Charities benefit the disadvantaged members of our community by providing them with services that they would otherwise be unable to access. To keep operating, most charities must undertake much fundraising.
What’s the problem?
Currently, in Australia, charitable fundraising is separately regulated by each state and territory. This means that charities are forced to waste a significant amount of time and money to comply with these differing laws. Justice Connect estimates that charities waste around $15 million each year due to ‘outdated and unnecessary regulation’.
"Many charities are not aware that they may be committing an offence by not obtaining the appropriate authority from that state or territory before fundraising there."
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Emil Ford Lawyers recently assisted a charity gain the necessary approval to fundraise in each Australian state and territory. This was a time-consuming process because it meant analysing eight separate pieces of state and territory legislation, and then assisting the charity to gain the necessary approval in each of them. Some states and territories require a fundraising licence, fundraising permits, an authority to fundraise and some do not require any approval if the amount received through fundraising falls below a certain threshold.
Many charities are not aware that they may be committing an offence by not obtaining the appropriate authority from that state or territory before fundraising there. This may even apply where the charity promotes an online fundraiser.
What is happening?
A coalition of eight bodies – Australian Institute of Company Directors, Justice Connect, Governance Institute of Australia, Charted Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Australian Council of Social Services, Philanthropy Australia, Community Council for Australia and CPA Australia – is lobbying for a nationally-consistent fundraising regime. This group is also calling for governments to repeal the outdated state and territory legislation and replace it with a uniform framework in the Australian Consumer Law, which is found in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
We agree that change is necessary to ensure that charities, whether large or small, do not waste their time or money complying with complex and inconsistent fundraising rules. We also encourage charities to follow the coalition’s progress and to watch this space for updates.
If your charity or not-for-profit organisation needs fundraising advice please contact or .