning and/or a prohibition order.