Damning new report reveals Australian charities are still drowning in regulatory red tape

27 May 2021

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and the Charities Crisis Cabinet reveals over 600 surveyed Australian charities are drowning in red tape because of outdated fundraising laws.  

Justice Connect’s Head of Not-for-Profit Law and lead for the #FixFundraising coalition, Sue Woodward, says the report uncovers the extreme burden on Australia’s smaller charities.  

Australia’s charity sector administers over $11.8 billion each year in donations and need to comply with Australia’s contradictory regulatory frameworks. The Fundraising Survey 2021 report warns that 40% of Australian charities say current fundraising rules are causing them “an unnecessary financial burden.” 1 in 5 Australian charities believe the current rules and regulations for charities have become a major barrier to fundraising.  

“Many small charities rely on volunteers and often have inadequate resources to comply with the out-of-date fundraising laws,” says Sue Woodward. 

“It’s not revolutionary to have a donate button on your organisation’s website and unsurprisingly many more charities were forced to go online with their fundraising efforts during COVID-19. But charities need to comply in every single jurisdiction if fundraising online – so the simple act of the donate button means trying to comply with seven different laws (each state and the ACT).” 

“This report highlights just how problematic and costly these laws are for the sector,” says Woodward. 

55% of charities and community organisations surveyed used 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, communities are turning to charities and community organisations for support only to have that capacity  be limited by complex regulation.  

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campaign to #FixFundraising has long advocated that instead of sinking time and precious funding into complying with outdated and complicated regulations, charities and not-for-profits should be able to focus on delivering the vital services to Australian communities.  

97% of surveyed respondents support Justice Connect’s #FixFundraising solution. 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. 

The joint report was developed by Piazza Research on behalf of the Charities Crisis Cabinet and the #FixFundraising movement. Over 600 charities and not-for-profit groups around the nation were surveyed for the report. 

Read the full report. 

Find out more about Justice Connect’s campaign to #FixFundraising.  

#FixFundraising Partners:  

  • Justice Connect  
  • Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) 
  • Governance Institute of Australia 
  • CPA Australia 
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD)
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • Philanthropy Australia 
  • Community Council for Australia (CCA) 
  • Public Fundraising Regulatory Association 



Emily Malone, Justice Connect
+61 3 9021 0149

About Justice Connect: 

Justice Connect is a legal services organisation and charity that designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice. Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law (NFP Law) is a national, specialised legal program that provides free and low-cost legal assistance to not-for-profit community organisations across Australia, runs a certified social enterprise and advocates for better laws and regulations on behalf of the Australian community sector.