Question: Do I Need a Licence for Charity Fundraising?Answer:
In most cases, charity fundraising is only legal if your charity has a licence from the relevant state or territory regulator. Fundraising laws differ in each Australian state and territory. Furthermore, if you are raising money online, the laws of several states may apply to your charity.
New South Wales Charity Fundraising
NSW Fair Trading requires charities to apply for a licence before they raise funds for their ‘charitable purpose’. For example, an animal shelter’s charitable purpose is the care of animals.
Before granting the licence, NSW Fair Trading will consider whether the persons involved:
- are fit and proper to conduct the fundraising; and
- will conduct the fundraising for the charitable purpose.
There are, however, exceptions to the need for a fundraising licence. These include:
- fundraisers that receive less than $15,000 in a financial year from fundraising;
- local councils;
- religious organisations or a religious body;
- trusts where a local council is a trustee; and
Victorian Charity Fundraising
Charities must apply to Consumer Affairs Victoria for a licence to conduct fundraising activities. ‘Fundraising activities’ are those where the charity seeks money for a not-for-profit purpose.
Similar to NSW, there are exceptions to the need for this authority, including:
- fundraisers that receive less than $10,000 in a financial year;
- that the organisation has no paid staff; or
- where the organisation is a state government school, university, public hospital, religious body or trade union.
Before issuing a licence, Consumer Affairs Victoria will consider whether the charity will conduct the fundraising activity in good faith for its intended purpose. In other words, that the fundraiser is not a scam.
Queensland Charity Fundraising
In Queensland, the Office of Fair Trading regulates fundraising. However, unlike Victoria or NSW, fundraising activities may only be undertaken by charities or if the activity is sanctioned.
Therefore, to fundraise in Queensland, an organisation will need to:
- register as a charity with the Queensland Office of Fair Trading (not just with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission); and
- apply for a sanction with the Office of Fair Trading.
There are some organisations that are exempt from the above requirements, including religious denominations, hospital foundations or those that run games such as raffles, bingo or sweepstakes.