This toolkit is intended to support the organisational and volunteer work of Seta’s member associations. All organisations are different and have different challenges. This toolkit will be supplemented during the project ‘Voi ja saa! -voimaa sateenkaarijärjestötyöstä’ (2022–2024). For feedback and further information, please contact Enni Rasimus, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Statutory meetings
- Annual report
- Operational plan
- Financial statement
- Communication plan
- Course and quorum of a meeting
- Organisation and roles of the board
- Good financial management of the association
- Annual clock
- Accessibility statement
- Associations Act
- Employment Contracts Act
- Employer’s obligations
- Termination and cancellation of contract
- Collective agreement
- Advantages of non-profit organisations
- Rules for a safe space
- Equality plan
- Statistics and information collection for funders
- About Seta’s training for member organisations
- Applying for funding
- Recruitment of members
- Advocacy work
- Communication and social media
- Training activities
- Visits to educational institutions
- Reaching and recruitment of volunteers
- Feedback forms
The spring and autumn meetings are the association’s statutory, most important meetings. They are governed by the Associations Act and the association’s rules. The rules of the association determine whether the association has one or two statutory meetings and what is the interval between them. These statutory meetings involve defining the most important issues of the association and approving the necessary documents, annual report, operational plan, financial statement and appendices. The board of the association is decided on at a statutory meeting.
The annual report is presented at the spring meeting and the operational plan at the autumn meeting.
The annual report is a document in which the association describes its activities for the past period based on the operational plan. The annual report is prepared every year. The financial statement is approved in connection with the annual report. The annual report is presented at the spring meeting.
The operational plan is a document related to the planning of the association’s activities, in which activities are planned for the coming year. A budget is usually attached to the operational plan. The operational plan is presented at the autumn meeting.
The financial statement is a document drawn up for the completed financial period, which consists of the year-end accounts and other financial statement documents. The financial statement explains the financial result of the association’s activities.
The communication plan is usually prepared in connection with the operational plan. It contains key communication goals, measures to be taken, target groups, communication channels, scheduling, etc.
The agenda is a list of issues to be discussed at the meeting. It has a structure that guides the course of the meeting. Issues are dealt with item by item in accordance with the list, and usually issues are not discussed after the item has been closed.
Changes can be made to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.
Minutes are an account of a meeting or official proceedings drafted in a specified form. The minutes of the previous meeting are approved at the next meeting.
Course and quorum of a meeting
The association’s statutory meetings and board meetings have rules regarding the course of the meeting. To have a quorum, board members must be present at the meeting in accordance with the association’s rules.
The board is decided on at a statutory meeting, usually the spring meeting. In larger organisations, the board is decided on at the general assembly or representative assembly. The roles of the board are elected either at a statutory meeting or at a board meeting depending on the association’s rules. At the representative assembly, for example, Seta ry elects members to the board from the body of representatives. At Seta’s representative assembly, the roles of the board are elected right away.
Organisation and roles of the board
The official roles of a new board are assigned at the organisation meeting, which typically takes place after the autumn meeting in the board’s new term. The vice-chair, secretary and treasurer are elected at the organisation meeting. Informal roles, such as the spokesperson and event or volunteer officer, can be elected at the same meeting, but these roles may also be assigned later.
The vice-chair presides over meetings if the chair is unable to attend. The vice-chair usually has the authority to sign documents.
The secretary prepares all the necessary and lawful documents regarding meetings and decisions.
The treasurer monitors the association’s financial transactions and budget, handles invoicing and ensures the preparation of the financial statement. If the association has an organisation secretary or similar, the treasurer works in cooperation with them.
The communication officer coordinates the association’s communications. They do not necessarily have primary responsibility for provision of information, but enable smooth informing and communication.
All areas of responsibility have their own officers from the board. The primary responsibility for any task does not lie with the officer, but rather they coordinate tasks for the entire board.
