Fix Fundraising

Australia’s fundraising laws are a mess.

Our charities and not-for-profits should be able to get on with their jobs of supporting communities.

Learn more about the campaign

Illustration of female charity worker

Why we need to fix fundraising

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.

But there is hope after a recent campaign win: 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 Once implemented, this could finally fix the current minefield of overlapping and out-of-date regulations. Find out more.

 

The time to #FixFundraising was yesterday

How we’re helping to fix fundraising

Our campaign to #FixFundraising has long advocated for charities to be able to focus on the vital services they exist to deliver, like helping communities affected by floods, patrolling our beaches, or delivering life-changing community services, instead of sinking resources into complying with outdated, expensive and complicated regulations.

We’re calling for a single set of rules to help ensure ethical fundraising practise. We call these the Australian Fundraising Principles (AFPs).

Read our proposed Australian Fundraising Principles

Supporters of our #FixFundraising campaign

We’ve joined with hundreds of not-for-profits around Australia, asking our government to #FixFundraising.

List of logos of organisations who are signatories of our Fix Fundraising campaign

 

  NEW: For a simple overview of our #FixFundraising campaign, you can download our latest Fix Fundraising briefing pack.

Download our Fix Fundraising briefing pack:

Justice Connect’s Fix Fundraising briefing kitDownload PDF (518 KB)

Stay up to date with the campaign to #FixFundraising

Your support is essential to help us advocate for a single national scheme for the regulation of charitable fundraising. Subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date with the latest news and updates.

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What we've achieved so far

2022 campaign highlights

July: Queensland Government proposes a key step forward 

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: 

Submission to the Queensland Government’s inquiry into the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (June 2022)Download PDF (316 KB)

2021 campaign highlights

December: Federal, State and Territory Governments jointly commit to #FixFundraising

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. 

Find out more.

May: Fundraising Survey reveals ineffectiveness of Australia’s current fundraising laws

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.

Read more about the findings.

See the full campaign timeline

2020 campaign highlights

December: #FixFundraising is now on the national agenda

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:

  • Reduce costs and the administrative burden on ACNC registered charities that operate across multiple states.
  • Simplify financial reporting requirements.
  • Improve transparency by centralising registration and reporting through the ACNC.

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

2019 campaign highlights

May: All major parties have made an election commitment to #FixFundraising

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

Earlier campaign highlights

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

Does your not-for-profit need legal help?

Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law service can provide free legal advice to eligible community organisations and social enterprises.

Apply now

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Read our latest articles on fixing fundraising

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.

 

Our stories about fixing fundraising

Helping a community organisation grow

“It started off as just a little group of us and then went absolutely ballistic!”

Read Welcome to Eltham's story
Photograph of Justice Connect's client Welcome to Eltham