Charitable Fundraising Act 1991

Stack of documentsSummary – The Treasurer released a consultation paper on charitable fundraising reform in February 2012.

The Treasury recently released a discussion paper and draft regulation impact statement in relation to proposed charitable fundraising reform.  At the moment, all States and Territories in Australia (except the Northern Territory) have their own fundraising regulations and they have different requirements for registration and compliance. The discussion paper proposes to introduce standardised fundraising laws across Australia.

The kinds of “fundraising activity” subject to regulation, as proposed by the paper, would encompass any activity involving the solicitation or receipt of money or other property primarily for a “charitable purpose”.  “Charitable purpose” will be defined in accordance with the upcoming statutory definition of “charity”, currently contemplated by the Commonwealth Government.  The requirement for a “charitable purpose” suggests that fundraising activities for causes that do not fall within the definition of “charity” will not be caught by the proposed national fundraising laws.


Continue Reading Fundraising Reform for Charities

For charities that invite and rely upon donations from the public, their reputation and the public confidence in them is fundamental to their livelihood and success.  Bad press of any kind can lead to a significant reduction in donations, embarrassment for supporters of the charity, and may even invite investigation by regulatory bodies into the charity’s management.

A timely example of the impact of negative publicity can be seen in Sydney Morning Herald’s investigation into the Small Miracles Foundation.  The foundation in question provides grief counselling to parents that have lost their baby.

Risk to reputation can be managed by transparency, proper record-keeping and reporting and having proper staff management practices

The article reported:

  • allegations from a number of parties, including the charity’s accountant, alleging the charity’s “mismanagement” and refusal to give access to financial records;
  • allegations of unfair dismissals made by former staff; and
  • confusion as to who runs the charity and that detail of board members, management or staff are not available on the charity’s website.

Whether or not the allegations are correct, they are serious.  They have the real potential to drive away donors and result in further undesirable consequences.
Continue Reading A Charity’s Reputation – How to Manage the Risk