AICD Senior Policy Adviser Lucas Ryan provides an update on the #fixfundraising campaign’s progress towards addressing the urgent need for fundraising reform.
As a leading partner in the campaign to #fixfundraising, the AICD has been continuing to advocate for the establishment of a nationally-consistent and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime for charities and not-for-profits. We propose a simple way to provide a better framework for fundraising – clarifying the application of the Australian Consumer Law and repealing existing inconsistent and out of date state and territory regimes.
This work builds on the joint statement released by the AICD together with not-for-profit peak bodies, professional associations and professional advisers released in September of 2016.
Open letter on fundraising reform
The AICD has joined over 150 organisations that have signed an open letter calling on governments to address the urgent need for fundraising reform, recognising the historic opportunity presented by the review of the Australian Consumer Law.
The letter, which includes a number of household name charities such as Mission Australia, Wold Vision and Save the Children, is another step along the road to fundraising reform. It highlights in particular the enormous social and economic contribution made by the not-for-profit sector, and the significant drain on resources caused to fundraisers having to meet the requirements of seven different fundraising regimes, amounting to tens of millions of dollars in productivity losses annually.
The letter was provided to the prime minister, premiers and chief ministers on 5 April.
You can show your support for the campaign by adding your organisation’s name to the list of signatories to the open letter.
To launch the open letter on fundraising reform, on Wednesday 5 of April, leaders from charities across Australia gathered together to explore the challenges of the current fragmented fundraising regime and how the sector can work together to achieve much-needed reform.
The forum was attended by Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs the Hon. Marlene Kairouze MP and federal shadow minister for charities and not-for-profits, the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP. Federal minister the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP, who has responsibility for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, provided a video message to open the forum.
The event coincided with the release of the open letter on fundraising reform which was presented publicly at the forum.
Release of the ACL report
Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand have provided consumer affairs ministers, through the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs, with the Australian Consumer Law Final Report (the final report).
The review, to which the AICD has provided a formal submission, prioritised consideration of fundraising reform in its interim report, largely owing to the combined advocacy efforts of the #fixfundraising coalition.
The final report recommends that regulators “clarify through regulator guidance the current application of the ACL to the activities of charities, not-for-profit entities and fundraisers.”
While regulatory guidance is welcomed, it will not go far enough to provide certainty to the sector (and to state and territory governments) of the broad and effective application of the ACL to fundraising activities.
The review also recommends that an assessment of any regulatory guidance be considered in a follow-up review commencing in 2019-20, at which point legislative amendment to the ACL will again be considered.
This is a disappointing outcome for not-for-profits, as while the final report notes the significant advocacy by the sector to amend the ACL, its proposed alternative will not assist in red tape reduction for not-for-profits.
However, the recommendations of the final report are not necessarily the course of action that consumer affairs ministers must take. The AICD, together with its partners in the #fixfundraising coalition, will continue to advocate for more substantive reform to the ACL to reduce red tape for charities and provide the nationally-consistent and fit-for-purpose regulatory regime that the not-for-profit sector needs.
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