Good financial management of the association
According to legislation, registered and unregistered associations have an obligation to keep accounting records. With good financial management, the members of the association are aware of whether the association’s funds have been used sensibly and correctly. The whole association benefits from well-managed finances, which often enable a significant part of the association’s activities for members and the development of such activities.
The annual clock is prepared for one year at a time, or for several years in the case of projects. The annual clock is a tool that can be used to outline the association’s yearly activities. It also supports communication and other activities.
The accessibility statement details the status of a website’s accessibility as well as any shortcomings, how they are going to be rectified and the schedule for doing so. It also explains how to give feedback on accessibility. The accessibility statement is mandatory by law for certain organisations.
Some organisations that receive grants from the state (e.g. STEA) are considered to fall under the scope of the law.
For the accessibility statement, it is necessary to first assess the accessibility of the websites. This can be done by a professional or you can do it yourself following the instructions. Preparing the actual statement is easy and is done by carrying out the assessment and completing the accessibility requirements form.
The Associations Act covers all legislation in matters relating to associations. Association operators must be aware of the contents of the act.
Employment Contracts Act
If the association has employees, the Employment Contracts Act is applied in activities. The Employment Contracts Act defines everything that is not regulated by the collective agreement.
The employer has certain obligations prescribed by law. In addition, it is good practice to provide the employee with guidance and support for doing the work.
Associations may need employees for various tasks. In organisations, such tasks include especially projects, financial management and event production. If the organisation has no assets, it is possible to apply for a worker on pay subsidy from Kela. You can also apply for Vacant Job (Paikka auki) funding from STEA.
Employment contract templates are available on the Internet and you can draw up a good employment contract based on them. It is a good idea to always include grounds for termination in the additional information.
Termination and cancellation of contract
An employee cannot be terminated on frivolous grounds, but rather there must be a serious breach of the employment contract. You also cannot terminate an employee unless it is specifically mentioned in the employment contract. The employment contract is cancelled automatically if the employee is not present at work as agreed for seven consecutive days. In remote work, absence must be interpreted on a case-by-case basis.
Collective agreements are agreements between employees’ and employers’ organisations. They are sector-specific, with different collective agreements for different sectors. The collective agreement determines, for example, the accumulation of vacation days, grounds for wages, matters concerning additional work and other issues related to the content of the work. For example, many of Seta’s member organisations apply the collective agreement for organisations in the social services sector.
If the organisation has volunteers, it is definitely worth taking out liability insurance. It is used to cover various kinds of damage to persons or goods. Without liability insurance, your organisation may itself be liable to pay compensation for the damage.
Employers have mandatory insurances and contributions, which are listed in the Suomi.fi service.
Advantages of non-profit organisations
Non-profit associations have some tax advantages.
Non-profit associations are also offered services and tools for free or at a low cost, when for others, they are subject to a charge. Operating under Allianssi, Tech Soup offers free services to registered associations (not cooperatives), including G-Suite, Teams and Microsoft software, as well as Adobe software and other useful tools at a discount.
Canva is a free and easy-to-use graphic design tool. Canva’s Pro features are free of charge for non-profit associations.
Trello and Asana are free project tools that can be used to plan activities. They are particularly useful in projects and event planning. Both are also available in PRO versions subject to a charge. You can get a 50% discount code for Asana’s paid service from Tech Soup.
Seta offers the FloMembers service free of charge to its member organisations.
Discord and Slack are discussion platforms where you can create a separate channel for each topic. They are free and can be used to easily coordinate board and volunteer activities as well as involve visitors in operations as well. The advantage of these, compared to e.g. WhatsApp, is that there is no need to share personal data with others.
