Australian Consumer Law and Fundraising Guide
On 18 December 2017 the State and Territory regulators along with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released ‘A Guide to Australian Consumer Law: For Fundraising and Other Activities of Charities, Not-for-Profits and Fundraisers’ (‘the Guide’).
The Guide seeks to address the uncertainty in the sector as to how the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) applies to fundraising, charities, and not-for-profits.
The ACL is the Commonwealth law for fair trading and consumer protection. It provides, amongst other things, specific obligations in relation to unfair practices and consumer transactions.
Most notably, the Guide indicates Fundraising activities may attract obligations under the ACL where an entity:
* engages in fundraising activities involving the supply of goods or services; or
* is a for-profit professional fundraiser; or
* is fundraising in an organised, continuous and repetitive way.
The Guide provides helpful information and a number of examples that may assist you in determining whether the ACL applies to your organisation’s activities.
If you require any assistance in determining how the ACL applies to your organisations activities, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team for assistance.
We take this opportunity to remind you that most Australian States and Territories have limitations on the ability of persons and organisations (for e.g. for-profit professional fundraisers, charities and not-for-profits) to fundraise from the public without first obtaining a licence in that State or Territory.
Under each of the States’ and Territory’s fundraising regimes the scope of regulated conduct, the licencing requirements (however so described), the available exemptions and exceptions, and the ongoing compliance obligations differ. As a result, this area can be difficult to navigate. The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s ‘Charity Fundraising’ webpage provides a useful starting point.
Depending on the fundraising activities involved (such as online donation portals and email fundraising campaigns to subscribers), you may be required to hold fundraising registration in multiple jurisdictions.
If you are unsure if your organisation requires a licence, or if you need assistance in making an application, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team for assistance.