Systemic projects


Grants will be given for activities aiming to develop and implement systemic solutions that will strengthen and enhance the quality of the entire non-governmental sector or its individual “subsectors”. They will be given for projects related to five priority areas. Each project can cover more than one area, but a dominant one needs to be indicated when submitting the application.

Supported activities:

(1) Legal framework – activities aiming to create a legal and institutional environment favourable for the development of NGOs and civic initiatives, including:

a) preparing coherent and comprehensive proposal for legal changes (the “deregulatory package”) that would facilitate undertaking and carrying out of civic activities and establishing and operation of NGOs, including the implementation of these proposals or at least the creation of a feasible implementation plan,

b) launching an effective mechanism to monitor the practical application of the law, the planned and implemented legal changes that can influence the capacity of citizens to actively participate in public life, as well as ability to undertake and carry out civic initiatives, and on the functioning of NGOs,

c) developing norms, rules and standards that would allow NGOs to effectively, responsibly and competently participate in public consultations and in the law making processes on local and national level, including the implementation of these proposals or at least the creation of a feasible implementation plan.

(2) Mission and standards – activities aiming to strengthen NGOs’ identity, to base their activity on their mission statement and strategic planning as well as on research and a better understanding of the needs and expectations of their constituencies including:

a) developing and disseminating methods/tools that would help NGOs in defining their mission, creating mission-based long-term strategies, action plans and development roadmaps (vision, priorities, strategic aims),

b) developing and implementing solutions/tools that would strengthen the recognition of the importance of addressees of NGOs activities, thereby allowing for a better understanding of their needs and expectations, that would, in turn, allow mutual relationships and communication to be modelled in such a way as to allow the addresses of NGOs activities to have a bigger say in planning and reviewing these activities,

c) developing and implementing the standards of NGOs’ operation regarding, e.g. management, evaluation of effectiveness of organisation’s activities, transparency and openness, including the dissemination of a clear and transparent information about its activities, spending and sources of funding, as well as costs related to fundraising.

(3) Information and communication – activities aiming at expanding the scope of available information, creating a forum for discussing issues important for the development of civil society, raising public awareness of the diverse character of NGOs and the effects of their activities, including:

a) preparing tools and mechanisms that would allow access to structured information (e.g. about grant competitions and the activities that received funding), exchange of knowledge, publications, acquired data, developed IT tools, effects of activities and research projects, and that would facilitate the gathering of opinions and the conducting of consultations with other entities in the sector,

b) conducting research on the 3rd sector (and, more generally, civil society), creation of a space for discussion and reflection on issues that are important for the sector and for the civil society, negotiation of common positions on matters important for the sector, creation of long-term development strategies for the civil society sector, incorporation of people from other backgrounds (the academia, business, public administration) into the debate and search for new solutions,

c) disseminating knowledge on the 3rd sector, preparing and supporting campaigns and social actions aiming to present various NGO activities and their results, as well as others (including non-institutional) forms of civic activity and to show important functions that the 3rd sector fulfils, thus encouraging citizens to become actively involved in the various forms of NGO activity (e.g. membership, volunteering, donations).

(4) Sources of financing – activities aiming at increasing the effectiveness of NGOs in raising funds from diversified sources, including:

a) developing and implementing models and standards for organisations of raising funds from individual and corporate donors and for cooperation and communication with the donors, introducing solutions that would facilitate the transfer of payments and donations (e.g. by banks, the Post, employers),

b) developing and implementing new or disseminating the existing models/methods for financing (from private and public sources) local and regional civic initiatives and activities undertaken by citizens in small communities (e.g. villages, housing estates),

c) developing and implementing new or disseminating the existing forms of financing NGO activities (e.g. venture philanthropy, renewable energy generation, economic activity, endowment capital).

(5) “Subsectoral” problems – activities aiming to identify and propose solutions for problems/needs specific for particular NGOs types (e.g. NGOs active in the area of welfare, education or culture, think tanks, watchdog and advocacy organisations, local and urban organisations or organisations supporting civic organisations and initiatives).


Systemic projects should meet the following conditions:

a) Real needs and realistic solutions. The projects should answer well-documented and real needs/problems of the entire sector or its “subsectors” and suggest realistic solutions, whose implementation is feasible in the assumed timeframe and leads to tangible results.

b) Results. The result of the project cannot be limited to the preparation of a model, tool or proposition of changes. It is important that these models, tools and proposals be implemented or at least “tested” in an appropriate number of organisations that are interested in their use or adoption, or at least they should be accompanied by a realistic implementation plan.

c) Previous experience. The projects should be based on the earlier experiences (both Polish and foreign) in solving a given problem that need to be gathered and analysed; they have to take into account the successes and failures, as well as opportunities and barriers for applying the planned solution.

d) New or on-going activities. The projects can aim both to prepare and implement new solutions, as well as to reinforce, enhance or expand on-going, tried and tested ones.

e) Scale and availability. The project’s real or potential addressees/beneficiaries should comprise an important group of NGOs, and the solutions prepared within its framework should be available to all interested organisations. Systemic projects cannot be limited to problems/needs of just one organisation or a handful of them.

f) Sustainability. The projects should deliver sustainable results or activities. Sustainability of results means that the changes introduced by a project need to solve a problem, eliminating the needs for any further activities in this scope. Sustainability of activities means that the organisations implementing the project can guarantee that these activities will still be carried out after the end of funding under the program.

