Charitable collections - Getting started

This publication is for: 
ConsumerLicence holdersNot for profit

Are you planning to raise money to:

  • assist in disaster relief efforts; or
  • help someone in need in your community?

Any person wishing to fundraise or seek donations from the public for a charitable cause needs to be:

  1. licenced under the Charitable Collections Act 1946; or
  2. collecting under the authority of an existing licence holder.

Licencing collectors is important to protect the public’s trust and confidence in the charity sector and ensure that all monies received are applied to the intended purposes.

What is a charitable purpose?

The following purposes are charitable under the Act and any collections for these purposes require a licence:

  • Relief of the sick, infirm, poor, helpless or unemployed, or the dependants of any such persons.
  • Relief of distress caused by war, and the support of people who have been members of the armed forces or their dependants.
  • Support of hospitals, infant health centres, schools, kindergartens and other social welfare activities.
  • Animal welfare, conservation and environmental causes.
  • Any benevolent, philanthropic or patriotic purpose.

If you are unsure whether your planned activities need to be licenced please contact the Charitable Collections Licensing section on (08) 6251 1407 for more information.

Applying for a Charitable Collections Licence

To apply for a licence, an organisation needs to lodge an application with the Department of Commerce. An Advisory Committee exists under the Act to consider applications.

The Committee will only grant a licence to an incorporated association formed under State legislation, a company limited by guarantee registered under the Corporations Act 2011 (Cth) or the trustees for a charitable trust. Charitable collections licences are not typically granted to individuals, unincorporated associations or proprietary limited companies.

For more information refer to our publication Charitable Collections: A guide to licensing 

If your organisation does not wish to apply for its own licence please turn over for information about opportunities to fundraise under the authority of any existing licence holder

Fundraising under an existing licence

Communities often respond quickly when tragic events occur and commonly fundraising activities start soon after the event. If you wish to conduct a one-off or short term appeal for a charitable purpose it may be better to fundraise under the authority of an existing licence holder instead of applying for your own.

You will need to do your own research to identify an appropriate licence holder to contact. In deciding who to approach, you should consider contacting either an organisation with ‘general’ charitable objects or one who’s objects align specifically with the purpose you are collecting for.

As a starting point refer to the complete list of organisations currently licensed.

When seeking permission to fundraise under the authority of an existing licence holder, you should be mindful that the licensed organisation is not obliged to grant your request or may require certain conditions to be met before approval is given.

It is advisable to outline the purposes for which the funds will be collected and provide a plan:

  • explaining how these objectives will be achieved; and
  • detailing what activities are proposed to achieve your objectives.

Where authority has been granted, you or your organisation must ensure that all advertising and promotional material clearly states that money and goods are being collected under the authority of the licensed organisation.

Under the Charitable Collections Regulations 1947 all money collected under the authority of an existing licence must be deposited into the licence holder’s account within 14 days of being collected. It is also important to keep accurate records of the income and expenditure associated with your activities because it may be necessary to report this information back to the licence holder.

Please note it is an offence to collect money or goods from the public for charitable purposes without a charitable collections licence or the authority of an existing licence holder. If you are unable to obtain a licence or authority to fundraise you should not proceed with your proposed collection or fundraising activity

Consumer Protection
Fact sheet
Last updated 22 Aug 2017

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