Fundraising Information for Sub-Branches

This information was originally provided with a cover letter, which can be downloaded here.

Please note: The following information relates only to fundraising by a sub-Branch for their own activities. The guidelines do not apply to donations or other contributions made by members, or the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals that are run every year by RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institution (RSL WBI) trading as RSL DefenceCare. Information on fundraising for the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals is distributed before each Appeal and sub-Branches choosing to participate in the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals will need to follow the specific instructions for those Appeals.

What is Fundraising?

In general, the following types of activities are fundraising:

  • accepting donations (whether requested or received unsolicited) to help a person, cause or organisation (whether in person, by post, by phone or online),
  • selling goods (merchandise/tokens/food) where some or all of profits will go towards helping a person, cause or organisation,
  • holding an event to raise money for a person, cause or organisation,
  • accepting a benefit other than money (whether requested or received unsolicited) for a person, cause or organisation,

where these activities involve members of the public. Representations you make that money or benefits will be used to help a person, cause or organisation can be express or implied.

Examples of the kinds of activities described above could include:

  • receiving a cheque in the mail from a local business for the purpose of funding an ANZAC Day lunch, or simply to put towards a sub-Branch’s activities (whether or not you have requested it);
  • selling tokens to or holding a sausage sizzle or cake stall in the local community;
  • running a trivia night, auction, dinner dance or other event for members of the public to attend for the purpose of raising money for the sub-Branch;
  • accepting goods (for example, sausages for a sausage sizzle to be served at a sub-Branch lunch) from a local business.

In NSW, fundraising is governed by the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 and regulated and administered by Fair Trading (NSW). If your fundraising activity includes a lottery or game of chance, it is also governed by Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 and regulated and administered by Fair Trading (NSW). Games of chance include, raffles, bingo, sweepstakes and other forms of community gaming.

How do I Start Fundraising?

If you are intending to fundraise in NSW, you must:

  • Determine whether you need to hold a charitable fundraising authority (CFA), a type of NSW government licence issued by NSW Fair Trading for charitable fundraising. If so, the CFA will list conditions specific to your fundraising activity, that must be met. If you do not anticipate receiving more than $15,000 gross in any financial year (or any other amount which the charitable fundraising regulation may provide), you are likely to be exempt from the requirement to hold a CFA but not from the obligation to comply with the Charitable Fundraising Act and the Charitable Fundraising Regulation.
  • Understand and comply with fundraising laws in other states (if your fundraising activity is likely to go beyond NSW).
  • Understand your obligations under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 and the Charitable Fundraising Regulation 2015.
  • Understand any other legal obligations or requirements of the fundraising activity being conducted.

Examples of things you may need to have in place include:

  • A designated bank account to clearly identify fundraising income received from each individual fundraising appeal.
  • Be able to issue receipts to donors.
  • To be able to clearly show donations have been spent on the specific purpose for which they were given.

This list is not exhaustive and if you have any questions about your charitable fundraising obligations, you should seek advice. Specifics of what you will need to do to meet your legal requirements will be determined by your own circumstances, and you will need to make sure you fully understand your obligations.

Information Sources

NSW Fair Trading, Tel: 13 32 20, or website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/charitable-fundraising
This webpage provides a guide (which NSW Fair Trading has advised is to be updated this year).

Not for Profit Law website www.nfplaw.org.au/fundraising and a Guide to Fundraising is available at www.nfplaw.org.au/sites/default/files/media/Guide_to_Fundraising_NSW_1.pdf

Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1991/69

Charitable Fundraising Regulation 2015 https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2015/511

Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1901/34

Weblinks provided are current, as of May 2019.