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FIA urges Senate to cut fundraising red tape

The Fundraising Institute of Australia has called for a Senate committee to reduce fundraising regulation and save the sector millions

The Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) is urging a Senate Committee to reduce the red tape that costs the not-for-profit sector millions each year.

FIA made the submission to the Senate Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century, calling for Commonwealth and state governments to collaborate on the best plan to reduce additional fundraising regulatory costs.

“While there has been some progress recently in reducing duplication in reporting, by far the greatest source of red tape for charities relates to permits to fundraise which must be sourced state by state, campaign by campaign,” said FIA CEO Katherine Raskob.

The Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century was given the green light to inquire and report on the current state of fundraising. Currently, the committee is seeking recommendations on the future of fundraising going forward.

The committee will examine a number of current governing guidelines, including how federal, state and territory governments could work together to provide charities with a consistent and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime.

FIA has recommended that overall responsibility for fundraising issues addressed at a Commonwealth level should be centralised under one senior minister.

“The current framework of fundraising regulation has created an environment in which a multitude of federal and state regulators have converged on the sector. This is because no single regulator has overall responsibility for fundraising,” Raskob said.

A 2016 report by Deloitte Access Economics said that fundraising is the source of the greatest amount of regulatory burden for charitable organisations.

The report added: “Fundraising legislation differs significantly between jurisdictions which very quickly escalates the administrative cost a charity incurs.”

In the past two years, fundraisers have responded to a dozen calls to participate in federal and state reviews and inquiries, including an investigation into Commission-based fundraising, an ATO/Treasury enquiry into Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Reform Opportunities and an ongoing Fair Work Ombudsman investigation of charities.

“The promise of harmonisation has not been delivered,” Raskob said. “In fact, the opposite is happening as different jurisdictions respond to perceived regulatory gaps in different ways and at different times.”

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