We #FixedFundraising: Justice Connect celebrates an advocacy victory of national importance

16 Feb 2023


Today’s announcement from the Commonwealth, state and territory Treasurers that a set of nationally consistent fundraising principles has been agreed to marks an important milestone for Australia’s charity sector.

These long-awaited changes are the result of Justice Connect’s decade-long #FixFundraising campaign, which urged lawmakers to take action and reform Australia’s out of date and ineffective web of existing fundraising laws.

Justice Connect’s Not-for-Profit Law program has been leading this campaign, alongside a coalition of 8 peak bodies, and with the support of thousands of Australia’s most trusted and effective charities.

“Thanks to our combined efforts, this decision 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,” said Justice Connect’s CEO Chris Povey.

Povey said the announcement was an ”historic moment for Australia’s vital charity sector.”

Once implemented, the new National Fundraising Principles will drastically reduce the amount of costly and time-intensive paperwork charities must deal with to fundraise effectively.

Complying with seven sets of outdated laws, many of which were written before the creation of the internet, creates undue pressure on the charity sector at a time they are facing overextended resources and continued funding cuts.

Head of Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program, Geraldine Menere, said “We’ve provided free legal help to thousands of charities since our program was first established in 2008, many of which were asking us: ’What rules do we have to follow so we can add a donate button on our website?’”.

“We look forward to being able to tell them that, instead of complying with seven sets of outdated and inconsistent laws, they can just look to a single set of modern fundraising principles.”

“These are principles of ethical behaviour, rather than overly complex requirements like the font size to go on a name badge, or the requirement to keep carbon copies of receipts,” Menere said.

Povey says this reform is long overdue.

“For over a decade, we have called for harmonisation of fundraising laws in more than 20 separate submissions to governments, inquiries, and commissions, using data and evidence from our work advising thousands of charities to shine a light on how fairer laws will positively impact the charity sector,” Mr. Povey said.

It’s now up to state and territory governments to roll out these changes in each jurisdiction and they have agreed to each release and implementation plan by July this year.

Justice Connect, and our allies in the #FixFundraising coalition, will continue holding the respective Governments to account to ensure these crucial reforms are implemented as soon as possible.

The #FixFundraising coalition is comprised of 8 organisations, including Justice Connect, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Community Council for Australia (CCA), CPA Australia, Governance Institute of Australia, Philanthropy Australia, and Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.

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Emily Malone, Justice Connect
+61 3 9021 0149

About Justice Connect:
Justice Connect is a legal service organisation and charity that designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice.

About Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law:
Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program is a national, specialised legal program. It 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 regulation on behalf of the community sector.