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The ACNC welcomes the announcement that Australian, state and territory treasurers have agreed to a set of nationally consistent fundraising principles.

The principles streamline state and territory requirements on charitable fundraiser conduct and will give charities and donors a clear understanding of appropriate conduct. Each state and territory will release plans by July, outlining how they will give effect to the principles.

ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward AM said the national approach to fundraising red tape reform will save Australia’s charity sector millions of dollars each year, and charities can direct that money instead toward helping people who rely on them.

“Many rules that charities have to comply with if they want to conduct fundraising were created in a bygone era, when fundraising was conducted by volunteers rattling cans out on the street, for example. The rules don’t mention the internet or digital platforms, however, these days charities mainly fundraise using a range of online or digital methods, such as mass email or social media campaigns, collecting donations across borders,” Ms Woodward said.

“Reform is long overdue. For decades, the charity sector has raised concerns about laws identified as not being fit for purpose. A report we commissioned and published in 2014 highlighted charities’ major concerns about the burden of fundraising red tape and recommended reform. Red tape reduction is one of our main aims. Over the past ten years, we have worked with all states and territories to cut many forms of red tape that burdens charities.”

Last week, the Australian Government announced the below set of 16 principles will apply to charitable organisations.

When conducting fundraising activities, charitable organisations must ensure that their employees, volunteers, contractors and anyone else who they engage or arrange to raise funds on their behalf:

  1. Always explain the purpose of their charity and the purpose to which the funds raised will be applied in ways that are appropriate for the audience.
  2. Always be clearly, and individually, identifiable by the public (including to display identification that contains the individual’s name, whether they are a volunteer, employee or acting in some other capacity for a charitable organisation or commercial fundraising organisation, and that organisation’s name and contact details).
  3. Always make and keep written records of fundraising activities that can be easily read and understood.
  4. Always acknowledge and comply with a:
    1. refusal to make a donation
    2. request not to receive future solicitations (including marketing and promotional materials)
    3. request to be contacted at a more convenient time or by a different means
    4. request to limit the number, type or frequency of solicitations.
  5. Never conduct door-to-door or telephone fundraising activity at the following times:
    • before 9 am or after 5 pm on a weekend
    • before 9 am or after 6 pm (door-to-door) or 8pm (telephone) on a weekday
    • on a public holiday, unless the public holiday is closely connected with a fundraiser’s charitable purpose.
  6. Never mislead, deceive or knowingly use false or inaccurate information when fundraising.
  7. Never place undue or unreasonable pressure on a person when fundraising, or act unconscionably in any way to obtain a donation.
  8. Never exploit the trust, lack of knowledge, lack of capacity, apparent need for care and support, or vulnerable circumstances of any donor.
  9. Always make it clear whether a donation is a one-off or an ongoing donation, and clearly explain how to end an ongoing donation.
  10. For commercial fundraisers engaged to fundraise for a charitable organisation, never accept a donation without having explained that they are part of an organisation that makes a profit from fundraising as well as how they are paid.

At all times, charitable organisations must:

  1. Conduct all reasonable due diligence when engaging third parties to assist, support or deliver fundraising activities on its behalf.
  2. Make and keep written records of the total funds raised and the purposes for which funds are applied.
  3. Take all reasonable measures to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of fundraisers employed or directly engaged by them, as well as members of the public, when fundraising.
  4. Establish and maintain a complaints process that allows for proper investigation and redress of fundraising complaints that may be made by the public and encourage anyone with concerns about a fundraising activity conducted by or on behalf of the charity to contact them.
  5. Ensure information covered by the Privacy Act 1998 (the Act) is collected, used and managed in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles where required under the Act.
  6. Always ensure remuneration to commercial fundraisers engaged to fundraise for a charitable organisation is not excessive when compared to money or goods received for the charitable purpose of the fundraising.