Fundraising for charitable purposes

Fundraising for charitable purposes in Western Australia is regulated by the Charitable Collections Act 1946. If the charitable fundraising involves a street appeal, then the Street Collections (Regulation) Act (1940) also applies. The Minister for Commerce administers these Acts through the Charitable Collections Advisory Committee, which in turn operates in conjunction with Consumer Protection.

What are the requirements for fundraising?

Your association will need a charitable collections licence if:

  • the purpose of its fundraising falls within the definition of charitable purpose under the Charitable Collections Act (1946);
  • it intends to collect or obtain money or goods (such as aluminium cans or used furniture or clothing); or
  • conducts fundraising for that charitable purpose.
  • The following activities are considered to be a collection under the Charitable Collections Act 1946 and require a licence:
  • the sale of items such as badges, flowers, tokens or any other device for any charitable purpose;
  • charging an entrance fee for functions (such as sports events, fêtes, and concerts) where it is implied that any part of the fee will be applied to a charitable purpose; or
  • advertising a function where it is implied that any part of the proceeds will be donated to a charitable purpose.

For more information about conducting charitable collections refer to the information sheet Charitable Collections – Getting Started.

How does an association obtain a licence?

Technically, an association applies to the Minister for Commerce for permission to fundraise, and the Minister refers the application to the Charitable Collections Advisory Committee.  In practice, however, the application is lodged with the Charitable Collections Licensing section at Consumer Protection and the Committee then makes its recommendations with regard to licensing. 

An application may take up to eight weeks to be processed. A licence is normally issued for three years and may be renewed.  More information about licensing requirements is available from www.commerce.wa.gov.au/charities or by reading Charitable Collections- A guide to licensing.

Fundraising under an existing licence

There may be times when your association wants to conduct a one off or short term appeal for a charitable purpose.

For example to raise money to help someone in need in the community, to assist in disaster relief efforts or for someone who needs urgent medical treatment.

The requirements of the Charitable Collections Act 1946 will still apply but it may not be practical to apply for a licence. It may be better to obtain authority from an existing licence holder to collect under their licence.

For more information visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au/charities.

Reporting requirements

Licensees are required to submit audited financial reports to the Committee at the end of their financial year.  The reports must contain detailed information about the money or goods collected and the way they were distributed.

Code of Conduct

A Voluntary Code of Practice for public fundraising has been developed by Consumer Protection. It provides helpful guidelines to fundraisers on how to conduct fundraising in a responsible and accountable manner.