Fundraising and grants

Many associations undertake some form of fundraising or seek grants in order to help finance their not-for-profit activities. This chapter provides information on the legal requirements that associations must take into consideration.

Key points

  • Incorporated associations that wish to collect funds from the public for a charitable purpose must have a licence in Western Australia. 
  • Permission to fundraise in shopping centres must be obtained from the shopping centre management.
  • Permits or licenses are required to conduct raffles, sell alcohol or food and conduct street appeals.
  • Applying for and receiving grants can contribute towards the costs of all kinds of initiatives and assist the furtherance of an association’s objects.

Regulation of fundraising activities

There are a number of laws applicable to fundraising in Western Australia:

  • the Charitable Collections Act (1946) regulates fundraising for a charitable purpose;
  • the Street Collections (Regulation) Act (1940) regulates fundraising conducted in public streets;
  • the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act (1987) imposes controls on fundraising activities such as raffles, bingo and all forms of gambling; and
  • the Liquor Control Act (1988) imposes controls on fundraising events where liquor is to be sold.

Fundraising for charitable purposes

If an association or club is collecting donations of money or goods from the public in Western Australia for a charitable purpose it must have a licence under the Charitable Collections Act 1946 (the CCA).

Your association will need a charitable collections licence if the purpose of the fundraising falls within the definition of charitable purpose under the CCA which includes:

  • the relief of the sick, infirm, poor, destitute, helpless or unemployed;
  • the relief of distress caused by war, and the support of members of the armed forces;
  • animal welfare, conservation and environmental causes;

the support of hospitals, infant health centres and other activities of a social or welfare character.

The types of fundraising activities that require a licence include:

  • the sale of badges, flowers, tokens or other device for any charitable purpose;
  • charging an entry fee for sports events, fêtes, concerts etc. 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.

Charitable collections licences are issued by Consumer Protection.  More information about licensing requirements is available on Consumer Protection’s website.

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.

In these cases it is best to obtain authority from an existing licence holder to collect under their licence rather than applying for a licence in the association’s name. Refer to Consumer Protection’s website for more information about fundraising under a licence or to download a Guidance Pack (for licence holders).

Reporting requirements

Licence holders are required to submit an Annual Financial Return to Consumer Protection each year. The return includes information about the money or goods collected and the way they were distributed. Refer to Consumer Protection’s website for more information about the reporting requirements for licenced charities.

Exemption for charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission

Licence holders who are also registered charities with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) are not required to submit an Annual Financial Return to Consumer Protection or provide copies of financial reports.   This exemption is conditional on the licence holder meeting its reporting obligations to the ACNC.

Australian Charities and Not-for profit Commission (ACNC)

The Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) is the regulator of Australian charities. The ACNC offers a range of services including charity registration, assessment of some charitable taxation status (see Taxation  for more information) and educational guidance materials.

Associations registered with the ACNC are required to meet certain reporting requirements and more information can be found online or by telephoning 13 22 62.

It is important to remember that irrespective of an organisation’s registration with the ACNC, if it intends to conduct any collections in Western Australia for charitable purposes a licence must be obtained under the Charitable Collections Act 1946.

Other requirements relating to selected fundraising activities

Street collections

The Street Collections (Regulation) Act 1940 applies to any organisation conducting a street collection in the metropolitan area. A ‘public street’ includes private land used by the public for pedestrian traffic. The car parks and footpaths outside a shopping centre are therefore considered to be a street for the purposes of street collections.

Associations in regional areas should check with their local council whether there are any requirements for conducting a street collection.

A street collection permit is required whether or not the proceeds are to be used for a charitable purpose. Permits are obtained from Consumer Protection. The application must set out details of the purpose and locality of the street collection, and any other relevant information. Consumer Protection requires at least six weeks’ notice to process the application and issue the permit.

See Consumer Protection’s website for more information about street collections or to download an application form.

Door-to-door collections

An association with a charitable collections licence may carry out door to door collections from households between the hours of 9am and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays. All collectors must be over 16 years old and must wear an identity badge.

More information about the requirements of collecting from private residences is available on Consumer Protection’s website.

Fundraising in shopping centres

Shopping centres are good places for raising funds because of the large numbers of people passing through. Shopping centres have their own policies and procedures for providing fundraising space and you should contact the centre management for more information and permission.

