Support for International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs)

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs can allocate development cooperation funds to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) whose activities are in line with Finland's development policy priorities and goals. This form of support complements Finland's development policy and inter-governmental development cooperation on the sectors and activities with strategic importance.

Rules and Regulations

The Discretionary Government Transfers Act Valtionavustuslaki 688/2001, translation in English (Word, 234 Kb) is applied in INGO support procedures and the use of the grant.

INGO support is directed by the Government Report on Finland's Development Policy and guided by other relevant Ministry policy documents, such as Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy, the Human Rights Strategy, Human Rights Action Plan and Implementing the human rights-based approach in Finland’s development policy.

Finland targets its support on a limited number of proposals by International NGOs and conducts an active dialogue with them. INGOs can be supported financially only when they are considered to be the optimal channel for promoting Finland's development policy objectives.

In addition to national rules and regulations, the INGO support is guided by the norms jointly agreed upon by donors engaged in international cooperation, particularly the OECD's rules on ODA eligibility.


The objectives of Finland's INGO cooperation are to:

  • achieve the goals of Finland's development policy

  • achieve Finland's country- and organisation-specific objectives

  • strengthen civil societies and democracies in developing countries and to pay due regard to the citizens'  opinions and needs in the national and international decision-making

Minimum Requirements

From the point of view of the development cooperation funding, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs considers INGOs to be non-profit organisations that operate politically and administratively independent of governments. The INGO that is eligible for support has to meet the following minimum requirements.

The INGO has to have:

  • at least three different nationalities represented in its governing structures;

  • operations in more than two countries;

  • been registered and/or legally competent for at least two years;

  • funding from at least one other source.

Principles for Support

Among the INGOs that meet the above minimum requirements, the Ministry will evaluate and assess the INGOs and their proposals according to the followingprinciples:

  • previous relevant, successful and efficient operations with proven reliable monitoring and evaluation and reporting systems;

  • expertise and experience of and good cooperative relations with developing countries;

  • financial stability (e.g. ability  to cover its operational expenditure by its fund-raising activities)

  • quality of the Proposal (inter alia, clearly defined objectives, sustainable results, and long term impacts).

All of these requirements and principles above will be taken into consideration when assessing the applications. A successful proposal must be aligned with the objectives set in the Development Policy Programme of Finland and other relevant policy documents, such as the Human Rights Strategy.

Grants to INGOs may be either core funding or project support channelled to activities in developing countries.

  • Core funding can be granted only to INGOs that meet the eligibility criteria for ODA, set by OECD/DAC (chapter 1).

  • In case an organisation does not satisfy the ODA eligibility criteria, project support may be earmarked to activities at a project level that are ODA eligible.

The successful INGO candidates will sign an agreement with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and agree to follow the General Terms and Conditions for the Government Grant.

How to apply

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs opens a Call for Proposals approximately once a year. Applications outside the Calls for Proposals are not accepted. Since the administration of INGO proposals is decentralized in the Ministry, each unit decides individually whether or not they grant support for INGO cooperation each year. As a result, supported sectors and geographical regions vary in each Call. The main Call for Proposals for 2015 was held in January 2015.

Contact Information

The administration of INGO proposals is decentralized in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. For further information please contact the relevant Ministry Unit or Department.

For more general information on the Ministry’s support to International Non-Governmental Organisations, please contact:

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