Organisations seeking to raise funds or collect goods from the public for charitable purposes in Western Australia are required to have the authority of a charitable collections licence (Licence) under the Charitable Collections Act 1946(WA) (Act).

It is important that charitable organisations are aware of the licensing requirements, in order to ensure that they comply with the Act and avoid penalties.

Who needs a Licence? 

Licences are needed for a wide variety of charitable activities. Answering the following questions will help your organisation determine if it is required to have a Licence. If you answer yes to any of the following, then your organisation is required to conduct those activities under a Licence.

Does your organisation collect money or goods for charitable purposes? This may involve doorknocking, television / radio / online or street appeals.

Does your organisation sell items to raise funds for charitable purposes? This may involve tokens, badges or flowers.

Does your organisation hold functions or entertainment events and charge an admission fee for charitable purposes? This may involve fetes or music concerts.

Does your organisation advertise that the proceeds of an event, such as a sporting event or a fete, will be used for charitable purposes?     

What are charitable purposes?

Charitable purposes are defined in the Act to include, for example:

  • support of the sick, poor, homeless or unemployed;
  • relief efforts following wars and the supply of equipment to the navy, military and air force;
  • support of hospitals or infant health centres;activities advancing social welfare or of a public character; and
  • purposes of a benevolent, philanthropic or patriotic nature.

Obtaining a LicenceFundraising activities conducted by sporting clubs, social groups, schools and kindergartens, are not considered to be for charitable purposes and, as such, are not required to be undertaken pursuant to a Licence.  

Applying for a Licence is free of charge and requires an organisation to lodge the following documents with the Charitable Collections Advisory Committee (Committee):

  1.  A covering submission providing information regarding:
    1. your organisation and why it requires a Licence; and
    2. information as to whether there are any other organisations with a Licence engaged in similar charitable activities and, if so, information as to any contact that your organisation has had with them. \
  2. An application form, which nominates 3 Principal Executive Officers.
  3. For each of the 3 Principal Executive Officers:
    1. a Principal Executive Officer declaration and consent form; and
    2. an original police clearance, no older than 6 months;
  4. Certified copies of your organisation’s certificate of incorporation and constitutional document.
  5. A certified copy of your organisation’s audited financial accounts for the last 12 months.

In considering whether to grant a Licence, the Act requires that the Committee consider whether there is already a current Licence holder operating for similar charitable purposes, with a view to encouraging organisations who operate for a similar purpose to amalgamate or fundraise under the authority of the same Licence.

Applications are considered by the Committee on a monthly basis, after which a recommendation is made to the Minister as to which organisations should be granted a Licence.

To access the application forms, see the Department of Commerce’s website.

Authority of another Licence holder

Organisations who do not hold a Licence in their own right are able to undertake their charitable fundraising activities under the authority of an existing Licence holder.  You can access a list of all of the current licensees on the Department of Commerce’s website.

If you intend on doing this, as either the organisation seeking the authority or the organisation granting the authority, we suggest that you enter into a formal written agreement which clearly articulates the terms of the authority.

The ongoing requirements

It is important for licensees to submit their audited financial statements to the Committee within six months of the end of their financial year.

Licensees are also required to apply to have their Licence renewed after a period of 3 years. Renewal forms can be accessed from the Department of Commerce’s website.