Lotteries and games

The Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987 allows permits to be issued to charitable groups, community based organisations and sporting bodies for the purpose of raising funds from gaming related activities such as:

  • lotteries (raffles);
  • trade promotion (e.g. colouring in competition or entries drawn randomly);
  • video lottery terminals;
  • bingo and two-up;
  • sweepstakes and gaming functions; and
  • football tipping competitions and minor fundraising activities.

Associations wishing to raise funds from one of these activities will in most cases need to obtain a permit from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries - Racing, Gaming and Liquor Division (RGL). There are different application forms, conditions and fees for each lottery and gaming activity and more information is available online.

Selling food at fundraising events

Selling food is a very popular and profitable way of raising funds, whether it is a cake sale, a sausage sizzle or a large food and wine festival. However, preparing and selling food requires very careful handling and preparation for reasons of hygiene and safety.

Associations that are planning to organise temporary food stalls need to obtain a permit from their local council. Councils will also be able to provide the association with general guidelines on preparing and selling food. Ask to speak to the environmental health officer.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand also have fact sheets for charity and community based organisations on matters relating to food safety, including a specific fact sheet on sausage sizzles and barbeques.

Serving alcohol at fundraising events

If a fundraising activity or event includes selling and supplying alcohol, it will be necessary to obtain a liquor licence. Associations organising fundraising events at which liquor will be sold will need to apply for an occasional licence. This is a licence for people/associations that do not hold any other licence under the Liquor Control Act 1988.

An occasional licence permits the sale of liquor at a function, which means a 'gathering, occasion or event, including a sporting contest, show, exhibition, trade or other fair or reception, at which liquor is sold and supplied.

For more information about these licensing requirements, associations should contact Racing, Gaming and Liquor:

Telephone: 6551 4888



Address: PO Box 8349 Perth Business Centre WA 6849

Other matters for consideration

Commercial fundraisers

An association may wish to engage a commercial fundraiser to collect on its behalf. Commercial fundraisers are not presently required to be licensed under the Charitable Collections Act 1946. Any agreement between an association and a commercial fundraiser is subject to contract law, and associations should seek legal advice before entering into agreements.

Consumer Protection has developed some guidelines for consideration by associations contemplating entering into an agreement with a commercial fundraiser.

Bequests and gifts

Some incorporated associations obtain funds though gifts and bequests. A bequest is a gift of property in a will. While this is a valid means of acquiring funds, it is very important for associations to ensure that gifts and bequests have been given to the association without any undue influence or coercion.

If an incorporated association is planning to raise funds through a request for gifts and bequests, it is essential to discuss the project with a solicitor and to have the solicitor draft all the necessary documents (e.g. letters of request, forms and promotional material) in order to avoid legal pitfalls.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status

Incorporated associations that qualify as a DGR can receive tax-deductible gifts. This can make them more attractive to donors wishing to claim an income tax deduction for the gift, for example, sponsors and private donations. More information concerning Deductible Gift Recipients can be found on the ATO website.


A fundraising activity may require specific, one-off insurance, if the event is not going to be covered by existing policies. Personal injury, product liability and cover for volunteers are particular areas to consider. If the association is using a sub-contractor you should also check what insurance they have. Insurance topics are covered in more detail in Insurance and Risk Management.

Local authorities

Certain activities may require local government approval for fundraising. This is likely to be the case when using a public space and/or in relation to local health, noise, safety or traffic by-laws.


It is very likely that an association will want to apply for a grant at one time or another over the course of its life. Applying for and receiving grants can contribute towards the costs of all kinds of initiatives and assist the furtherance of an association’s objects.

Preparing grant submissions

Writing competitive grant submissions that will result in a successful grant application can be a daunting task. If an association has any queries regarding the requirements for a specific grant or information regarding the application process it is recommended that they contact the organisation responsible for the grant.

Finding the right grant for your association

Grant programs are available from State and Commonwealth agencies. For example:

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

  • Sport and Recreation provides funding to facilitate sport and active recreation.  Visit the Funding, grants and scholarship page for full details. 
  • Culture and the Arts distributes funding to organisations.  Visit the website for more information about the grant programs offered, eligibility requirements and application processes.
  • Office of Multicultural Interests offers different types of funding, including community grants through its Community Grants Program.

Department of Communities

Provides one-off grants to community sector organisations to implement projects, events and initiatives. Visit the Community Grants, Funding and Initiatives webpage for more information.


Grants are available to not-for-profit organisations and local government authorities to support charitable or benevolent initiatives with a public benefit within Western Australia. For more information about available grants and application processes visit the Lotterywest website.