Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations

Fundraising reform

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The time to #FixFundraising was yesterday

Latest news

July 2020: Western Australia cuts fundraising red tape

Western Australia has addressed the onerous compliance requirements of charities and made welcome changes to its Charitable Collections Act 1946
As a result of these changes:
  • charity licences in Western Australia no longer have an expiry date (this means they don’t have to be renewed every three years as was required previously), and
  • from the 2020 financial year, most Western Australian charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) will no longer need to submit annual financial statements to both agencies

For more information, read the Government of Western Australia’s online announcement.

June 2020: New regulatory approach to fundraising in Australia during COVID-19 

  • Regulators across the country have acknowledged that charities face a unique challenge with COVID-19 which will have an impact on fundraisers.

  • Organisations will still need to acknowledge multiple registrations if fundraising in more than one state or territory.

  • However, regulators will take a 'supportive and educative approach' for organisations that cannot comply because of COVID-19.

  • The NSW Office of Fair Trading has published a statement to this effect on behalf of regulators across Australia.

June 2020: Labour MP calls for Australia's fundraising laws to be fixed

  • Labor MP Andrew Leigh has moved a private member’s motion calling on the government to fix the nation’s ‘outdated patchwork’ of fundraising laws before the Christmas giving season.  

  • He warned that thousands of charity workers could lose their jobs if something wasn't done soon.

  • Leigh's motion calls for the government to work with states and territories to create a nationally consistent model to regulate fundraising. 

   'It is the right time to help charities': ALP renews push for urgent fundraising reform

May 2020: Not-for-profit working group established to investigate how charities can assist during and after COVID-19

  • In Mid-May, a not-for-profit working group was established by the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC).

  • The working group will investigate how charities can help support communities during and after COVID-19.

  • The group will also look into supporting the charity sector with top priorities being dropping donation levels and fundraising regulation.

    NFP working group to fight for stronger sector and vulnerable Australians

April 2020: Charities Crisis Cabinet advocates for fundraising reform in response to COVID-19.

  • A crisis cabinet was formed in March with leaders from the not-for-profit sector, including Sue Woodward, co-head of Not-for-profit Law, Justice Connect.
  • On 23 April, the Cabinet published an open letter to the government as well as a position paper calling for greater facilitation of fundraising activities so that charities can continue to operate during the pandemic.

What now?

We urge our #fixfundraising supporters to continue to encourage their Members of Parliament to raise awareness of this red-tape cost, and drive change. Download a sample letter below. 

An easy fix

Our statement on fundraising reforms, made with our #fixfundraising partners, shows how we propose to fix the system. To fix this fundraising mess, the federal, state and territory governments should do three things:

  1. pass amendments to the Australian Consumer Law to make it clear that it applies to charities’ other not-for-profit organisations’ fundraising activities
  2. repeal the existing fragmented State and ACT fundraising laws, and
  3. work with Australian Consumer Law regulators, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and sector bodies to produce a core mandatory code to function under the Australian Consumer Law multi-regulatory framework.

We continue to fight to #fixfundraising. Follow our fight on Twitter @nfp_law.

This is why we keep fighting for reform... 

‘Several hours spent applying for Qld charity status with a regulated process that is hopelessly out of date plus paying $460 for an ad in the Courier Mail - not a great use of scarce funds which could have been much better used for our pilot program to provide postvention counselling & support to families impacted by suicide. As a practising accountant with 30+ years experience, the charity/fundraising compliance process would have to be one of the worst red tape experiences I've encountered. Well done on the work you are doing to have the process streamlined!’

- Paul

Treasurer, Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network


Read the Joint Statement on Fundraising Reform:

Last Updated: 22 July 2020

The campaign so far

22 July 2020

The #FixFundraising coalition and its supporters call on federal, state, and territory governments to implement a nationally-consistent, contemporary and fit-for-purpose charitable fundraising regime.

Read more... The campaign so far