Let's talk about founding an association

Let’s talk about founding an association in order to get things on a more solid basis regarding the Thrive project.

Unless someone has a different feasible idea, I say we found an association in Finland.
Here’s a website in English that guides how to do that: https://www.prh.fi/en/yhdistysrekisteri/perustaminen.html
(the same page in Finnish: https://www.prh.fi/fi/yhdistysrekisteri/yhdistyksen_perustajalle.html)

I recommend people to check out some things there to get a better picture of what is needed. But here’s the immediate stuff that’s needed:

  • Three members (that would be me + 2)
  • Official association rules in Finnish. I suppose I’m the only one who can write them, hopefully with feedback from someone. There is a template here: https://www.prh.fi/stc/forms/yhdistyksen_saantomalli3_etaosallistuminen.doc which is pretty hilarious if you put it through google translate. Once the rules are finished I think it would be good to have a professionally done English translation, which hopefully doesn’t cost too much.

Some important things I found while reading through that website I linked:

  • Rules must be in either Swedish or Finnish, so Finnish it is.
  • The chairman has to reside in Finland (without special permission application). And probably needs to be over 18, otherwise they can’t enter into legal agreements on behalf of the association
  • The 3 founding members must be all over 15. When residing outside Finland the following information is needed (which is a bit brutal if someone who has previously been mostly anonymously participating in Thrive): “If a committee member or a person entitled to sign for the association has no Finnish personal identity code, you will need their date of birth, citizenship, and home address. Enclose a copy of their passport or other identification document with the notification.”
  • The registration costs 100 euros and takes like a month and a half. The cost is already well covered with Patreon money, but things like opening bank accounts, a PO box etc. might get a bit more costly.

For the association founding members I’d primarily want people who have been part of Thrive for a while already, but are still at least pretty active.

Please let me know what you think.

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Hmm, this is a very interesting suggestion. What would be some of the possible benefits of founding an association? Is it to allow for more organized and legal handling of funds we receive and spend via Patreon?

I suppose I’ll need to copy all the questions about this I answered on discord here.

For now I’ll just quickly link this English translation of the law: https://www.prh.fi/en/yhdistysrekisteri/act.html

And say that currently accepting more of the Patreon money is going to be a bit problematic for me tax-wise in a month or so.

Yes, opening separate bank accounts etc. for Thrive would be one of the main benefits.

What I didn’t mention on discord before:

  • It would be nice to form an association before releasing on steam
  • It allows us to prepare for the future by setting up contributor license agreements to collect the work copyrights, which is something we need if we ever want to console ports, or if someone violates the GPL license of the game, it makes it possible to sue with a single copyright owner.

Ah I see. After reading the replies on the Discord I agree with what’s already been said, and if you want to go ahead and do it I’m all for it.

Problem is that I need 2 founding members in addition to myself.
If there aren’t anyone willing to do such a thing, I’ll have to instead start researching personal tax law and faux-entrepreneurship to continue running the Patreon.

I posted the link to the actual law above as reading that might give people an idea of what’s this all about and what they would sign up for.

I’ve always heard that associations are a common thing in Finland, compared to some other places, and as such it isn’t such a big deal to join one. I tried to look for statistics but I didn’t really find anything recent. The best I found was some info from the 90s that there are 3 times as many association members in Finland than there are people, meaning that the average person that is part of an association is also part of more than 3.

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I finally got around to copying my comments about various things from discord to here.

Also if there still aren’t any takers, I’ll do one more thing: do a rough translation of the association rules template to English to try to reinforce that this isn’t a huge deal.
If still no one steps up, I’ll assume that everyone is fine with me personally taking the Patreon money, putting the game on steam myself, etc.

Now on to the comments on discord, I’ll include the questions for clarity but I won’t include who asked what.


Does a Finnish organization need to be led by a legal resident of Finland?

by default, yes
you can submit an application that costs 100e to have that restriction lifted, but it looks like you first need to form an association before you can apply for that

and what would happen if you quit?

someone needs to apply for that through international mail and a translator, probably

what are the advantages of us going finnish instead of something else?

I’m like the de facto team lead now, it makes sense to do where I can
and it seems that all countries have it difficult for non residents or non language speakers to found an association

Are there any particular downsides to us being based in finland that you can think of?

collecting donations without a permit (that costs 300e and is available for associations only) is illegal
benefits include not being sued in an American court by angry companies

Is that permit a one time transaction or do you need to renew it?

I think you’ll need to reapply each year, at least the time period in it is limited, so I don’t know if you can like ask to hold a donation collection thing for 5 years

And you have to pay out the full cost each time or is it discounted for renewal?

yeah, but I don’t think we should do that before we expect to make at least 300 in donations
The patreon doesn’t count because it’s not a donation, it’s selling a service product

That does remind me, what exactly does being a registered member of such an organization entail? What responsibilities would someone need to maintain as part of the 3 you need to register?

Looks like that PRH page I linked has in the sidebar the actual law translated into english: https://www.prh.fi/en/yhdistysrekisteri/act.html

I haven’t read that myself but that seems to cover everything that is spread around the other pages, though it probably doesn’t easily answer all specific questions


Some comments from me to very long not-questions, that I also want to include here:

Tax wise the patreon income is going to become very inconvenient for me in a month or two, that’s why I want to do this now
Also this comment I posted on the community forums: “also I’ve wanted to hold off on releasing on steam until a legal association is set up for the game.”

I think that this just needs to happen now because of tax reasons it’s going to be a pain in the ass for me to accept a little bit of patreon money as I’ll have to do a bunch of tax filings and stuff, but it still wouldn’t like be enough to employ me. That’s why I want to setup an organization so that I can make an employment contract for myself (if the money is enough) so that I can then use an accounting service to take care of all the annoying things

It would be simple to setup a one person company here as well, but that wouldn’t be the same as having an association (a non-profit entity)

I haven’t wanted to do that as that would muddy the things even further. So far I think under Finnish law we are kinda like an unregistered association where we can say that we work together under some name for a goal, but it’s not a legal entity so the unregistered association itself can’t have assets or make agreements, instead all members are personally responsible for any agreements they make to run the project

Out of all the presented alternatives, I think I’m selecting the only feasible one (to be fair only found an association, do nothing are the presented choices)

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I wish I could be more helpful on this front but this is wading into territory I’m unfamiliar with. Based on all the points you provided, it does seem like founding the association would be a good move to make it easier for you to rely on the income from working on the project and therefore dedicate more time to it. Plus, you’ve done so much for the project already I think you’d do a good job managing the association aspect as well as all the work related to that.

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