Fundraising reform – Why it’s different this time
11 March 2020 at 4:49 pm
Katherine Raskob, chief executive officer of the Fundraising Institute Australia, explains why she believes fundraising reform may really be on the horizon.
Call me an optimist, but with the federal government’s response to the ACNC review last Friday, and its restated commitment to fundraising red tape reform, I believe one final push will get us over the line by the end of this year. I for one will be putting my shoulder to the task over the next 10 months.
Behind the scenes (I can assure you) the wheels are in motion. Here’s what’s happening.
As FIA predicted, improvements in technology are making it easier for interstate sharing of data. It will mean that the tedious process of registering fundraising campaigns in each state will likely come to an end, replaced by a seamless, one-stop platform that all the states can access to find out who is fundraising in their jurisdiction.
Just as important, there is active collaboration among government officials across all states in an effort to unpick the knot of overlapping and inconsistent state regulations. This effort takes time and it takes a willingness to cooperate, which hasn’t always been evident in the past.
What is different this time around is that governments are finally getting to grips with the borderless nature of new web-based and social media. They have realised that, to be effective in this new age, regulation needs to be borderless as well.
Of course, not all states are moving ahead at the same speed. State officials need to be assured that if they loosen the regulatory bindings, fundraisers won’t go off track. That is where strict adherence to FIA’s Code comes into play.
There has been broad uptake of the FIA Code including training in the code’s tenets, over the past 18 months. Compliance monitoring of the sector, both charities and their suppliers, is ongoing and it is reminding people of their ethical responsibilities. Right now mystery shoppers are gathering data on the behaviour of fundraisers across a broad range of charities. They are reporting that activity to the independent Code Authority. This monitoring is systematic and ongoing. If evidence of unethical conduct is found, the authority has several options available to sanction those involved.
FIA will be providing confidential briefings to regulators in every state over the coming months to demonstrate the effectiveness of these measures and to reassure them that fundraisers can be trusted to do the right thing, given these new freedoms.
Australia can be a world leader in regulatory collaboration between government and the not-for-profit fundraisers, with donors and beneficiaries as the real winners.