Requirements for organization of small-scale money collections - Police
Pienkeräykset - syventävää tietoa EN
Causes for which funds can be raised through small-scale money collections
Small-scale money collections are designed for collecting donations to support non-profit causes and to fund other forms of social and communal action. The usual rule of money collection whereby funds can only be raised for non-profit purposes therefore does not apply to small-scale money collections, which can also be run to promote other forms of social action.
However, small-scale money collections cannot be used as a way to promote business. Small-scale money collections also cannot be run to increase the assets of legal persons. In other words, the funds raised through small-scale money collections must be used to promote non-profit causes or other forms of communal action, not to increase the organiser’s wealth. Funds raised through small-scale money collections also cannot be used to support illegal operations or activities that could endanger public order and safety.
Stopping a small-scale money collection as soon as the EUR 10,000 ceiling is reached
The maximum amount of money that can be raised through each small-scale money collection is EUR 10,000, and the money collection must be stopped immediately once the ceiling is reached. It is the organiser’s responsibility to keep track of progress and the amount of money raised and to take steps to wind up the campaign early if necessary. This means actively reviewing the progress of the money collection at regular intervals.
The police must be notified if a small-scale money collection is ended prematurely. If a small-scale money collection ends up generating more than EUR 10,000 despite the campaign’s having been stopped before the ceiling was reached, the excess must be used towards the purpose stated in the small-scale money collection notice.
Duration and geographical reach of small-scale money collections
The geographical reach of small-scale money collections is not limited to, for example, a specific town or a police department’s jurisdiction. In other words, small-scale money collections can cover any area in Finland. However, small-scale money collections cannot be run on the Åland Islands.
The duration of each campaign is limited to 3 months. A shorter duration can also be chosen, and it is worth planning the timing of the campaign carefully, considering, for example, the target amount to be raised. Smaller amounts can usually be raised quickly, in less than three months. The campaign must be ended no later than on the end date stated in the small-scale money collection notice.
It is the organiser’s responsibility to wind up their money collection and ensure that no more donations can be made. The campaign must end on the end date stated in the notice even if the target amount has not been raised.
Organisers of small-scale money collections
Small-scale money collections can, as a rule, be run by the same non-profit organisations that can be issued with a money collection permit. This means that, for example, associations and foundations that do not need to collect donations on an ongoing basis can choose to run small-scale money collections instead.
Small-scale money collections can be run by
- associations entered into the Finnish Register of Associations,
- foundations entered into the Finnish Register of Foundations,
- political parties entered into the Finnish Register of Political Parties,
- religious communities entered into the Finnish Register of Religious Communities,
- the Finnish Red Cross and local and regional units of the Finnish Red Cross,
- student unions within the meaning of section 46 of the Finnish Universities Act and student nations within the meaning of section 47 of the Finnish Universities Act,
- student bodies within the meaning of section 41 of the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Act,
- parish unions and independent parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (only to raise funds for diaconate financial assistance),
- parishes of the Orthodox Church of Finland (only to raise funds for diaconate financial assistance), and
- unregistered groups of at least three natural persons of whom at least one is an adult of full legal capacity and the others are at least 15 years of age. All members of the group must be permanent residents of Finland.
The list is exhaustive, and parties other than those listed above cannot run small-scale money collections in any circumstances
The following are examples of parties that cannot run small-scale money collections:
- Parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland that belong to a parish union
- Parish unions and independent parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and parishes of the Orthodox Church of Finland for purposes other than to raise funds for diaconate financial assistance, such as to pay for building maintenance or furnishings, human resources expenses, funerals or the costs of keeping population records (small-scale money collections cannot be run to fund these activities even in the context of diaconate financial assistance)
- Student bodies of sixth form colleges and vocational schools
- Students of a comprehensive school
- Central government organisations, regional councils, local authorities and joint authorities
- Groups of three or more legal persons, such as businesses, or groups of three consisting of both legal persons and natural persons (e.g. two individuals and a limited company)
There is also a limit to the number of small-scale money collections per organiser: each organiser can run up to two small-scale money collections per calendar year. If the organiser is an unregistered group of individuals, the rule applies separately to each of the individuals involved. In other words, no one individual can be involved in more than two small-scale money collections during one calendar year. The group does not need to be the same both times; each individual can be involved in two separate groups of organisers during each calendar year.
Refusals to allow small-scale money collections to go ahead
The police can refuse to allow a small-scale money collection to go ahead if the proposed organiser does not satisfy the legal criteria. For example, small-scale money collections cannot be run by businesses.
The police can also refuse to allow a small-scale money collection to go ahead or prohibit the use of funds raised if the cause is not one permitted by law. For example, small-scale money collections cannot be run to support illegal activity or to promote business.
In addition, the police can refuse to allow a small-scale money collection to go ahead or prohibit the use of funds raised in the following circumstances:
- An individual involved in organising the small-scale money collection is found to have been convicted of an offence that can be deemed to compromise the credibility of the money collection (such as financial crime or crimes against property) in the previous five years
- The police has reason to suspect that the funds would be used in a manner that would violate key provisions of the Finnish Money Collection Act
- The organiser of the small-scale money collection has failed to disclose information that must be included in small-scale money collection notices or is found to have provided the public with false or misleading information
Illegalities and non-compliances in connection with previous money collection campaigns, for example, can also give the police grounds to refuse to allow a small-scale money collection to go ahead.
Only small-scale money collections that satisfy the legal criteria can be allowed to go ahead. This rule is designed to limit the right to run small-scale money collections to the parties for whom this form of money collection is designed and only for purposes towards which the public can be asked to donate money. The public must be able to trust that their donations are actually used in the way that they intended and not misappropriated in any way. This is why the police has the right to refuse to allow small-scale money collections to go ahead in certain circumstances.
Pienkeräykset - syventävää tietoa-esimerkkitapaus-1 EN
A small-scale money collection is run in order to raise the funds needed to organise a village fête, which is estimated to cost EUR 10,000 in total. The costs include a stage and scaffolding (EUR 5,000), performers’ fees (EUR 3,000) as well as signage and advertising (EUR 2,000).
Despite the organiser’s best efforts to stop the money collection in time, a total of EUR 11,000 ends up being raised.
The excess can be used, for example, to serve free refreshments at the event. If the excess cannot be used for the primary purpose stated in the small-scale money collection notice, it must be used for the secondary purpose provided. The entire amount raised, i.e. EUR 11,000, must be reported in the accounts.
Pienkeräykset - syventävää tietoa-esimerkkitapaus-2 EN
A small-scale money collection was run in order to raise the funds needed to organise a village fête, which was estimated to cost EUR 5,000 in total, but the campaign only ended up generating EUR 4,000.
The campaign must nevertheless end on the end date stated in the organiser’s small-scale money collection notice, and the shortfall must be covered by other means. If the missing funds cannot be raised and the event does not go ahead, all of the funds raised through the small-scale money collection must be used for the secondary purpose stated in the organiser’s notice.