1. General Steps for finding information about Environmental NGOs
In this section, you will find some useful general tips on what you can do in order to find information about environmental NGOs.
- Search on the internet (type Keywords such as Green NGO in country X, environmental NGOs in country X)
2. How to set up an NGO in specific European countries
Are you interested to set up an environmental NGO? Are you familiar with the procedure? In the below section, you will find some general information and guidelines on how to set up an NGO in 6 specific European countries (Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, and UK). These particular countries were chosen as examples for this article (partners from the above countries are participating in the SOMRA project). Of course, NGOs can be also set up in other countries too.
The law divides the establishment of an association into two phases:
An association is established through the Founding Agreement or Gründungsvereinbarung in German, containing the name and surname, date of birth, birthplace, address of the founders and the association’s statutes. The founders must report the establishment of the association to the association authority in writing. For the establishment of an association, the agreement of statutes (founding agreement) by at least two people of min. 14 years of age is required. Association founders can be natural or legal persons. Natural persons do not need Austrian citizenship to find an association. It is, for example, possible for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers to find their own NGOs since citizenship is not required for that process.
The process and requirements differ based on the type of organisation; however, the general procedure includes the following basic steps:
The general process of founding an association (including NGOs, charities or voluntary groups) in Finland involves three phases:
Registering is optional, and the registration fee is 100€. It is worth registering as a registered association may apply for funding and financial assistance and cooperate with other associations and authorities. In order to register an association, we have to submit a notice to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office. When the association has been registered, the PRH will send a register extract for the association.
Setting up an NGO in Ireland is a straightforward and easy process. The first step in setting up an NGO in Ireland is to define the charitable purpose that the NGO seeks to achieve. Under the Charities Act 2009, organisations can be established to achieve one of four main goals or charitable purposes; namely,
Any group of people who come together with common interests can form an association. Often, groups of residents, people of the same profession, colleagues in recreational and cultural activities or friends with common projects find in the creation of an association a way to make themselves publicly represented. Steps for creating an Association. To set up an NGO need the following steps:
There are 6 steps to setting up a charity in the UK.
There are different rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Here is more info on how to set up a charity in the UK:
3. Are you interested in being involved in an NGO?
In all the countries mentioned above (Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, UK), people with a migration background (migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers) can volunteer or join in an NGO following the usual procedure as the citizens of each country do.
You can visit the website of the NGO that you wish to be a member and you can submit your application form.
If work in an NGO is paid, the same legal restrictions apply for jobs in other areas. However, many NGOs offer opportunities for unpaid internships, supporting tasks, etc.
4. Restrictions and Barriers to getting involved in NGOs
Below are summarised briefly the main barriers that people with a migration background face in their effort to be involved in an NGO.
There are language barriers, cultural differences, alienation from the labour market, no local friends and acquaintances, and legal restrictions. Some refugees and asylum seekers were assigned state accommodation in the countryside, where public transportation is usually not very good, so for them, it is frequently challenging to reach an NGO physically.
Bundesministerium für Inneres (2021). Vereinswesen: https://www.bmi.gv.at/609/start.aspx
Volunteering opportunities in Austria: https://www.freiwilligenweb.at/
Volunteering options in Vienna: https://ehrenamtsboerse.at/freiwillig/
Civil Society Advocates, Guide: Developments for NGOs, Legislative changes regarding, associations, foundations, clubs, and federation, May 2018, Available at: https://ngo-sc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BOOKLET-Associations-Law-Apr2018-ENG.pdf
NGO Support Centre, Available at: https://ngo-sc.org/
Globe Art Point. Available at: http://www.globeartpoint.fi/2018/05/18/do-you-want-to-found-an-association/
Manoj Bhusa (2013). Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/mbhusal/run-an-ngo-in-finland.
The MIND Project: https://www.caritas.eu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CommonHomePortugalEN2.pdf
Refugee support platform - https://www.refugiados.pt/
Volunteering opportunities: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer
Info on taxes for charities: https://www.gov.uk/charities-and-tax
The Funding Network to connect charities and potential donors: https://www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk/
Trustee vacancies in the UK: https://www.charityjob.co.uk/volunteer-jobs/trustees
Asylum Information Database, Available at: https://asylumineurope.org/
Charity helping refugees and asylum seekers in the UK: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/information/refugee-asylum-facts/the-truth-about-asylum/
Info about charity law: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/charity-purposes-and-rules Charity regulation: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/charity-law-and-regulation