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About us


Bulgarian center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL) was established in 2001 as a public benefit foundation.

BCNL is part of the network of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) which operate in more than 100 countries around the world to protect the right of association and develop the legal framework for civil society organizations.

Our mission is to improve the legislation and the environment in Bulgaria, so that people can freely associate and be civically active. Our top priority is the well-being of civil society organizations, which are the engine of any prosperous civil society.

We pursue our mission believing that civil society organizations can be sustainable and independent, be both a corrective and a partner to institutions, while protecting our rights and freedoms and having a leading role in the development of our society.

Our strength is that we:

  • We have a key expertise in a variety of areas important to the sector and can advise, train and/or develop the potential of civil society organizations;
  • We are driven by principles and values that are the foundation of our stability;
  • We are continuously learning because an organization is something that is constantly evolving.

OUR VALUES: expertise, non-partisanship, willingness to work for the whole sector.

Our main objectives are:

  • to support the development and consolidation of a favourable legal and political environment for an independent civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Bulgaria;
  • to promote the development of rules for transparency, accountability and an appropriate governance structure for NPOs and state institutions;
  • to support better cooperation between the State and the NPOs;
  • to support citizen participation in decision-making;
  • to support the development of professional skills, knowledge and capacity appropriate for improving the legal framework for civil society, including for NGOs in Bulgaria;
  • to provide support to NGOs to address legal issues;
  • to provide support for civil society legal reform in other countries and promote international cooperation;
  • to carry out activities to achieve other objectives determined by the Board of Trustees that do not conflict with the Foundation's objectives and identity.

The topics we are working on:

  • Establishment and operation of NGOs;
  • Transparent public funding and a supportive tax environment for NGOs;
  • Contracting of public services (social, health, education, cultural, provision of official development assistance), decentralization of activities and functions from the state to NGOs;
  • Citizen participation in decision-making processes;
  • The role of NGOs in protecting human rights;
  • Development of volunteering and philanthropy;
  • Improving the role of NGOs in public policy making and advocacy;
  • NGO economic activity development and social entrepreneurship;
  • Removing constraints on NGO activities and sustainability;
  • Public image of civil society organizations

Our main activities are:

  • Legislative initiatives, advocacy campaigns and support to NGOs and institutions in the preparation and implementation of legislation;
  • Enhancing NGOs' knowledge of legislation relevant to their activities and their capacity for advocacy and good governance;
  • Providing legal support to NGOs;
  • Monitoring and research on topics related to the legal framework for NGO activities;
  • Piloting new models and researching them in order to improve the environment and present sustainable models (self-empowerment, business development, fundraising, etc.) in legislation;
  • Trainings aimed at enhancing the capacity and sustainability of NGOs on topics such as:
  • NGO legal framework and tax regime;
  • advocacy;
  • organizational development and good financial management;
  • fundraising;
  • preparation and development of sustainability plans;
  • communication and mobilization of support,
  • systematic research and promotion of good practices and approaches in Bulgaria and abroad in the areas of BCNL's activities;

Over the past 20+ years, we have unwaveringly pursued our mission to support the formulation and implementation of laws and policies for the development of civil society, citizen participation and good governance in Bulgaria. That is why the Foundation's most outstanding achievements have been in the development of the working environment for civil society organizations and in improving their capacity.

For the last 20 years BCNL has achieved change that is important for people and civil society organizations on several levels:


We pushed more than 20 legislative acts and policies to enable the civil society organizations to operate in Bulgaria, raise donations, communicate their achievements and participate more easily in the decision-making process.


We have helped over 5,700 organizations to make their legal documents, registrations and rules more accurate and accountable.


More than 1,000 civil society organizations improved their capacity to better develop their advocacy plans, conduct their mission-related activities, build public-private partnerships, share their achievements, recruit support and develop innovative models to support vulnerable people.


BCNL has established itself as a reputable organization in the NGO sector – a benchmark for good governance, accountability and advocacy for a better environment for civil society organizations in Bulgaria with a team committed to the values and mission of the organization.

Read more about our achievements here.

Priorities for the next 10 years

  1. Development in the institutional environment in which the civil society organizations operate

An important element of the development of the environment is the creation of favorable conditions in which the CSOs can operate and in which everyone can easily exercise their right to association and enjoy it. It is, therefore, important to continue to develop the institutional (legal and financial) environment in which organizations operate, including:

(A) development of policies and legislation that encourage and facilitate civic engagement and association.

(B) reducing administrative burdens and increasing the opportunities for public and private funding.

(C) more modern and effective mechanisms for public consultations and citizen participation in the decision-making.

(D) development of mechanisms for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms with particular priority given to vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and children.

  1. Stimulating the activity of organizations

Protection from attacks on civil society organizations also involves mobilization of community support and cooperation with other important agents in the community. Therefore, it is important for organizations to be able to have strong and stable partnerships with businesses, more opportunities to involve young people in direct activities of organizations. In order to keep their credibility, their proposals must also be linked to real problems and possible adequate solutions based on knowledge and progress.

This is why our priority in the upcoming years is to continue increasing the capacity of organizations in different directions:

(A) More resilient and independent organizations with greater administrative and more independent and financial capacity.

(B) More visible advocacy campaigns overall and by sector.

(C) Greater public support for civil society organizations and more supporters/partners/followers from other sectors and groups for their causes.

  1. BCNL to maintain its key role as an opinion leader for civil society development

You can read our full strategic plan here: BCNL Strategic Plan 2021 - 2030

Internal Organisation Policy for Child Protection