What is involved in founding

Spanish foundation or Asociación

23 / Jan

If you want to dedicate yourself to a Charity in the Netherlands and manage it yourself, you probably choose to set up a Foundation. In Spain, you are more likely to end up with an “Asociación”, which is actually a society.

Another option in Spain is to set up a “Fundación”, but that is too complicated and too expensive for most people and Charities, so I won’t go into that further.

Setting up an Asociación is not easy either, but I will try to explain the basic steps in this article.

Management board

First, you need at least three people to form the management board: Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. If it is a small-scale project, I recommend keeping it small: Find the other two members close to yourself; think of your partner, parents, close friend. And don’t involve more people than necessary, because right now you may think the same about everything, but that may change in the future and before you know it, others will take over your project.

Pick two people you have 100% confidence in and/or people who do not want to interfere with the content of your project, but are willing to support you in the administrative matters of your Asociación. An important advice: make sure all three of you (or more) have a digital signature in Spain (certificado digital).

There is no legal obligation to officially register your Asociación with the Registro de Asociaciones, but in practice you will not be able to function without your Asociación being registered.

To register the Asociación, you need to prepare the following documents in Spanish:

  • Memorandum of Association: this states who you are and that you are going to establish the Asociación;
  • List of members of the administrative board;
  • Statutes.

Asociación Name

If you have come up with a name for your Asociación, think of some substitute names right away. The chances are that the Register will reject your favourite name because, in their eyes, it is too similar to an already existing Asociación. Also bear in mind that the Register is likely to have additional requirements such as stating the purpose of your Asociación in the name. For example, if your project is aimed at protecting street cats, the Register will want you to reflect your Asociación’s commitment to animal protection in its name. You can keep this general or make it very specific.


In the Statutes, you should include the most important aspects of your Asociación. Consider, for example, the location of your Asociación in view of the subsidies you can apply for. But you should also record what goals you have in mind and what activities you want to carry out to achieve the set goals.

If you want to recruit members, think carefully about the conditions these members must meet and include this in the statutes, as members have voting rights.

It rarely, if ever, happens that the Register approves the text straight away. We can help in drafting this text.

When the Asociación is registered with the Registro de Asociaciones, you can sometimes also register it with another register specialising in the same area, as well as with the municipality where your Asociación is registered. This is useful for applying for municipal subsidies.


Once your Asociación is registered, it must be registered with the tax authorities. For this, you need to request a tax number as well as a digital signature.

Most small-scale Asociaciones do not have to file a tax return. However, always keep good records of income and expenses.

It is also important to document the agreements made by the board.

Donations, subsidies and other income

To receive donations, it is useful to have a bank account in the name of your Asociación. Not only so that the tax authorities don’t think you suddenly have more income that you don’t pay taxes on, but also so that donors see that you don’t put the money in your own pocket. People would rather transfer money to a bank account in the Asociación’s name than transfer it to a private account.

By the way, in order to receive subsidies, it is necessary for the Asociación to have a bank account. Unfortunately, opening a bank account is a long and laborious procedure! This is also where we can help you.

Up to a certain amount of income, the Asociación does not have to file a tax return. Have this checked.

If your Asociación carries out activities and charges something for this, IVA may have to be settled. Also get this checked.


When setting up your Asociación, also consider the obligation to comply with personal data protection rules, as well as possible compulsory W.A. insurance, for example for certain activities your Asociación carries out or for the volunteers who join.

Ilonka Dekker