The GDPR, i.e. the General Data Protection Regulation, is a law regulating the processing of personal data that has been applied throughout the EU since 2018. Its purpose is to improve the protection of personal data and data protection regulations. The data of the individuals in the person register must be protected, and it must not be possible for the data to end up in the wrong hands. All personal data registers (member register, volunteers, etc.) must be stored in a secure manner. Individuals have the right to ensure that their data is protected, as well as the right to erase the data from all registers if they so wish. This is the purpose of, for example, the FloMembers service. There are also other secure services and ways to keep a register. NB! Every list that contains a person’s name and contact details can be considered a person register, including in surveys. In GDPR matters, passwords should be well taken care of and they must be strong enough.
A separate privacy statement must be prepared for each person register. The privacy statement contains a detailed breakdown of all the data that is collected, who collects the data, what kind of data is collected and for what purpose. The register must have a name and it must state who has access to the register, who maintains the register and what the register’s retention period is. If the data in the register is used outside the EU, this must be mentioned. For example, the Mailchimp service stores its data in the US, and this must be mentioned in the register if you use the service.
However, the purpose of the GDPR is not to make it difficult to keep a register; it is still allowed to do so in various cloud services, on a hard disk or even on paper. The most important thing is to prepare statements for the registers and take care of the registers. However, we do not recommend paper registers, as they can be destroyed or lost more easily.
For examples of privacy statement, see the Allianssi website:
Rules for a safe space
A safe space means a physically, mentally and socially safe space where there is no need to fear discrimination or harassment. Seta’s rules for a safe space are complied with in Seta’s activities. We hope that member organisations will draw up their own rules for a safe space to make activities comfortable for everyone.
Examples of rules for a safe space:
In order to promote and maintain equality in the organisation, it is advisable to draw up an equality plan. This ensures that equality is actively promoted in the community and that everyone has the same opportunities to participate, work and volunteer. Seta’s position is that all communities should evaluate and promote equality in their own activities. This means that no one is discriminated against in activities based on any of the characteristics defined in the Equality Act. This is the association’s internal document according to which activities are planned.
Statistics and information collection for funders
It is worth keeping statistics, whether you have a funder or not. From statistics, you can see your own target groups as well as who is not being reached. Funders often require information to be collected for reporting purposes. Seta also requires its member organisations to provide some kind of statistical information on their activities for the purpose of organisation grants.
Statistics should be collected on a continuous basis. Whenever you organise an event, collect the number of participants and more detailed information, if the funder so requires.
About Seta’s training for member organisations
Seta occasionally organises training for its member organisations. The training can cover the use of various software, volunteering, organisational activities or the rules for a safe space, for example. Further information on training is provided using the email list.
Applying for funding
Funding for activities can be applied for from various municipal committees. For example, if people under the age of 29 are involved in the activities, the youth committee can award an operating grant. The social welfare and health care committee and the sports committee also award grants, but this varies from municipality to municipality. Grants are awarded for activities such as peer support groups, training and camps. To apply for a grant, you usually need at least:
- The approved operational plan of the association
- The approved budget of the association
- The rules of the association on the first application or when the rules
Application periods vary by municipality and you should check them on your city’s website.
Funding for various activities related to art and culture can be applied for from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland Taike.
With the wellbeing services counties reform, the grant arrangements of municipalities will also change, with grants to be applied for also or only from the wellbeing services county going forward. More information on this later.
The Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) offers associations larger project grants for activities that promote health and wellbeing. These can include, for example, peer support and training activities. After the project, associations can apply for targeted operational funding (AK grant) from STEA. Large associations can also apply for a general grant (AY grant).
STEA’s application periods are in the spring for first applications and at the end of the year for follow-up applications. More precise application periods and criteria are available on the STEA website.
Foundations can also provide some grants to associations for research and projects. There are hundreds of foundations in Finland. The best place to find information about current funding and application processes is the Aurora database. For example, funding for activities in Swedish can be applied for from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.
Toimeksi.fi lists some foundations that award grants to organisations.
You should set aside plenty of time for writing the applications and carefully familiarise yourself with the application criteria. When applying, you should also be prepared for reporting and start compiling statistics on your activities immediately.
