Estonia's nonprofit organisations declared 16.3 million euros in donations received during 2012, and following a decline during the crisis years donations to tax-exempt nonprofits have hit a higher level than before the crisis.
Regional Affairs Minister Siim Kiisler, the most senior official responsible for the development of civil society in Estonia, said that on the one hand the growth can be attributed to residents' improved economic standing. "But the increase definitely also shows that people have begun to believe more that it's not the state that has to take care of everything and that citizens themselves can do it too," the minister said, adding that the mentality of helping was becoming increasingly common.
"On the other hand, our associations are becoming increasingly professional, both their communication and management skills have improved, which enables associations to bring in also other funding besides public sector support," he said.
During the economic crisis donations to nonprofits and foundations decreased gradually from the pre-crisis level of 15 million euros to 9.2 million euros in 2010, spokespeople for the Interior Ministry told BNS. An increase has taken place in the past two years.
To help boost voluntary contributions to nonprofits and foundations, the National Foundation of Civil Society in Estonia held a round of applications last year as part of which endeavours by 20 Estonian NGOs to rethink their means and patterns of fundraising were financed. As an example, Agu Laius, manager of the National Foundation of Civil Society, named the Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals, which used the project funds to rethink and improve fundraising through its website, campaigns, sale of merchandise and use of donation boxes.
Speaking on behalf of the Good Deed Foundation, project manager Anna Karolin said that the readiness of recipients and providers of donations alike has increased lately, specifically mentioning businesses as more willing donors. Where at the time of the economy's decline charitable programs rather were cut back, now one's become more generous handing out pro bono services and more willing to engage in philanthropic activities, she said.
Using a grant from the budget of the regional affairs minister's area of government, the Good Deed Foundation provides training to NGOs across Estonia this year aimed at being more effective in attaining one's goals.
Nonprofits Get 16.3 Millions Euros in Donations in 2012