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NGO programme for the Baltic Sea Region: How to apply for funding

An annual budget of approximately DKK 6 million has been earmarked for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Programme for NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region (the NGO programme). NGOs are invited to apply for funding from the programme for international co-operation projects. Applicants should read the NGO programme before submitting a funding application.

For applicants

The next call for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Programme for NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region will be opened in the autumn of 2017.   

General Information

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) play a prominent role in the Nordic Council of Ministers' (NCM) co-operation with the Baltic countries and Northwest Russia within a number of its priority areas, but also as partners in building networks and cross-border co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region. In 2013, the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation adopted new guidelines for co-operation with North-West Russia and the Baltic States 2014. These guidelines conclude that NGOs play a key role in co-operation with Northwest Russia and the Baltic States.”

The NCM originally launched the Nordic Council of Ministers' Programme for NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region (the NGO programme) in 2006 to promote co-operation between Nordic, Baltic, Polish, Belarusian and Russian NGOs. An annual budget of approximately DKK 6 million was earmarked for the programme.

NGOs are invited to apply for funding from the programme for international co-operation projects.

Applicants should read the information below before submitting an application.

Application- Requirements and Stipulations

To be considered for the NGO programme, applicants should meet the requirements described below:

1. Non-Governmental Organisation

It is a formal requirement that the applicant and relevant partners are Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The programme defines NGOs as “non-profit, publicly anchored, civic organisations that are neither owned nor controlled by public authorities, nor by private companies, and which have an open and democratic structure”.

Involvements of other actors, such as authorities, within the overall framework of the project are encouraged when feasible.

2.  Clear Objectives Corresponding to NCM Guidelines

The applicant must clearly describe the objectives of the project and how it is planned to achieve them. The objectives must correspond to those stipulated in NCM guidelines for co-operation with Northwest Russia, Belarus and the Baltic countries (see below):

3. Financial Framework

Individual grants will vary in size according to the scope of the planned activity, number of partners, etc., but usually do not exceed DKK 500,000 per year.

4.  Own Input

Applications must include details of the NGOs' own input towards launching and running the project.

Proposals with a part of the budget financed by the applicant or a third party will be viewed favorably.
Co-funding may be given as a monetary contribution, either directly by the applicant or indirectly through a third party (organisation/partner/donor/authority) towards the project.

To be considered as co-funding, the contribution need to be directly linked to the budgetary framework provided and be an integral part of the application and the specific activities within this and provided before or during the implementation period. In-kind contributions, such as use of space, staff time or equipment, are not considered as co-funding.

The application must not be designed to help fund the regular activities, administration or projects of other organisations. Funding should be focused on launching new initiatives that should have the possibility to continue even after the specific project has come to an end.

Funding will not be given to infrastructure projects, e.g. for purchasing IT equipment or to cover construction costs.

5. Partners

Projects under the auspices of the NGO programme must have - including the applicant - at least one partner in the Nordic Region, one partner from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland and one partner from Northwest Russia or Belarus.

In other words, at least three NGOs must be involved in a project for it to be eligible for funding. Proposals exceeding these requirements will be given priority.

There should also be coherence between the project objectives and partnerships. A high level of involvement of all partners within the project and during the design process will be viewed favorably.

6. Gender and Equality

Project planning must also take cognisance of the gender and equality perspective.

7. Sustainability

The applicant must describe how achieved results will be used and how the project co-operation can be sustained also when funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers has ended. The proposals containing a description of follow-up activities will be viewed positively.

 8. Method and Results

There must be coherence between the planned project results and the proposed methodology. In other words, there should be consistency between the problems, objectives and activities, and results.

Furthermore, the project proposal should contain a clear division of tasks and responsibilities.

Expected results should be concrete with verifiable indicators attached.  Cost- efficient projects will be given priority.

9. Communication plan

The applicant must present a plan for how they will communicate about the project and the results achieved.

10. Duration of Project

Applicants must clearly state the duration of the project and whether the activities involved will last for more than one year.

The Nordic Council of Ministers funds projects lasting one year, as well as projects lasting for several years. However, actual grants are only given for one year at a time.

Projects stretching over more than one year must submit annual applications to the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the application form and budget electronically in due time and completed in accordance with instructions, with corresponding annexes and supporting documents attached. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application should be submitted in English.

An advisory group of Nordic representatives will assist the Council of Ministers in the review process.

Applicants in projects which are considered for funding will be contacted by the Nordic Council of Ministers for possible adjustments of the project.

Furher advice and contact details

NGOs from Russia should contact The Nordic Council of Ministers or a Nordic Council of Ministers Office in the Baltic countries ahead of submitting the application.


Izabela Butenko
Phone: +45 33 96 02 00