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HUNGARY in The 2005 NGO Sustainability Index For Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia

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Hungary is widely known to be one of the most successful "transition"
economies and since the early 90s it has received a disproportionate share of direct foreign investment. Less well-recognized is Hungary's nonprofit sector.

A good source of information about the Hungarian nonprofit sector is to be found at http://www.nonprofit.hu/, a Hungarian and English-language portal to the thousands of organizations that contribute to civil society in Hungary. The site is maintained by the Nonprofit Information and Training Centre (NIOK) Foundation, which has its own multi-lingual website.  There is a searchable database of about 6,500 NGOs at the http://www.nonprofit.hu/ website.

In Hungary about 60,000 non-governmental organizations are formally registered with authorities, but according to the Central Statistical Office the number of organizations currently operating is approximately 47,000. Most of these came into being in the first half of the 1990s.

In 1996, the government passed the so-called "1% law" which allows tax-payers to donate 1% of their personal income tax bill to the charity of their choice, provided that the charity complies with certain legal requirements.                                            

This encourages Hungary's 4.2 million taxpayers to contribute to the third sector, and to exer-cise their choice as to which organizations or causes to support. It is said to have the potential to unlock at least 6.5 billion Hungarian forints (about US$28 million) for Hungarian charities.

In 2000, 62,500 people were employed in the Hungarian non-profit sector, and the number of volunteers exceeded 400,000. Nearly half (48.5%) of all Hungarian nonprofit organizations have a yearly income below 500,000 HUF.
(At 231 forints to the dollar, this is less than $2,200/year.)

In 2000 government allocations constituted 28.4% of the total revenues of the nonprofit sector. The goal is to take this number up to 40%, which would be more in line with the practice in other European countries. In order to achieve this, the government intends to introduce legislation to create a National Civil Fund.

The fund will be financed from the 1% of citizens' personal income tax not donated directly to non-profit organizations as well as from other revenues. Nonprofit sector representatives will constitute the majority of the committee responsible for allocating support grants from the National Civil Fund.

*The source for the information above is a "STRATEGY PAPER OF THE GOVERNMENT OF HUNGARY ON CIVIL SOCIETY," dated 22 October 2002 and translated by the Nonprofit Information and Training Centre (NIOK) Foundation.

source: http://www.civilsoc.org/

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