ECNL is an independent and established European leader on civil society law and policy working across 21 countries and 4 regions. It is the only regional organisation in Europe focused entirely on the policy and legal environment for civil society organisations (CSOs). ECNL is seen as a trusted broker and convener that can engage different stakeholders, and a thought leader on key issues and trends affecting the CSO legal environment. We support the creation of environments where people can establish groups, movements, and formal CSOs; assemble, demonstrate and protest; and fully participate in policy making. Our activities create the policy and legal conditions in which independent, and sustainable CSOs can flourish. We work primarily in countries of Europe and in the former Soviet Union and cooperate with European institutions but our expertise is increasingly sought at the global level, too.
ECNL addresses the evolving development needs of the civil society in Europe. We look beyond basic registration and operation, addressing complex needs of CSOs: how can they fully engage their communities to achieve their missions; what mechanisms can support their financial viability; how can they strengthen internal governance and cross-sector cooperation; which mechanisms can increase trust and giving and how can they respond to the opportunities and threats they face. In this angle we also explore social enterprise models and laws to identify how the new business models have helped CSOs to increase income but also navigate restrictions.