Your charity needs to raise some funds that it can use towards running its activities. You have a great idea for a fundraiser but you are unsure where to start when it comes to organising it and complying with any legal requirements. This article details the top 10 things for you to think about and what laws you may need to comply with.

1. Which States and Territories Is Your Fundraiser Going to Operate In?

Is this a raffle for a local tennis club or a nationwide tin collection? You must know where your fundraiser is going to operate because there are different fundraising laws in each State and Territory and you will need to comply with these as part of your fundraiser.

2. How are you going to promote your fundraiser?

Will it be advertised online? Or will you engage volunteers to promote it? It is important to think about how people are going to hear about your fundraiser and what they are going to hear or see. Any representation that you make about your fundraiser and what the funds will be used for needs to clear and honest. This is because Australian Consumer Law affects the way you can advertise or market some fundraising activities.

3. Are you conducting a trade promotion?

A trade promotion is a competition where there is no cost or a minimal cost to enter and a prize is offered. Usually entry is provided as part of someone purchasing a product or ticket. These include door prizes, surveys and other promotional competitions and can have an element of skill or are based purely on chance. It is important to know whether you are conducting a trade promotion because special laws apply in each State or Territory.

4. Are you conducting a raffle or gaming activity? 

These fundraisers will include a situation where the donor purchases a ticket or pays money to enter into a game or competition. The types of activities included are raffles, bingo, gaming nights, lotteries, sweepstakes or lucky envelopes. Like trade promotions, you need to know whether what you are doing is a gaming activity because additional laws apply in each State or Territory.

5. What are the prizes or products you are selling?

You need to know what prizes or products you are offering. If you are running a gaming activity or trade promotion that value of your prize pool will determine what kind of license or permit you require. You also need to know what products you are selling and who the manufacturers are. If the products are faulty or there are any issues Australian Consumer Law will apply and you need to know what your obligations are.

6. Are you running any events?

If you are running an event you need to know what type of event it is and what you will need to provide for it to run smoothly. You will need to consider the venue as well as food and drink. You will also need to make sure that you have appropriate staffing as well as WHS and emergency procedures in place.

7. Do you need any licenses?

If you are running and event or conducting another activity to fundraise you may need to apply to local or State government authorities for the right licenses. Licenses and permits can apply to:

  • Gaming activities;
  • Trade promotions;
  • Selling food and drink;
  • Providing catering;
  • Providing alcohol;
  • Selling alcohol;
  • Booking public spaces;
  • Road closures;
  • Working with children;
  • Loud activities; and
  • Providing entertainment.

8. Timeframes

You also need to know how long your fundraiser will run for and how long it will take to organise the whole event. You also need to consider how long you need to apply for any permits or licenses and factor this into your timeframes.

9. Account Auditing

Who is going to account for all of the money is raised as part of the fundraiser? You need to keep records of the money spent in setting up the fundraiser and clear records of the donations that your organisation received. Some fundraising licenses and permits require that you keep accounts of the fundraiser and audit them, so at the very least you need to have accurate accounts for your fundraiser.

10. Reporting

Another reason why you should keep accurate accounts of a fundraiser is that your charity has to report the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) each year. You may also have to report to ASIC or a State Government body every year depending on your legal structure. You need to make sure that your fundraising is part of your yearly accounts and included in your financial reporting.

Key Takeaways

There are many things to think about when setting up a fundraiser. As long as you have thought in detail about what you are going to be doing and how it is going to work you will be able to make sure that you comply with the relevant laws.