Fundraising and the Law
Table of Contents
Your committee has come up with a brilliant fundraising idea and you’re keen to get started. Before you jump in, it’s important to research what, if any, legislation or regulations you need to comply with. This will protect your organisation as well as the community.
This might seem like overkill for your local bake sale or sausage sizzle, but doing a little bit of research now, could save you, and your organisation, a lot of heartache down the line.
Types of Fundraising
There are many types of fundraisers and each one comes with their own pros, cons, and legal obligations. We’ll discuss a few of the most common types of fundraisers below.
Grants are funds allocated to your organisation usually by a government, private, or philanthropic organisation. Grants are usually for a specific project or program delivered over a defined period of time.
Sponsorships are when a business or individual donates money, goods or services generally in return for promotion.
For example, your local sports team might be sponsored by the butcher. In return for their financial donation, you display their logo on the players sports uniforms and other promotional materials.
Fundraising events can be an effective way to raise funds for your organisation. There are wide range of events to consider such as:
- Gala Dinners
- Food, music, or film festivals
- Community Fairs
Online crowdfunding has become a popular form of fundraising for specific causes.
You create a crowdfunding campaign, outline your project or cause, and why you need funds. There are many sites you can create a campaign on, some of the most popular are:
- Go Fund Me
- My Cause
Raffles, minor gaming and trade promotions
Raffles, bingo, trivia night, poker nights are all fun and interactive ways to raise funds. Under the law, these are considered minor gaming and have strict regulations you need to follow.
Depending on your organisation, and the state you are holding these events in, you may need to apply for a license. Read below for more information
Each state and territory have different legal regulations around fundraising. It’s important to review the information provided by the relevant regulatory bodies. These are listed below.
Raffles, minor gaming, and trade promotions, generally have seperate licensing and legal requirements, so it’s important to check with the relevant body before commencing any of these activities.
On top of any state legal requirements, it’s a good idea to check in with your local council. For example, if you’re planning to hold a fundraising event in a local park, do you need permission from your council.
Here’s a small checklist when planning your next fundraiser:
- Have you checked in with your relevant state regulatory body?
- Have you checked in with your local council?
- Do you need any food safety certificates/licenses?
- Do you need any responsible service of alcohol certificates/licenses?
- Do you need any gaming licenses?
- Are all appropriate insurances in place?
- Do you have a risk management plan?
If in doubt, call your regulatory body or a professional to discuss your proposed fundraiser. You and your committee have a legal obligation to ensure your fundraiser complies with all relevant legislation and apply for a permit if required
State Regulatory Bodies
Phone: 13 22 81
Mail: GPO Box 158, Canberra City ACT 2601
Department of Fair Trading
Address: NSW Fair Trading, 60 Station Street Parramatta NSW 2150 or
GPO Box 972, Parramatta NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 9895 0111
Address: Level 3, NAB House,
71 Smith Street, Darwin NT 0800
Phone: (08) 8999 1800
Queensland Office of Fair Trading
Address: GPO Box 3111, Brisbane Queensland, 4001
Phone: 13 74 68
Email: Via Contact Us form
Office of Consumer and Business Services
Address: Chesser House GPO Box 672, Adelaide South Australia 5001
Phone: 131 882
Web: www.cbs.sa.gov.au or www.charities.sa.gov.au
Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading
Address: PO Box 56, Rosny Park TAS 7018
Phone: 1300 65 44 99
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Address: Consumer Affairs Victoria, GPO Box 123, Melbourne VIC 3001
Phone: 1300 55 81 81
Department of Commerce: Associations and Charities
Address: Locked Bag 14, CLOISTERS SQUARE WA 6850 or
Level 2, Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William Street, Perth
Telephone: (08) 6552 9364
Country Callers: 1300 30 40 74
If you are a nationally registered organisation or charity, or you are conducting fundraising outside of your state, it’s important to check in with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the national regulator of charities.
Fundraising is an effective way to raise money for your organisation. If you do a little bit of research into any legal obligations you have now, you can save yourself a lot of heartache later.
The regulatory bodies are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to give them a call and discuss your idea.
Remember, if in doubt, contact a professional.