Home Fundraising What the Law says about Individual Fundraising and Complaint

What the Law says about Individual Fundraising and Complaint

by Abbey


Individual Fundraising for personal gain or profit is illegal in many countries. But there is an exemption, if you have a genuine reason or a good product you are selling in other to get a donation from donors it is not illegal, that means the money you received must go to the “cause” for which you are trying to raise the funds. The ultimate goal of a fundraiser should be for non-profit assistance to other people/cause, not for yourself and that is what is legal under the law.

Fundraising for a specific individual is not considered to be charitable fundraising, since the public at large does not benefit. Therefore, it is not subject to the registration and filing requirements imposed on charitable organizations.

Fundraising laws vary from state to state; if you’re considering raising funds for yourself, find out more information about your state’s laws. You can also set up a personal fundraising page in which you can legally fund raise for yourself or family, you may also qualify for a Back-to-Work Grant program up to $1,000.00, depending on your monthly rental or mortgage payment.

Depending on your country or state, there may be a limit to how much money you can raise for a cause or project as an individual. If you are not associated with a a business or non-profit organization, the limit is about $25,000 in the USA (depending on where you live). It is very important to get in touch with a registered non-profit that will be spending the money and coordinate with them, in order for the donations to be tax-deductible for the donors and not incur tax for you as an individual.

Best tips and Advice:

This are the important things for you to know:


  • Open a separate account for the donations.
  • Register as a non-profit.
  • If you can’t register you can also work with a non-profit or church that supports your efforts.
  • Before going on a campaign you need to check with the state directly, or with a qualified local accountant, to make sure you are staying within the proper regulations for your state.
  • Avoid making false claims in your solicitations.
  • It is a criminal offence if a professional fundraiser fails to make an appropriate fundraising statement.
  • Never Fundraising for personal gain or profit.
  • Fundraising laws vary from state to state and countries. The Uk fundraising law will definitively be different from the laws in Scotland.
  • There must always be transparency for donors about the proportion of their donation going to fundraising costs.

Other Things you need to know:

In other to raise funds for personal and medical reasons you can also make use of crowdfunding platforms. Most of the platforms will charge you anywhere between 5–10% of the amount you are trying to raise. You can try to create awareness for your campaigns by using social media, forums,
churches, NGO and other means to promote and get across to all the people you know. The primary source of your fundraising will be people you already know, these are the individuals who have an emotional investment in your well being.

If you are collecting cash donations in public, or want to sell things to benefit of your charity, you will need to comply with a licensing regime dating from 1916 for street collections and from 1939 for house to house collections.

The collections for charity held on private property used by the public – such as stations, shopping centers and supermarket car parks – are generally not caught by the current regime, but you should get permission from the owner of the property before going ahead. You can read more by checking out the theguardian.com Questions and Answers on Charity fundraising and law here

Face-to-face street fundraisers are usually employed by a professional fundraising organisation and are required by law to make a fundraising statement. At the moment, no licence is needed, unless they are operating door-to-door. So when face-to face fundraising on the streets you don’t need a licence but any business paid by your charity to raise money must have a written agreement that contains certain elements, each time they ask for money they must state that they are fundraising for your charity.

Questions and Answers:

Question: Can I legally fundraise for myself or my family?
Yes depending on the laws in your country it is legal. Your ultimate goal as an individual should be for non profit assistance to other people/cause and not for your own personal gain or profit.

Question: How can i know about the Fundraising laws in my country or state ?
The fundraising laws vary from state to state and countries, it is beyond the scope of this article. Check with your state directly, or with a qualified local accountant, you can also choose a charity in advance and partner with them just to make sure you are staying within the proper regulations for your state.

Question: Is there a limit to how much i can raise as an individual?
There is always a limit to how much an individual can raise if they are not associated with a church, business or non-profit organization depending on the state.

Question: Do i need to get in touch with a non-profit?
Depending on where you live and how you are raising the money, getting in touch with a registered Non-profit or church that will help you coordinate your personal fundraising will help make the the donations to be tax-deductible for the donors and also for you not to have to pay taxes on the money as income.

Question: Do i need to be registered as a non-profit?
No, it is not necessary. Alternately, you can work with a non-profit or church that supports your efforts to guide you and make the process easier for you.

Concerns, Report and Complaint About face-to-face fundraising issues:

In the UK Members of the public who wish to complain should generally contact the PFRA. For example, the public fundraising regulatory association (PFRA) is the United Kingdom and Australia wide self-regulatory body for organisations involved in face-to-face fundraising in public places. The role of the PFRA is to make sure that the right balance is maintained between the duty of charities to ask for donations and the right of the public to experience high standards of behavior from our members’ fundraisers.

If a member of the public is unhappy about how the PFRA has handled a complaint, further appeal may be made to the fundraising standards board (FRSB). The FRSB self-regulates fundraising generally across the UK.

Note: The former self-regulatory body, the FRSB, regulated charity fundraising from 2006 to 2016. It has since been replaced by the new Fundraising Regulator.
Please direct your queries to the new regulator’s website, which includes an archive of all investigations and adjudications undertaken by the Fundraising Standards Board from 2006 to 2016, as well as its annual Complaints Report.
Any complaints you might have about charity fundraising should be directed to the charity concerned or the new regulator directly at www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk

The Fundraising Regulator is the independent regulator of charitable fundraising. We were established following the Etherington review of fundraising self-regulation (2015) to strengthen the system of charity regulation and restore public trust in fundraising.

Check out the PFRA Official website in Australia Here
Check out the PFRA Official website in the United Kingdom Here

Other parties liable to take an interest and who may respond to concerns about face-to-face fundraising include the Charity Commission, the relevant local authority, Office of Fair Trading (OFT), town centre managers, local business partnerships and, in extreme situations, the police.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland:

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own separate regimes for licensing street and house-to-house collections. In Scotland, new regulations issued in July introduced similar but not identical
requirements to England and Wales for paid fundraisers to make statements and to have written agreements with the charities they are collecting for.

External resources and credits:

https://www.pfra.org.au/ ( in Australia)
http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/home/ (in UK)
How Face to Face fundraising works
The Fundraising Regulator
Charity fundraising and law

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