NGOs are the backbone of civil society trying to make the world better. Our society has so many needs that the NGOs fill those gaps with their essential work. However, even for the best causes, having the appropriate funds remains an issue.
Generally, NGOs have a limited ability to raise funds on their own. For this reason, EU funding opportunities for NGOs are fundamental for these organizations to continue their impactful work for society.
Let us review what an NGO is, why they are important, and why EU funding opportunities for NGOs are a European priority.
What are NGOs?
NGOs is the acronym for non-governmental organizations that belong to the civil society organizations (CSO). They are non-profit groups that function independently of any government interference.
The United Nations (U.N.) defines an NGO as "a not-for-profit, voluntary citizen's group that is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good. Task-oriented and made up of people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizen's concerns to Governments, monitor policy and program implementation, and encourage participation of civil society stakeholders at the community level."
Why are NGOs Important?
These non-governmental organizations work both at the National or EU level. Most of them represent networks of platforms or associations. NGOs have the power to affect EU policies and processes.
According to TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), the European Commission regularly consults NGOs on various policy areas to maintain an open, transparent dialogue with the civil society.
Why EU funding Opportunities for NGOs are a priority
NGOs being non-profit, have limited funding opportunities, and for that reason, EU funds are crucial. Most NGOs receive funds from donations or by collecting membership fees. Still, they are not always enough to cover the expenses for their vital work.
The EU recognizes the significance of NGOs for civil society as they are essential for active citizenship that Europe promotes vividly. They cannot exist without adequate public financing and with them the participatory democracy that Europe strives for.
Nevertheless, NGOs' funding never goes to waste as it contributes to local growth and employment. Specifically, civil society represents roughly 10% of the EU's GDP. That means that many Europeans operate within the civil society doing good for society. Every euro spent in civil society organizations is an investment towards equality and inclusiveness.
Have a look at these EU funding opportunities for NGOs
Budget: € 400,000
Description: The primary goal of Cooperation Partnerships is to allow organisations to increase the quality and relevance of their activities, to develop and reinforce their networks of partners, to increase their capacity to operate jointly at transnational level, boosting internationalisation of their activities and through exchanging or developing new practices and methods as well as sharing and confronting ideas.
They aim to support the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices as well as the implementation of joint initiatives promoting cooperation, peer learning and exchanges of experience at European level. Results should be re-usable, transferable, up-scalable and, if possible, have a strong transdisciplinary dimension.
Selected projects will be expected to share the results of their activities at local, regional, national level and transnational level. Cooperation Partnerships are anchored to the priorities and policy frameworks of each Erasmus+ sector, both at European and national level, while aiming at producing incentives for cross-sectoral and horizontal cooperation in thematic areas.
Title: Education for democracy
Budget: € 3,000,000
Description: Education, from early childhood to lifelong learning, plays an important role in bolstering democratic citizenship and strengthening the resilience of democratic societies. It can play an essential role in the promotion of core values like human rights and the rule of law, as well as in the prevention of human rights violations. It can also help promote gender equality, disability inclusiveness, a culture of peace and non-violence, environmental awareness, appreciation of linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. Education can contribute to tackle radicalisation and successfully integrate migrants and refugees.
Research shows that voters with more extreme attitudes are overrepresented among citizens with low formal education and a below-average household income. Populist discourses and extremist groups find more support among citizens who benefit less from cultural modernisation, economic liberalisation and internationalisation.
Involvement of citizens and young people, including through NGOs, social partners and grassroots organisations, and cooperation with cultural and creative sectors are strongly encouraged to ensure the achievement of expected outcomes.
Programme: EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Budget: € 92,000
Description: The Call for Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives is intended to support activities aiming at enhancing relations between Greek NGOs and entities in the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and contribute to the overall objective of the Active Citizens Fund.
Bilateral cooperation refers to networking, exchange, strengthening cooperation, sharing and transfer of knowledge, technology, experience and best practice between NGOs and other entities in the beneficiary states and in the donor states and/or international organisations. Searching for partners for donor partnership projects prior to or during the preparation of a project proposal, the development of such partnerships and the preparation of an application for a donor partnership project, also contribute to bilateral cooperation. Activities such as short-term international exchanges of experiences and know-how, including internships, traineeships and participation in conferences, seminars and short training courses, as well as youth study trips to foster communication amongst NGOs and other entities in Greece and the donor states are eligible for funding under the Call for Bilateral Cooperation initiatives.
Priorities for Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives include strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of Greek NGOs, and the exchange of good practices between national NGOs and entities in the donor states. Particular emphasis will be given to areas of concern that will actively contribute to the overall objective of the Active Citizens Fund in Greece, such as civic engagement (especially among youth); promotion and protection of human rights; watchdog and advocacy roles of the civil society sector (focusing especially on how to influence policy-makers and cooperate with local authorities); empowerment of vulnerable groups (with a focus on unaccompanied minors and Roma); gender equality and especially women empowerment, as well as activities combatting gender based violence.
Each supported initiative must be aligned with the respective outcome and outputs of the Bilateral Initiatives Fund, as described in the Guidelines for Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives and be quantified according to its nature and objectives. For more details about the outcome, outputs, and indicators, kindly consult Article 3 of the Guidelines for Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives.
Youth study trips aim to encourage young people (18-30 years old) from NGOs in Greece and the Donor States to share good practices and examples that could be used to tackle different social problems or in raising awareness around social issues.
Programme: EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Budget: € 92,000
Description: The Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives provided for in Article 4 of the Programme Rules, are intended to support activities aiming at enhancing relations between Portuguese NGOs and entities in the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and contribute to the objective of the Active Citizens Fund.
Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives are intended to finance short-term international exchanges of experiences, including internships and participation in conferences, seminars and short duration training courses, and to foster contacts amongst NGOs and other potential partners.
Priorities for Bilateral Cooperation Initiatives include strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of NGOs in the Portuguese civil society, namely capacity building in specific areas like advocacy and public policy watchdog, fundraising and diversification of funding sources and volunteer's management, and also promoting gender equality and combating gender-based violence and to contribute to the objective of the Active Citizens Fund.
Each supported initiative shall contribute at least to one outcome and deliver at least one output, from the indicators set for this Programme and quantified according to its nature and objectives.
How to use EUcalls effectively
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