New report shows charities still face unnecessary red tape when raising funds for their vital services

27 May 2021

A major independent new report co-published by Justice Connect’s #FixFundraising coalition and the Charities Crisis Cabinet reveals that over 600 charities and community organisations surveyed are drowning in red tape because of outdated fundraising laws.

The Fundraising Survey 2021 report revealed that 55% of charities and community organisations surveyed use online fundraising methods with many more hesitant, identifying the fundraising registration process as either ‘very complex with excessive information required’ or ‘somewhat complex’.

In the era of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and compounding crises, charities have pivoted to online with limited resources to fundraise for the support they give to increasingly more communities. Complex fundraising regulations are still a barrier to charities pursuing their purpose to serve community.

At a panel event we hosted in 2019, Greg Seeto from Live Saving Australia shared his ‘on the ground’ experience of the burden of trying to comply with complex and often inconsistent fundraising laws and the urgent need for legal reform.

“Complying with 7 different state fundraising regulations costs the equivalent of 25 – 30 rescue boats or 10,000 lifeguard hours per year,” he said.

The report uncovered the disproportionate burden on Australia’s smaller charities. 46% of the charities and not-for-profit organisations surveyed were small with a total annual income of less than $250,000. 

Many of these small charities rely on volunteers and often have inadequate resources to support communities in times of crisis, let alone comply with out-of-date and complicated fundraising laws that contradict across states and territories.

Other key findings:

  • 57 – 88% of charities and not-for-profits report that the fundraising registration process is either very complex with a lot of excessive information required, or ‘somewhat complex’.
  • 53% of Australian charities and not-for-profits consider the impact of current fundraising rules and registration processes as ‘significant’.
  • The majority of charities use online fundraising, however 39% of Australia’s charities and not-for-profits are not aware of the need to comply with different state and territory licenses and regulations when raising funds online.
Download the full report

What’s next?

Justice Connect’s campaign to #FixFundraising has long advocated that instead of sinking time and precious funding into complying with outdated and complicated regulations, charities and not-for-profits should be able to focus on delivering their vital services to Australian communities.  

97% of the survey respondents said they supported the solutions proposed by the #FixFundraising campaign.

The findings of the report will be used to help us continue to advocate for a single national scheme for the regulation of charitable fundraising, as recommended by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

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