Authorisation to undertake charitable fundraising
If you or your organisation intend to fundraise for a charitable purpose you must hold a licence to fundraise. This is known as an authority to fundraise.
If you are fundraising in the name of, or on behalf of, another organisation, the appeal must be authorised by that organisation which must either hold an authority or be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence. If your organisation is established under an Act and subject to the control and direction of a Minister, you can fundraise without a licence. Go to the starting a charity page for more information.
Charitable fundraising authority conditions
Authorities to fundraise are subject to conditions, or additional conditions as may be imposed by the Minister.
How is an authority to undertake charitable fundraising obtained?
To apply for an authority, download and complete the charitable fundraising application (PDF, 221.42 KB). Send the completed applications and other forms to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to:
NSW Fair Trading
Business Licensing Locked Bag 5138
Parramatta NSW 2124
Raising funds on behalf of our charity?
When an organisation or individual (known as a trader) wants to fundraise on behalf of your charity for a charitable purpose, you need to authorise them in writing to collect any donations. If the individual or organisation is not receiving a financial or other benefits, the written authorisation must:
- Include the name of the person or organisation authorised to fundraise on your behalf.
- Include the terms and conditions under which the authorisation is granted.
- Have a description of the appeal or appeals to be undertaken.
- Indicate the specific period for which the authorisation will apply, including issue and expiry dates.
- Be signed and dated by an authorised delegate of your organisation.
A sample authority to fundraise for a charitable purpose (PDF, 88.43 KB) has been developed for a simple charitable fundraising event, such as a sausage sizzle, where income and collected donations undertaken by a trader are for a charity.
Please note that this is an example only and should not be used as a template. You should tailor your trader’s authorisation to suit the individual circumstances of the proposed charitable fundraising event and your organisation’s structure. You should also get your own independent legal and/or financial advice if you wish.
Authorisation to fundraise - school fetes
You only need to authorise the school if it’s being represented by people that funds are being raised for your organisation’s charitable purpose. If the school is not getting a financial or other benefit for raising the funds, the authorisation must:
- be in writing
- include the name of the person from the school who is authorised to raise funds
- include the terms and conditions under which the authorisation is granted
- include a description of the appeal or appeals to be undertaken
- indicate the specific period for which the authorisation will apply
- be signed and dated by the authorised fundraiser (or a delegate of the authorised fundraiser or its governing body).
It’s also best practice to get an income statement where appropriate, setting out the expenses and income arising from the fundraising activity.
Fundraising income must be banked into an account that contains only fundraising income. This can be relaxed if the two types of income can be distinguished.
It is a requirement of the authority’s conditions that an organisation (including any board of trustees or other bodies of people, whether incorporated or unincorporated) is to maintain annual financial records during the term of the fundraising authority.
Financial statements are to include:
- an income statement (known as a statement of financial performance, income and expenditure or a profit and loss statement) summarising the income and expenditure of each fundraising appeal.
- a balance sheet summarising all assets/liabilities from the conduct of fundraising appeals.
- details of aggregate gross income/aggregate direct expenditure in which traders were engaged (for fundraising revenue exceeding $100,000).
- details of the type/amount of remuneration or benefit received by a member of the governing body of the authorised fundraiser (other than reimbursement of out of pocket expenses) and the name and position held by each recipient (for fundraising revenue exceeding $100,000).
- a declaration by a responsible member of the governing body stating the provisions of the Charitable Fundraising Act, the regulations under the Act and the conditions attached to the authority have been complied with
It is important to note that all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that the expenses payable in respect to a fundraising appeal (without the supply of goods or services) do not exceed 50 per cent of the gross income obtained.
Audited accounts are required if the funds raised exceed $250,000 a year and must include a signed auditor’s report stating that the authority holder is compliant with the financial obligations of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, the regulations and the conditions of the authority.
Income tax exemption and deductible gift recipient status
Go to the Australian Taxation Office website for all inquiries around eligibility to receive exemptions, concessions or special treatment in some circumstances under the Federal Government’s taxation system.