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Not-for-profit Law has been working in collaboration with some of Australia's leading professional and peak bodies to improve the state of fundraising regulation in Australia for the last two years. We have not given up! We continue to advocate for reform. It is critical.
Watch our latest video (21 August 2018), here. We have released this video in the lead up to the next meeting of Consumer Affairs minister's on 31 August 2018, calling on them, again, to give our proposal serious consideration and to commit to an explicit plan for fundraising reform including a process for achieving that reform.
Senate Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century
On 19 June 2018 the Senate established the Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century to inquiry and report on the current framework of fundraising regulation for charities and options for reform. The Committee's home page is here. It is due to report on 18 October 2018.
More than 95 submissions have been made. You can access them here.
In our submission we made one recommendation:
That the Senate Select Committee on Charitable Fundraising in the 21st Century recommends the Federal Government actively support and assist with the development of a nationally-consistent, contemporary and fit-for-purpose charitable fundraising regime for implementation no later than mid-2019 by:
- initiating (or at least supporting) amendments to the Australian Consumer Law to ensure its application to fundraising activities for and on behalf of charities (and other not-for-profit organisations) is clear and broad;
- urging the repeal of existing fragmented State and ACT fundraising laws; and
- working with other Australian Consumer Law regulators, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, self-regulatory bodies and sector intermediaries to draft and consult publically on a core mandatory code to be enforced under the Australian Consumer Law multi-regulatory framework.
Read our submission
The #fixfundraising campaign
The beginnings of our fixfundraising campaign proposed the following:
The proposed three simple steps to achieve fundraising reform are:
1. Clarification and minor amendments to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to ensure application to fundraising activities is clear and broad
2. Repeal of fragmented state and territory fundraising laws, and
3. Work with regulators and self-regulatory bodies to provide guidance to fundraisers to continue to improve fundraiser conduct.
You can read the Joint Statement on Fundraising Reform:
Review of the Australian Consumer Law
The campaign coincided with the reivew of the Australian Consumer Law. You can see our submissions here. The final report of the ACL Review was published on 19 April 2017.Access a copy of the report here. It confirmed that ‘in many cases the activities of fundraisers in seeking donations are captured by general provisions of the ACL’, however, there is a lack of guidance on the application of the ACL (to fundraising). The report noted the immediate need for such guidance and proposes it be developed as a priority project for 2017. The guidance has been published and you can access it here.
It also proposed that a project be undertaken to ‘assess the effectiveness of the guidance’ and that 'this project will look at how this could inform whether any future reforms are needed to enable to sector to work more effectively to the benefit of the Australian community'. After lobbying by the #fixfundraising campaign, Consumer Affairs ministers agreed the project commence in 2018-2019. We now await further news of the commencement of the project.
Note the final report also stated that ‘some parts of the sector also suggested that the ACL should be amended so that the generic protections in particular apply expressly to fundraising. It was said that this would provide the reassurance needed to help state and territory governments reform their local fundraising laws, potentially in conjunction with enhanced self-regulatory regimes. Some stakeholders had strong views that these local laws were inconsistent, not suited to cross-border activities, online activities and crowdsourcing, and hinder the work of the not-for-profit sector. No further comment was provided on this suggestion.