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We love receiving questions from clients who are looking to fundraise for so many great causes! It is important, however, to understand the legal requirements attached to collecting donations and fundraising from the public. To better understand these requirements, let’s look at Harvey and his son, Mike. Harvey is thinking of holding a gala ball in NSW to raise money for his son’s basketball team.

Applying to Fundraise

Harvey must first contact his local body that oversees fundraising regulations, as it is state-based. In NSW, he is required to inform NSW Fair Trading. He would then need to apply for a licence for his fundraising activities. To do this, he would complete a Charitable Fundraising Application form and submit it to NSW Fair Trading for approval. But, he must ensure that his charity satisfies particular conditions. These include:

  • maintaining proper books of account and records,
  • collecting money and advertising his gala in a certain way, and
  • managing his charity’s governance.

Lotteries, Raffles and Games of Chance

If Harvey’s charity meets these requirements, he can begin his application. There are no application fees for a licence. Raffles and games of chance can be popular and fun ways to raise money. If, then, Harvey is thinking of having raffle and bingo, he will most likely need to get in touch with the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR). Different types of games attract different requirements.

Raffles with a prize pool cannot exceed $30,000, and a minimum of 40% of gross proceeds must go to the not-for-profit organisation. Harvey should also understand the rules around holding a raffle including securely managing ticket sales, randomly distributing tickets and ensuring this process cannot be manipulated.

If Harvey also wanted to have a charity bingo game, he would need to complete an ‘Application to Conduct Fundraising Games of Chance’ form and obtain a permit. It takes the NSW OLGR approximately five business days to consider an application. If Harvey successfully obtains a permit, it will last for 12 months, on average. It is important to be aware of the restrictions surrounding how to conduct these games on the day.

What happens if I don’t register?

Failing to register your event is an offence under NSW Fundraising Law. And if Harvey forgets to register his event, this will attract significant penalties for fundraising without proper authorisation including fines of up to $5,500. This penalty could also apply for failing to comply with the requirements mentioned above. If you do choose to fundraise, it is important to ensure that you do not mislead anyone by asserting that you have the proper authorisation to do so when you do not. Such dishonesty could result in fines and up to six months imprisonment.


If you would like further information about applying to fundraise for your organisation (or if you have any questions about Harvey’s fundraising efforts) read more about fundraising on the ACNC website.


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