Regulation of fundraising activities

Fundraising activities in Western Australia are potentially restricted by one or more pieces of legislation and regulations, including:

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

The Acts that might regulate your association’s fundraising depends on what purpose the funds will be used for. For instance, if the fundraising is for a charitable purpose, then your association will need to hold a licence under the Charitable Collections Act.

What constitutes a charitable purpose can be a bit confusing, as there are significant differences between its common law meaning, its meaning under Commonwealth tax legislation, and its meaning under the Charitable Collections Act 1946.

The definition in the Charitable Collections Act 1946 is wide and includes providing assistance to the ill, infirm, poor, or unemployed persons, and to hospitals, kindergartens and infant health care centres. It also embraces various other social welfare and benevolent activities.

However, what is not covered by the definition is just as important. For example, the support of schools or sporting activities is generally not a charitable purpose. So fundraising by a Parents and Citizens Association wanting to buy new computers for its primary school is not regulated by the Charitable Collections Act 1946 and the association would not need to be licensed. But, if your association is raising funds to assist homeless ‘street kids’, then this is fundraising for a charitable purpose and the association would need to apply for a licence.

If you are unsure if your fundraising is for a charitable purpose, you can contact the Charities Area at Consumer Protection on (08) 6251 1407.