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Standard fact sheet.

The quick guide to charitable fundraising 

Who needs a charitable fundraising authority? 

Any person or organisation that conducts fundraising appeals for charitable purposes and receives more than $15,000 (gross) in a financial year from these appeals must hold a fundraising authority. There are exemptions, such as for religious organisations.

Organisation's charitable purpose 

All appeals must be conducted for a charitable purpose. The Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission’s website provides examples of charitable purposes.

If submitting an application for an authority to fundraise, a statement of the charitable objects of an organisation’s fundraising appeal is required to be submitted with the application.

Organisation's details 

An applicant must include a registered NSW office address on their application. Depending on the organisational structure, a copy of the constitution, trust deed or certificate of registration or corporation is also required to be submitted with an application. For a parent organisation, associated branches, auxiliaries and subsidiaries can be included on its authority to fundraise. To do this, complete the branch proforma in excel format available on the Fair Trading website, and attach to the application.

If an organisation is intending to remunerate (or is currently remunerating) members of a governing body, written approval is required.

Fit and proper persons test 

Those responsible for holding an authority to fundraise and administering an appeal (for example, CEO or governing body members) will be subject to an assessment including a criminal record check and bankruptcy check.

Auditor details 

An annual audit report of accounts is required where more than $250,000 gross is received from any fundraising appeals in a financial year. The audit report must state that the authority holder is compliant with the financial obligations of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, the regulations and the conditions of the authority.

Appeals conducted by a 'trader' 

If conducting an appeal with a ‘trader’, a written agreement and period for which the trader is authorised to conduct the appeal(s), and the type of appeal(s) is required.

Ratio of expenses 

Expenses payable in respect to a fundraising appeal (without the supply of goods or services) must not exceed 50 per cent of the gross income obtained.

Renewing a charitable fundraising authority 

An organisation (including any board of trustees or other body of people, whether incorporated or unincorporated) is to maintain annual financial records during the term of the fundraising authority and provide them at time of renewal. This includes:

  • 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.

If the organisation’s aggregate gross income obtained from any fundraising appeals exceeds $100,000, the following information as notes accompanying the income statement and balance sheet is to be provided:

  • details of the accounting principles/methods adopted for the financial statements
  • information on any material matter or occurrence, including those of an adverse nature such as for an operating loss from fundraising appeals, or net surplus, and how they were applied
  • details of aggregate gross income/aggregate direct expenditure in which traders were engaged
  • 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)
  • the name and position held by each recipient.

The organisation’s annual financial accounts are to also include a declaration by a responsible member of the governing body with regards to fundraising appeals stating:

  • the income statement gives true and fair view of all income/expenditure of the organisation
  • the balance sheet gives a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the organisation
  • the provisions of the Act, the regulations under the Act and the conditions attached to the authority have been complied with by the organisation
  • the internal controls exercised by the organisation are appropriate and effective in accounting for all income received and applied by the organisation from any of its fundraising appeals.

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