The introduction of National Fundraising Principles is a significant milestone for Australia’s charity sector. It was made possible thanks to our Not-for-profit Law program’s sustained advocacy with our #FixFundraising coalition partners urging lawmakers to take action and reform Australia’s out of date and ineffective web of existing fundraising rules.
This change will drastically reduce the amount of costly and time-intensive paperwork charities must deal with in order to fundraise effectively.
Harmonising fundraising laws nationally means 60,000 Australian charities will be freed up from debilitating red tape and able to focus on delivering vital services, like helping communities affected by floods, working to prevent homelessness, tackling family and domestic violence, or delivering life-changing community services.
The long-awaited change is finally on our doorstep
Justice Connect, alongside a coalition of 8 peak bodies, are thrilled to have made this significant shift in government policy possible through tireless advocacy and sustained campaigning for change.
Creating a consistent legal environment that is simpler to understand and navigate gives charities greater ability to support their communities. The unveiling of the National Fundraising Principles, by the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP and the Hon. Mr Danny Pearson, marks the beginning of a new era in fundraising for the Australian charity sector. These reforms will go a long way towards cutting millions of dollars of compliance costs for charities.
The state and territory governments are tasked with rolling out the national fundraising regulations in their jurisdictions and are expected to release their implementation plans by July 2023.
Together with our coalition partners, we will see this important reform through to the end for the benefit of all charities across Australia.
If charities or (in some states) other not-for-profit groups want to raise money online, they need to apply for a fundraising licence in every state. Before the internet, this may not have mattered, but a major survey in May 2021 confirmed that the majority of fundraising is done online. Even very small groups can have a national fundraising appeal.
Under the existing laws, any charity with a donate button on their website might need to have a registered office in NSW and have all their board get police checks in WA (even if they are based in Tasmania!). They’re doing this paperwork instead of getting on with their crucial work, wasting time and money that could go to supporting communities.
For over a decade, #FixFundraising called for the harmonisation of fundraising rules. Since 2008, in more than 20 separate submissions to governments, inquiries, and commissions, using data and evidence from our work advising thousands of charities we shone a light on how fairer laws will positively impact the charity sector.
This change has been a long time coming and we look forward to seeing it become reality.
Our policy position evolved over the years in response to changing legal and political environments, but at its core, our dedication to simplifying the complex and confusing fundraising regulatory landscape remained unchanged.
Read more on the #FixFundraising campaign history over the years of our sustained advocacy.See the full campaign timeline
This work would not have been possible without the generous backing from the numerous supporters of our #FixFundraising campaign, to each of which we extend our thanks.
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Justice Connect welcomes the announcement by the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP (Federal Assistant Minister for Charities) and the Hon. Melissa Horne (Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs) which stated that a national framework for charitable fundraising laws is expected to be released later in 2022.
The introduction of consistent, principles-based fundraising requirements would mark a significant milestone on the issue, and mean charities could spend less of their limited resources navigating seven sets of complex laws, and more time supporting our community’s most marginalised members.
Read more about the announcement.
We welcome the Queensland Government’s proposal to introduce a cross-border recognition scheme for charitable fundraising registration.
However, we strongly recommend that the scheme be extended to recognise the annual reports provided to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) as satisfying the annual reporting requirements under the Collections Act 1966 for those ACNC registered charities.
Read our submission:
On 14 December 2021 we were pleased to welcome the Federal Treasurer’s announcement that the Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) has made charitable fundraising rules reform one of its top 10 priorities for 2022. Led by the Commonwealth and Victoria, a proposal for a national framework will be developed for the CFFR’s consideration. Once implemented, this could finally fix the current minefield of overlapping and out-of-date regulations.
The Charities Crisis Cabinet, in partnership with the #FixFundraising campaign coalition, released the Fundraising Survey 2021 which reveals just how ineffective, complex and slow Australia’s current fundraising laws are.
Involving over 600 charities and not-for-profits, the research report by Piazza Research warns 40% of Australian charities say current fundraising rules are causing them “an unnecessary financial burden”. Moreover, 1 in 5 of Australian charities believes the current rules and regulations for charities have become a major barrier to fundraising.See the full campaign timeline
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Senator Zed Seselja announced that all states, territories and the Commonwealth had agreed to reforms to fundraising regulations to create a single, cross-border recognised registration point for charities. A major win for the campaign.
The #FixFundraising reforms will:
These changes are the crucial first step. We will continue to push for the necessary other steps until all the changes needed to #FixFundraising in Australia are implemented.
Read more about this development.See the full campaign timeline
All major parties committed to fixing Australia’s fundraising laws as part of their election platform.
With a stronger, simpler and smarter regime, Australia can build a modern fundraising system that works as well for donors as it does for our vital charities. Read more about each party’s commitment, and about the full package of charity reforms that Labor has promised.See the full campaign timeline
We’ve been advocating for the government to #FixFundraising many years. Other significant wins include specialist guidance for charities about fundraising and the Australian Consumer Law; the independent review of the ACNC recommended #FixFundraising.See the full campaign timeline
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As part of our strategy to help #FixFundraising, we share what we’ve learned from our work in submissions to Royal Commissions and provide recommendations to governments.
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