The Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) issued the first Comparative Analysis of Systems of Public Funding of CSOs. Exploring the legal and institutional frameworks for public funding of CSOs in Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Scotland, Serbia, and Slovenia, the analysis aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the procedures of public funding of CSOs in these countries and thereafter, offering specific recommendations for the system of public funding in Macedonia.
While focused solely on a national level, the analysis includes both the legal framework for procedures of public funding of CSOs and the existing rules and standards in practice. The latter has been assessed through a questionnaire and by confrontation of each standard/rule with fundamental principles that should govern public funding of CSOs and public spending in general – legality, transparency, efficient use of public resources, principle of accountability of organisations and institutions, fairness and equality of treatment, stakeholder participation and proportionality. The study finds that CSOs are funded by various public resources, the state budget being the most important in most countries, followed by lottery funds, allocations of designated taxes and other specially designated funds. Similarly, it finds grants to be the most common form of large-scale funding of CSOs, and public calls for proposals are the most transparent and most frequently used type of selection procedures for the allocation of public funding.
Based on the findings of the analysis, the study offers 15 recommendations for a new system of public funding of CSO programmes in Macedonia, divided into two groups. Among the general recommendations, the authors suggest the introduction of a decentralized model of public funding; the introduction of complementary resources of funding, institutional support, multiannual funding, and prepayments; an increase of public funding as well as the inclusion of CSO representatives in the granting body. Among the procedural recommendations, the authors suggest regulation of public funding to be executed through one document; public funding to be based on existing strategies; setting minimum content of public call announcement; appraisal of applications to be carried by one expert committee; substantiated response to be provided to all applications; obligation to publish results to be set; and obligation to evaluate results and impact to be set.