Activities aiming at a greater number of organisations and those ensuring sustainable results/activities will be given priority treatment.


All organisations applying for grants within thematic or systemic areas will have the right to allocate part of the grant amount to strengthening their institutional capacity, building sustainable foundations for future operations, developing long terms operational and financial plans, building systems for continuous improvement of work and management standards, including:

  • engaging in a process to develop a strategy, an evaluation, institutional (and/or financial) audit, clients’ needs assessments etc. to improve the quality of operations and management of the organisation,
  • improving the team’s skills, recruiting volunteers, building a membership base,
  • engaging in advocacy, public consultations, dialogue bodies, coalitions and other activities which involve increased fixed costs (e.g. remuneration for the responsible individual, consulting fees, travel expenses etc.) and are crucial for organisation’s ability to meet its goals and objectives,
  • reviewing the track record and/or developing new operational methods,
  • planning and implementing coherent and specific promotional activities and/or fund-raising campaigns, including the 1 per cent tax campaign,
  • purchase of new equipment and/or small repairs in the office, subject to a strong case regarding compliance with working conditions or improving the quality of or expanding the operation.

Priority will be given to initiatives designed to solve a selected specific problem which is a barrier to the organisation’s development.


Grants are available to non-governmental organisations, particularly foundations and associations, which:

  • are legal entities registered in the relevant National Court Register,
  • have a non‐commercial purpose,
  • are independent of local, regional and central government, public entities, commercial entities and political parties; are not religious institutions,
  • pursue public interest and abide by the principles of democratic values and human rights.

Applicants shall meet the following requirements:

  • activities presented in their applicants must be in line with the Applicant’s mission (statute),
  • no bankruptcy filing has been made against the Applicant, the Applicant is not in liquidation or subject to administrative receivership, has not suspended its operations nor is subject to any similar process,
  • the Applicant is not in arrears with any public liabilities to the Tax Authorities or Social Insurance Institution (ZUS),
  • none of the individuals authorised to represent the organisation has a criminal record for fraud,
  • organisations may apply for grants individually or as leaders of partnerships with other entities.

One organisation, whether individually or as a leader of a partnership, may file only one application in one grant contest. Moreover, it may be a partner in one project application filed by another organisation. If an organisation is not filing an application individually or as a leader of a partnership with other entities it may be a partner in two project applications filed by other organisations.

Organisations which receive a grant for implementation of systemic project may not apply for a grant for thematic project.


Partnerships may be formed with: non-governmental organisations or other public or private, commercial or non-commercial entities or informal groups in Poland, other 14 EEA/Norway grants Beneficiary States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain), Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or states outside the European Economic Area which border on Poland (Belarus, Ukraine, Russia) or with intergovernmental organisations.

Partners should actively participate in project development and implementation, contribute their knowledge and experience and their involvement should assist a more effective accomplishment of planned outcomes.

The engagement of project partners must be of a non-profit nature and their contribution to project development and implementation must be confirmed by a written commitment outlining the role and responsibilities of each partner (partnership agreement).

In every call for proposal one can be a partner only in two applications.


The amount of grant varies depending on whether the project is implemented individually by one organisation or in partnership with other entities.

  • EUR 75,000 – 375,000 for projects implemented individually,
  • EUR 75,000 – 500,000 for projects implemented in partnership.


Minimum 10% of total project costs, including a financial contribution of minimum 50 per cent and an in-kind contribution as voluntary work of maximum 50 per cent of matching funds.


Minimum two years providing costs are incurred no later than April 30, 2016. In justified cases project implementation may last less than two years. Project implementation should start no later than 3 months after the grant has been awarded.


The following expenditures may be covered:

  • direct project expenses,
  • direct expenses related to capacity building of the project promoter – max. 10 per cent of direct expenses,
  • indirect expenses (overheads) – max. 20 per cent of direct expenses.


There will be two stages for submission of applications. First organisations will submit project outlines; and next shortlisted organisations will submit full project proposals.

Project outlines and full project proposals will be submitted only through the Electronic Application System accessible from the Programme’ website

While submitting project outlines, no additional documents will be required.

While submitting full project proposal, applicants who plan to implement the project with other entities will be required to submit a partnership agreement indicating partner’s role and responsibilities in the project. Statements in PDF format, signed by a person authorized to represent the partner, must be submitted together with the application through the Electronic Application System.