The operations of the University of Helsinki are founded on the University’s values of truth, freedom, Bildung and inclusivity; the regulations of the University and its Funds as well as their strategic plans, guidelines and ethical principles; and valid legislation. Compliance with the ethical principles of fundraising and donating at the University of Helsinki while treating donors respectfully, is required in all of the University's fundraising activities and donor relations.
Fundraising and donations support the core duties of the University of Helsinki: research, teaching and public engagement. Donors can include private individuals, foundations, businesses, organisations, public operators and donors making a bequest from Finland and abroad.
Fundraising at the University of Helsinki (hereafter the ‘University’) is based on the legislation, guidelines, values and trust mentioned above. The University and its partners operate transparently and honestly, and act with respect towards the donors. Publicly available data and data obtained in discussions with donors are utilised in fundraising. Data pertaining to fundraising and donations are processed confidentially, securely and with regard to the protection of privacy.
The University allocates any donated funds obtained through fundraising to targets specified in deeds of donation or other donation documents in a manner decided by the University. Related decisions are made by the Board of the University and/or other University leadership and/or unit leadership according to their authority as part of the University's regular management as well as operational and financial planning. The allocation of donated funds is transparent, and information about it is relayed as part of University communications.
The expenses associated with fundraising are included in the University’s operating budget, and they are reasonable compared to the income and benefit gained. The University reports on them as part of its accounting and reporting on its operations and finances.
The University describes various donation targets in its communications, in addition to which the University can discuss new targets and make agreements on them with donors to be supported with donated funds. The University employs clear procedures in accepting, approving, processing and allocating donations.
The University investigates the background of its donors and donations thoroughly and sufficiently comprehensively in relation to the donation, complying with the principle of due diligence. All University operations are guided by legislation, values, the concepts of sustainability and responsibility as described in the strategic plan of the University, and respect for the value of humans and nature as a whole. In terms of fundraising and donations, this means, among other things, that the University does not accept donations originating in any known illegal activity; donations whose purpose endangers the University’s autonomy, independence or reputation; donations whose purpose conflicts with the University's values; or donations whose purpose may endanger the ethical, ecological, financial or social sustainability of University operations.
The University makes decisions related to donations that pertain to the conduct of research or studies, personnel choices related to studying, research or employment, grades, or other academic performance. For the sake of the openness of University operations, it is important for the University to be able to state, for example, the scope and purpose of all donations in related communications.
For the purpose of fulfilling its obligations for due diligence, the University can assess the acceptance of donations to ensure, for example, its independence and decision-making which takes into consideration the University’s values as well as responsibility and sustainability. The University can accept donations for which the University carries out an ethics assessment related to accepting the donation.
Examples of situations to be assessed:
(Monetary) donations given to the University of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki Funds are allocated as part of the University of Helsinki’s investment assets. The University aims to ensure that its investment assets and investments yield good returns and positive performance outcomes over a long period.
Donated funds and/or income generated by them are used for the purpose indicated in the deed of donation or other donation document, as well as, whenever applicable, in the rules of the donated fund to be established with the donation. In the use of donated funds and the income generated by them, the University adheres to their original purpose as closely as possible at any given time and executes the donor’s will as well as possible. Whenever possible, any changes are discussed with the donor or their representative, with a separate decision made on the changes.
A significant share of donations are consolidated in funds, while the part of funds used consists primarily of the income generated by them. The fixed rate of return is confirmed annually by the Board of the University. At its discretion and/or as agreed with the donor, the University can also use the capital of donated funds. Any equity investments based on donated assets under government matched-funding schemes are used according to the terms of the relevant matched-funding scheme.
The University of Helsinki manages its donor relations as part of its long-term partnerships in the manner described above, respecting the will of the donor: the oldest fund still included in the University’s donated funds is based on a donation made in the 1740s.
Acknowledging our partners is part of long-term partnerships. The impact of donations and their use are communicated to all donors and other University partners that play a role in the University’s partnership network. Club Giraffe is the University’s donor community, which offers a membership to anyone who has made a larger donation to the University. The University also invites to its donor network donors who have made a bequest to the University or the University of Helsinki Funds.
The University reports on donations as part of its communications and reporting on its operations. The scope and purpose of the donation, among other details, can always be stated in related University communications.
The University also openly describes, for example, positions established with donated funds. As an acknowledgment of the support enabled by donated funds, the University can name, for example, research programmes or professorships in a manner agreed with the donor.
The following paragraphs describe the texts in the footnotes of the principles approved by the Board of the University of Helsinki for the entire file to be accessible and available to all readers. The principles have been approved by the Board of the University of Helsinki on 24 November 2021.