Serbia: A Guide to Political Fundraising

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

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The National Democratic Institute (NDI) developed a Fundraising Guidebook for political parties and movements in Serbia to ensure privacy, safety, and transparency when raising funds, both for the parties themselves and for potential donors. When a political party is not represented in a local, provincial or national assembly, it receives no financial income from the state, and most parties will limit their political activities as a result. NDI research shows that 17 percent of Serbian citizens have a favorable opinion of political parties, and parties rarely hold fundraising campaigns due to low public support. Too often, these numbers are interpreted as proof that citizens will not donate to parties. That does not need to be true. Parties should see this as an invitation to build better relations with the citizens of Serbia. Engaging them in building and maintaining a party structure by donating money or other resources is an important element in bridging the gap. Transparency – not only in fundraising – helps establish and confirm a party’s trustworthiness. There are also internal practices that parties can adopt to foster stronger relationships with donors, funders and supporters that promote improved levels of integrity within and outside the organization.

Developed in cooperation with political parties and movements as part of NDI’s Southeastern Europe Political Party Integrity Program, this guidebook is designed to provide an overview of Serbia’s legal system to ensure that domestic fundraising complies with the law and that parties maintain requisite compliance structures. Parties may use this guidebook as a resource to share with local branches, strengthening transparency and accountability in party financing at both the national and local levels.

Through its Southeastern Europe  Political Party Integrity program, NDI has supported parties in Serbia to improve their transparency and accountability in party financing. This helps parties to align with citizen expectations of parties, EU values, and best practices. NDI provides training on financial management, membership management, and internal communication to improve the parties’ and movements’ integrity mechanisms. The Institute has coached its partner political parties to create structures that  facilitate future fundraising campaigns, and will continue guiding parties to continue building trust with citizens. 

NDI’s Southeastern Europe Political Party Integrity Program is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NDI works with  political parties from across the region to improve public accountability, transparency, and inclusion. This program draws on European party models to guide parties in improving internal party integrity mechanisms and oversight, including codes of ethics, financial management, and inclusion of women and youth. 

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