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Fundraising controls 

By possessing an authority to fundraise, an organisation is entitled to appeal to the public for funds, but in return that organisation incurs a number of obligations which are set out in the Act, the Regulations and in greater detail in the conditions attached to the authority to fundraise.

Authority to fundraise 

The authority may be granted for an indefinite period for an indefinite number of appeals. In practice, authorities will be issued for a specific period such as five years. Conditions will be attached to, authorities.

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Authority conditions 

The conditions imposed will be of two types, standard and special. Standard conditions apply to all authorities issued. Special conditions are imposed on certain authority holders, or a class of authority holders, in response to special or exceptional circumstances. In some instances an authority condition may be modified or replaced with another condition. For more information, view or download the Fundraising authority conditions (PDF size: 100kb).

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Application may be made for a parent organisation to include specified branches, auxiliaries, subsidiaries, etc, in New South Wales on it’s authority to fundraise. To satisfy the legislative requirements, a specified branch, auxiliary, subsidiary, etc., (i.e. branches) must be under the direction and control of the governing body of the proposed authority holder. For more information, view or download the Fundraising by branches spread sheet in Excel format (size: 28kb).

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One of the major objectives of the Act is to promote proper and efficient management and administration of fundraising appeals. Proper disclosure is a keystone of that objective. Proper disclosure ensures that the public is fully advised of the circumstances of an appeal so that they can make an informed decision.

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Authorisation of appeals 

A person or organisation conducting or participating in an appeal must be authorised in writing by the authorised fundraiser.

Where the appeal is conducted face to face this authority must be in the form of a consecutively numbered identification badge or card which includes the name and contact phone number of the authorised fundraiser, the name of the bearer, and its issue and expiry date.

The badge must be worn by all volunteers or persons in receipt of a wage, fee or commission. Where the collector is in receipt of remuneration the badge must also include the words “Paid Collector”.

Where the appeal is not conducted face to face, the authority must be in writing and include details of the name of the authorised person, the terms and conditions under which the authorisation is granted, a description of the appeal, the specific period of the authority. It must also be signed and dated by the authority fundraiser or a person delegated to do so.

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Commercial fundraisers 

Appeals may be conducted by commercial fundraisers or promoters. The Act refers to these persons as traders. These are persons who undertake a fundraising appeal on behalf of the authorised fundraiser, and where the appeal undertaken is in connection with the supply or goods or services in the course of any trade or business carried on by that person, or otherwise partly for the person’s benefit.

Where a trader is to conduct an appeal, it must be conducted jointly with the authorised fundraiser under a written agreement.

Advertising undertaken by the trader must comply with a number of requirements.

For more information, go to the Commercial fundraisers page.

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Where an appeal is conducted through means of a telephone, the authorised fundraiser must ensure that it is conducted in accordance with Part C of the ADMA Code of Practice published by the Australian Direct Marketing Association.

The code specifies that a caller must:

  • identify himself or herself
  • tell the person being called, if asked, how the person’s name or number was obtained. If the caller does not know, they must find someone who does
  • only call between 8am and 9pm and not at all on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Easter Sunday
  • provide a clear opportunity to accept or reject the offer
  • accept a refusal courteously and hang up
  • appreciate that the person being called may have been contacted at an inconvenient time and offer to call back
  • not make calls pretending to do research or a survey when they are really trying to sell something.

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Participation of children in an appeal 

The minimum age for children participating in an appeal as a volunteer or receiving payment is eight years, and 13 years respectively. In both cases further requirements, set out in Part 2, Division 2 of the Fundraising Authority Conditions must be complied with.

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Banking of fundraising proceeds 

For the purposes of section 20(6) of the act, money is not required to be paid into an account consisting only of money raised in the fundraising appeals conducted by the same authorised fundraiser in the following circumstances:

  1. the money is paid into a general account of the authorised fundraiser held at an authorised deposit-­taking institution and accounting procedures are in place to ensure that money received in the course of a particular fundraising appeal can be clearly distinguished,
  2. the money is collected by a branch or auxiliary of the authorised fundraiser and the money is paid into a general account bearing the name of the branch or auxiliary held at an authorised deposit-­taking institution and accounting procedures are in place to ensure that money received in the course of a particular fundraising appeal can be clearly distinguished,
  3. the money is collected by volunteers on behalf of the authorised fundraiser and is paid into a general account of the authorised fundraiser held at an authorised deposit taking institution by way of credit card, cheque or electronic funds transfer and the authorised fundraiser obtains each volunteer's receipt book and reconciles it with any deposit made my that volunteer.

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Fundraising expenses 

Persons or organisations conducting appeals for donations only, must take all reasonable steps to ensure that total expenses payable do not amount to more than 50% of the gross proceeds. In all other forms of fundraising, such as the sale of goods and services, the return must be fair and reasonable.

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Keeping of records 

An authority holder is required to maintain certain books and records as well as an address in NSW. Go to the Fundraiser registered office page for more information.

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Financial reporting and audit 

The financial report must be audited by a registered company auditor or by a person approved by the office if the funds raised exceed $250,000. For further information, go to the Auditing charities web page (auditor independence).

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Disputes and conflicts of interest 

Authorised fundraisers are required to establish mechanisms to resolve internal disputes which occur within its membership, and complaints from the public.

Authorised fundraisers must also establish a mechanism for dealing with conflicts of interest including the maintenance of a pecuniary interests register where applicable.

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Public access to information 

An authorised fundraiser must furnish certain documentation and information to the public at a maximum fee of $17.50 for the first page, and $1.50 for each subsequent page. Includes GST—when supplied by the office a tax invoice will be issued in respect of the supply/transaction.

The information that may be accessed includes copies of annual financial accounts for the past seven years, a copy or extracts from the constitution, and the names, qualifications and occupations of members of the governing body of the organisation.

Where a person or organisation conducting an appeal is questioned on details of the purpose of the appeal such as the appeal target, objectives, distribution of proceeds, etc., they should use their best endeavours to provide answers.

A public register of charitable fundraising organisations in NSW is available at The register lists authorised fundraising organisations, an organisation′s primary address, and its licence number and duration. For more information, go to the Public access to fundraiser information page.

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