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Fundraising

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Fundraising is an important source of income for many charities and not-for-profits. 

Unfortunately, fundraising laws can be tricky to navigate. Not-for-profit Law is working to improve fundraising laws for charities and not-for-profits

In the meantime, the resources on this page will help you work out whether your fundraising is covered by fundraising laws, and whether you need to get a licence or approval for your fundraising.

There are different fundraising laws in each state and territory (except the Northern Territory), so if you are fundraising in several states or territories you will need to consider the laws in each of those places.

What is fundraising?

Fundraising is defined differently under the different laws in each state. In general, the following types of activities are fundraising:

  • requesting donations to help a person, cause or organisation (whether in person or online)
  • selling merchandise where some or all of profits will go towards helping a person, cause or organisation, or
  • holding events to raise money for a person, cause or organisation. 

Do I need a licence and in which states?

If you are fundraising locally (for example by holding some trivia nights in your area), then you only need to comply with the fundraising laws of the state or territory that you are in. 

If you are fundraising online, you will need to think about whether you are fundraising more broadly than the state that you are based in. You should consider how your campaign will be promoted. If you will actively promote your campaign in several states, then you will need to consider whether you need a license, and what laws apply to your fundraising, in each of those states.

Larger charities sometimes run national campaigns. Where this is the case, the organisation will need to consider and comply with each state and territory's fundraising laws.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of fundraising application processes and requirements in each Australian state and territory. 

The following guide provides an overview of the different fundraising regimes across Austalia. It is designed to help organisations that fundraise in multiples states and territories to navigate the regimes and provides summaries of the various legal requirements that apply. This guide should not be considered a comprehensive overview of how to comply with fundraising laws in every jurisdiction. There are more detailed guides for each state below.

Other laws that can apply

There are a range of other laws that might be relevant to your fundraising. In particular, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) sets out rules again misleading and deceptive conduct and unsconscionable conduct. If your organisation makes a representation that it will do something in particular with funds raised, then it should be careful to make good on that promise.  For more information about the ACL, see Not-for-profit Law's guide, 'The Laws of advertising and your community organisation' on our Advertising page.

If your fundraising involves trade promotions or gaming activities, you may need additional permits:

  • trade promotions - which are competitions where there is no (or minimal cost) to enter, or entry is granted when a person purchases a product or ticket to an event and a prize is offered. Trade promotion prizes can be awarded on chance alone, or include an element of skill such as 'in 25 words or less...'. These promotions can be 'complete a survey and win', door prizes, and other promotional competitions. There are special laws that apply to all trade promotions.
  • raffles and minor gaming activities - (including bingo, gaming nights, lotteries, lucky envelopes, sweepstakes) - where individuals purchase a ticket or pay money to enter a game or competition. There are special laws that apply to these activities.

Auditing of fundraising accounts

Each state and territory has its own, different rules relating to fundraising. The meaning of 'audit' and 'auditor' is also different under each of these fundraising regimes.

The fact sheet below features a table which provides an overview of the different definitions of 'auditor' under the relevant fundraising regime. It is designed to help organisations meet their reporting obligations when they engage in regulated fundraising activities.

The Fundraising Guide explains:

  • which activities are considered fundraising activities in Victoria
  • when your group will need to register to fundraise
  • ongoing obligations for all fundraisers (whether required to be registered or not), such as maintaining a special fundraising bank account
  • other laws groups need to consider when fundraising (such as lottery permits)
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states
  • issues to consider when fundraising online, and
  • issues to consider when using third party fundraisers.

We have put together an introduction to the Consumer Affairs Victoria Fundraising pages. View the video below to find out where all the relevant information and forms are located.

Related links

This is a link to more information on fundraising, published by the Victorian regulator of not-for-profits

The Fundraising Guide explains:

  • which activities are considered fundraising activities in NSW
  • when your group will need to register to fundraise
  • ongoing obligations for all fundraisers (whether required to be registered or not) such as maintaining a special fundraising bank account
  • other laws groups need to consider when fundraising (such as lottery permits)
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states
  • issues to consider when fundraising online, and
  • issues to consider when using third party fundraisers.

Related links

This is a link to NSW Fair Trading, the regulator of fundraising in NSW.

This is a link to more fundraising information published by the NSW Licensing service. 

The Fundraising Guide explains:

  • which activities are considered fundraising activities in Queensland
  • when your group will need to register to fundraise
  • ongoing obligations for all fundraisers (whether required to be registered or not)
  • other laws that groups need to consider when fundraising
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states
  • issues to consider when fundraising online, and
  • issues to consider when using third party fundraisers.

The Fundraising Guide explains:

  • which activities are considered fundraising activities in South Australia
  • when your group will need to obtain a Collections for Charitable Purposes Licence
  • obligations after obtaining a Collections for Charitable Purposes Licence
  • tax concessions
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states
  • issues to consider when fundraising online, and
  • issues to consider when using third party fundraisers.

The following fact sheet on fundraising and minor gaming explains:

  • whether an individual or group needs authority to fundraise
  • applying for a community gaming permit, and
  • ongoing obligations for a community gaming permit holder.

The Fundraising Guide covers the following topics:

  • what is fundraising in the Australian Capital Territory
  • applying for a charitable collection licence
  • tax concessions
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states, and
  • issues to consider when fundraising online.

The Fundraising Guide explains:

  • which activities are considered fundraising activities in Tasmania
  • when your group will need to obtain approval to fundraise
  • relevant permissions and laws and obligations after obtaining a solicit for a charitable purpose
  • tax concessions
  • when your group needs to consider fundraising laws and licensing requirements in other states
  • issues to consider when fundraising online, and
  • issues to consider when using third party fundraisers.

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