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Senate gives green light for fundraising regulatory committee

A Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century is set to be established following the senate’s approval

A select committee established to inquire and report on the current state of fundraising regulations in Australia has been given the green light by the Senate.

The Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century has been established in response to requests from national charities to improve fundraising regulations. The committee will look into the current frameworks guiding the sector and provide options for reform.

The committee was brought to the Senate on Tuesday by Labor Senator, Catryna Bilyk, after it was put forward by Senator Anthony Chisholm in May.

A statement from the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) said: “The whole tone, manner and content of Senator Chisholm’s proposal is different from the federal interventions of the past year which have resulted in more, not less, red tape.”

The institute commended Chisholm, adding: “From the terms of reference he has proposed it is clear that he really understands the issues facing fundraisers.”

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 nationally-consistent, contemporary and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime.”

Additionally, the committee will examine whether current fundraising laws meet the objectives that guide decisions to regulate donations, determine the donor-focused expectations and look into how Australian consumer laws should apply.

Following recent concerns over the foreign interference legislation, the committee will explore whether a “harmonised, contemporary fundraising regime could help in addressing concerns about the potential influence of foreign money on civil society and political debate in Australia.”

The committee will also look into whether the current fundraising framework creates “unnecessary problems for charities and organisations” that rely on donations.

The committee will address the following in the inquiry:

  1. Whether the current framework of fundraising regulation creates unnecessary problems for charities and organisations who rely on donations from Australian supporters

 

  1. Whether current fundraising laws meet the objectives that guided the decision to regulate donations

 

  1. Whether current fundraising compliance regimes allow charities to cultivate donor activity and make optimal use of resources donors provide

 

  1. The loss in productivity for the thousands of charities who try to meet the requirements of the seven different fundraising regimes

 

  1. Whether the current frameworks for investigation and enforcement are the best model for the contemporary fundraising environment

 

  1. How Federal, State and Territory Governments could work together to provide charities with a nationally-consistent, contemporary and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime

 

  1. The appropriate donor-focused expectations and requirements that should govern fundraising regulation in the 21st century

 

  1. How the Australian consumer law should apply to not-for-profit fundraising activities

 

  1. What are the best mechanisms to regulate third party fundraisers and to ensure the culture of third party fundraisers matches community perceptions of the clients they work with

 

  1. Whether a harmonised, contemporary fundraising regime could help in addressing concerns about the potential influence of foreign money on civil society and political debate in Australia

 

  1. The cost to the charity and not-for-profit sector, and the communities they serve, of postponing fundraising reform

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