Welcome to part two of our two-part series on charitable fundraising in Australia.
If you haven't already done so, we strongly recommend that you first read part one.
Part one sets the scene, introduces what the whole charitable fundraising thing is all about and covers whether you need a charitable fundraising authority and what could happen if you breach the law.
This part, part two, gets into the detail and covers how to apply, why your application might be declined and what your fundraising obligations are likely to be.
Important note: this two-part series does not explore the requirements relating to raising charitable funds using other commercial businesses including:
Applying for a charitable fundraising authority
While each state and territory has its own application process and criteria and fundraising authority requirements, here are some general comments that cover all, or most, of the jurisdictions.
Granting the authority
It is the job of the Government Minister responsible for the administration of the relevant charitable fundraising laws in each state and territory to decide whether or not to grant an authority to fundraise.
The same Minister also has the power to impose conditions on any authority issued. In most cases the standard conditions will be imposed. Some of the common requirements are described below.
Note: While it is the Minister that has the power described above, this power will be delegated to the relevant Government department (such as the Department of Fair Trading) to administer and determine.
Refusing an application for a charitable fundraising authority
The relevant Minister (or Government department) may refuse to grant an authority to conduct charitable fundraising activities (or appeals) for a variety of reasons, including because:
If your application is rejected, you can always ask for the decision to be reviewed. The process for doing so will depend on the state or territory within which you have been rejected and should be explained in the correspondence letting you know about the rejection. You can also visit the website of the relevant regulator for more information, or give them a call.
You've got it by now, right? Yep, the below information is general in nature and may vary from state to state. Painful isn't it? – We feel your pain.
The conditions generally imposed upon the holder of a charitable fundraising authority can be divided into the following main categories:
Use of funds
The types of requirements you are likely to find in relation to the use of funds raised through charitable fundraising activities include:
Conducting fundraising activities
There are many requirements associated with conducting charitable fundraising activities. What you must comply with depends on the type of activity (e.g. face-to-face, by phone, through the Internet) and which states and territories you are fundraising in. Some of the main requirements include:
Typically a person or organisation conducting a fundraising appeal will be required to:
You may find that there are also obligations to keep a:
Don't be surprised if, being a holder of a charitable fundraising authority, you are required to have your accounts audited annually.
Important note: This means that even if you are a type of company or registered charity that is not required by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to have audited accounts, you may still be required to be audited if one or more charitable fundraising laws require it. And even then, it may be that only some of what you do requires auditing, rather than your entire accounts.
Public access to information
Depending on which state or territory you are fundraising in, you may be under an obligation to provide the following information if requested to:
Notification of changes
If you are an authorised fundraiser, you may be required to let one or more government regulators know in writing about a change to your organisation's:
We hope that you now have a better picture of what this whole charitable fundraising thing is all about and are armed with the knowledge and language needed to find out more.
To help you get started and to find out more, we have prepared a free resource for you.
Download our handy Regulator Contact List for a list of all the state and territory charitable fundraising regulators together with their contact details and website address.
You will note that the Northern Territory is missing. Don't worry! This is not an error. The NT does not have any charitable fundraising laws at this time.
While we genuinely hope that this two-part series and our free download have been of great assistance, there is so much more to charitable fundraising, much more than we can cover in an introduction.
To get your hands on state and territory-specific fundraising factsheets and guides, and access to lots more great content, awesome tools and our vibrant forums, please join the NFPhq community, and make your way to Fundraising HeadQuarters.
For legal advice specifically tailored to your particular needs and circumstances, please feel free to contact us.
Have a thought? A comment? An observation or experience relating to charitable fundraising? Please let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
You can find out more about Darren Fittler here: https://www.gtlaw.com.au/people/darren-fittler