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Not-for-profit Law Legal Advice
About us and what we do to help
There are a number of ways we can help.
- provide legal information
- provide telephone advice (from our in-house lawyers on a call-back basis)
- make a referral for pro bono assistance from one of our member law firms (for more complex legal matters), or
- refer you to another body (sometimes in another state or territory) who may more appropriately help you including to other legal services.
You can find our eligibility guidelines below.
Make an enquiry
You might find the answer to your question(s) in our legal resources.
If not, and your organisation is eligible, please complete the online enquiry form below. Using the online form is the quickest and easiest way for us to deal with your enquiry and means that we can respond to you sooner (usually within 48 business hours) and let you know how we might be able to assist.
We do not take phone enquiries unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you attempt to make an online enquiry and cannot do so - because you are ineligible - calling us will not change the outcome. The same criteria applies to all enquiries. For exceptional circumstances, our phone number is 1800 NFP LAW (1800 637 529).
Who do we help?
We try to help everyone. The type of help we can provide will depend on a few things. This includes:
- the type of legal matter
- the type of organisation (it must be not not-for-profit and serve the public interest), and
- if the organisation has advice or assistance readily available to them (on a paid or unpaid basis).
When don’t we help?
We generally don’t help with the following legal matters:
- internal disputes (like a dispute between your organisation and a member, or disputes between board members), however, we have fact sheets on internal disputes and can let you know about free dispute resolution services
- disputes between two or more not-for-profit organisations, and
- complicated disputes including where court action has been taken or is likely to be taken.
We don’t help the following groups:
- trade unions
- sporting groups
- political associations
- religious organisations
- residential action groups
- statutory bodies
- privately controlled foundations or corporate foundations, and
- for-profit businesses (unless a not-for-profit is seeking to set up a for-profit social enterprise).
Are you starting a not-for-profit organisation?
New or start-up organisations should read our Getting Started resources. These resources will help to guide you through setting up a not-for-profit organisation.
- Getting Started Decision Framework
This is an app with a series of specific questions which can help you to decide which legal structure may be best for your situation. Once you have answered the questions about your proposed organisation, you are provided with a report with information to assist you in the next steps in setting it up.
- Choosing a legal structure
Provides you with an overview of the options available for not-for-profit organisations including if you are looking to set up a social enterprise.
- Registering as a charity
Offers a plain English guide to what a charity is as well as information on how to register as a charity.
- Fundraising and holding events
We have a guide to fundraising in Australia as well as a checklist for holding events.
We also recommend registering for one of our regular Getting Started webinars. You can find our webinar schedule here.
Generally Not-for-profit Law cannot provide advice to individuals starting a not-for-profit organisation, but after you have started your organisation we may be able to assist.