Every one of the Australian territory and state has its own different rules for fundraising. If you are planning to undertake fundraising activities or doing so already, you need to understand these implications and laws for your fundraising event.

You might need to comply with fundraising laws of multiple jurisdictions, including getting multiple licenses to fundraise legally.

Guide to fundraising laws in Australia

It is important to comply with the fundraising laws for several reasons. Reputational damage and legal penalties can directly affect your organisation if the fundraising is being done unlawfully.

For a much broader perspective, ethical and lawful fundraising can help you maintain public confidence and trust in the not-for-profit sector and charity, which is important for the fundraising organisation.

Do you need a license and in which states?

If you plan on fundraising locally, you might only need to abide by the laws of the territory or state that you are planning to do it.

If you will fundraise online, you might need to consider in a broader perspective (which might include following the laws of other states and local councils). You will need to consider whether you will need a license and what laws will apply to your campaign.

Sometimes, charities run campaigns that can reach the national level. In cases like these, the organisation will have to comply with the fundraising laws of each and every state and territory in Australia.

Below, we have illustrated the fundraising laws and how to apply for a permit in Australia:

Applying for a fundraising permit in Melbourne

Your charity will need the following to register:

  • A certificate of currency for public liability insurance, for a value of minimum $10 million
  • An evidence of registration with Consumer Affairs

All the documents that are needed for the registration have to be in the charity’s name, even if the charity is being represented by agents. You must maintain the public liability insurance of the charity for the whole duration of the permit. To keep your insurance up to date, you need to upload a new certificate of currency to your registration. Also, there is no fee involved for a fundraising permit.

Once the registration of your charity has been approved, you can simply log in and apply for permits to fundraise at any of the locations across Melbourne. These permits will be issued immediately by mail and a copy will be stored in your online registration.

Regulations

Melbourne City monitors any illegal fundraising activities by requesting a proof of permit. People masquerading as charitable collectors and bogus organisations will be prosecuted duly. An infringement notice for collecting/soliciting for money can be issued as well.

The above summarizes fundraising regime in Melbourne only. With different laws in the other Australian states and territories, comply with every one of them, depending on the area of borrowing arrangements and fundraising.

Other laws

There also a lot of other laws that might apply to your fundraising. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has particularly set out rules against deceptive and misleading conduct. If your organisation has said it will do something good with the funds being raised, pay heed and make good on that promise.

If your borrowing arrangements and fundraising involve gaming activities and trade promotions, you might need other permits like:

Raffles and minor gaming activities

Any games that involve purchasing a ticket or paying money like lucky envelopes, lotteries, gaming nights, bingo, etc., there are special laws that apply for these activities. These laws depend on the state or territory that you are fundraising at. For example in Melbourne, the rules of the games are governed and found on the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Gambling Regulations 2015.

Trade promotions

These are competitions where there is no minimum cost to enter, or the entry is granted to the person who purchases a ticket or product to an event and a prize is offered. These prizes are left to chance alone. Again, there are special laws for these promotions, depending on the state you are fundraising.

As we have seen above, the rules and regulations for every Australian state regarding borrowing arrangements and fundraising are different. We understand that things can go confusing. But, we are here to help sort things out.

All you need to do is reach out for us via our phone or email address.