Small-scale money collection
A small-scale money collection permit can be applied for from the police for a donation campaign running for a maximum of 3 months and amounting to no more than EUR 10,000.
Recruitment of members
The strength of an association lies in its members. It is a good idea to make member campaigning part of active operations. For tips on recruitment of members, see the member recruitment guide of EHYT ry.
Member organisations can engage in local and national advocacy work. The advocacy work must be planned and pertinent.
Cooperation with different operators enriches one’s own activities. You can get the word out better when you have partners who share your cause in their own networks.
Communication and social media
Communication is communicating about activities, events and positions outwardly and inwardly. When planning the organisation’s communication, it is advisable to draw up a communication plan based on which it is possible to produce clear and planned communication.
Using social media is commonplace in communication. You should only follow up-to-date sources when reading about social media. The instructions for using social media also change as the applications and platforms are updated. If possible, small amounts of money should be spent on communication and marketing on social media.
Popular social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and LinkedIn.
If a member organisation wants to organise training, it is always a good idea to contact the national Seta and find out if anyone else in the area organises similar training.
When organising training, the following should be taken into account:
- Budget/financial estimate (what can be implemented and on what scale)
- Target group
- Matters to be covered
- Location (space reservation or practices must be taken care of well in advance)
- Registration practices
- Pedagogical meaningfulness (needs of considering the target group, towards inclusiveness, breaks, everyday language, taking into account that not everyone is at the same starting level, different learning needs and accessibility, if can be taken into account)
- Materials (are there brochures, etc. to hand out, are slides shared if there are any, what is needed as material for carrying out e.g. exercises)
- Meals (if yes, what and how – a must for longer training, but is e.g. lunch at own expense or can it be provided)
- (Possible accommodation if e.g. 2-day training – is it provided?)
- (Will participants’ trips be paid for, if any)
- Will there be external trainers or experience experts – with them you need to carefully go over the schedule, framework and possible remuneration (or lack thereof).
- What advance information is provided about the training
- Other: e.g. advance questions from participants
- (Will the participants receive certificates, which must also be prepared)
It is also worth thinking about whether to organise the meeting remotely as a webinar or on site.
Visits to educational institutions
Seta’s member organisations supply visitors to comprehensive schools and secondary educational institutions according to their resources. Visits by Seta offer young people basic information about the diversity of sexual orientation, gender and types of family, norms and human rights.
These visits are necessary, taking into account the results of School Health Promotion studies and the current curriculum.
Organisational activities go smoothly when run by satisfied volunteers. Committed volunteers feel that their work is important and are part of a larger whole, community and group of friends. People commit to activities for a certain period of time and continuation is always reviewed after the activities.
Reaching and recruitment of volunteers
Reaching volunteers can seem challenging, and it requires planning and being active.
Events and fairs:
Participate in local fairs and events. At events, you should hand out printed materials and talk about your own activities. You should also collect the email addresses of those who are interested and contact them after the event.
The grapevine refers to spreading the word among friends and acquaintances. Tell as many people as possible about your activities and ask them to spread the word. You already have people involved in the activities, maybe their friends are also interested in volunteering.
Use the communication plan as a basis. Create interesting content and remember to mention in every post that you are looking for more volunteers. Increase your followers on social media with campaigns, opinionated content, commenting and paid advertisements.
Search engine optimisation:
All public information about the association and its activities can be found compiled on the website. There should be updated information, pictures and forms. There are ready-made WordPress plug-ins for search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation is simple and easy if you find out how it is done.
Search engine optimised websites can be found more easily by people looking for information. A good website also convinces people that the activities are of high quality.
Feedback should be collected on events, groups, training and, for example, websites. With feedback, you will succeed in developing your activities and get important information about your visitors.
If you prepare a feedback form, try to make it as easy to complete as possible. You can prepare a feedback form using Google or Microsoft Forms.