A New Era in Australian Fundraising: Simpler Rules, Less Red Tape

A New Era in Australian Fundraising: Simpler Rules, Less Red Tape

A 'dog's breakfast' of fundraising regulations will be replaced by one national set of rules to guide the non-profit sector into the future.

A new era in fundraising has been ushered in with the announcement last week of a simple new set of national rules to replace the old maze of regulations.

The announcement, made by the Commonwealth, state and territory Treasurers, marks the end of an outdated web of fundraising rules, which have been described by some as a “dog’s breakfast”, and have hampered the sector for years.

Thanks to a decade-long '#FixFundraising' campaign, led by the non-profit Justice Connect, Australian charities will be freed up from red tape headaches and more able to focus on doing the vital community work they do best.

According to a statement from Justice Connect, “the importance of these reforms can’t be understated”.

“For years, just to put a ‘donate now’ button on their website, charities have had to work out how to comply with seven sets of laws, many of which were written before the creation of the Internet,” said the statement. “The new National Fundraising Principles will drastically reduce the amount of costly and time-intensive paperwork charities must deal with to fundraise effectively.”

State and territory governments will now have to roll out the changes, with implementation plans due by July this year.

The new set of rules cover areas such as:

  • Clear explanation of the purpose of the charity and funds raised
  • Clear identification of the organisation
  • Clarity around whether donations are ongoing or one-off
  • Taking written records of fundraising activities
  • Respecting the requests of donors
  • Curfews around telephone fundraising
  • Complaints processes

Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, said in a statement that the new set of principles “will give charities and donors a clear understanding of appropriate conduct, while allowing for greater flexibility as to how charities achieve compliance”.

The changes were welcomed by the CEO of The Community Council for Australia, David Crosbie, who told ProBono Australia that charities were “engulfed” by “duplication and red tape”.

“Charities currently face a dog’s breakfast of outdated, dysfunctional regulation that is strangling charitable fundraising in Australia,” he said. “The commitment to streamline fundraising regulation announced today…is long overdue.”

See ProBono Australia’s article for a full list of the proposed principles as provided by Andrew Leigh’s office.

Feature image: Photo by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash

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