Not-for-profit organisations

A not-for-profit organisation is an organisation that operates without the aim of making profit for its owners or members. Instead, the money raised by the organisation is directed towards the organisation’s aims and objectives

LawRight is able to assist not-for-profit organisations where those organisations face a specific legal problem, for example, negotiating entry into a contract.

LawRight is unable to assist not-for-profit organisations to resolve internal disputes, for example disputes between members, directors and/or committee members. LawRight is also unable to assist not-for-profit organisations which are in dispute with one or more other not-for-profit organisations. We are unable to assist in these cases as it is not our position to judge in which individual or organisation’s case the public interest lies.

LawRight prioritises free legal help to those organisations which have charitable purposes, address individual and community disadvantage and serve a wide group of people. We generally cannot assist sporting organisations, religious organisations and corporate foundations but may be able to assist with a specific legal problem where there is legal merit in doing so and securing a resolution of the problem is in the public interest.

If you are seeking to establish a not-for-profit organisation, please refer to the resources below prior to submitting an application for pro bono assistance to LawRight. Often, people wishing to establish not-for-profit organisations can do so without legal representation so we will only refer these applicants in limited circumstances. If you do apply to LawRight for assistance to establish a not-for-profit organisation, please address the points below in your application.

Eligibility for assistance

LawRight will be unlikely to assist people seeking legal help to establish a not-for-profit organisation unless they are able to demonstrate that they have considered the following:

  • The aim and purpose of the organisation;
  • The method in which the organisation will be managed or run;
  • The main activities or services the organisation will provide;
  • The short and long term funding requirements of the organisation and how these requirements will be met;
  • Whether existing groups, organisations or charities and relevant stakeholders support the establishment of a new organisation;
  • The skills the applicants have in managing a not-for-profit organisation;
  • The skills or expertise the applicants have in the proposed area of operation; and
  • That all other available external resources (as outlined below) for setting up not-for-profit organisations have been exhausted.

External resources

Relevant legislation

  • Corporation Acts 2001 (Cth) – This Act contains provisions in relation to corporations, securities and financial products and services.

Where to go for help

  • Office of Fair Trading – The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for registering incorporated associations, charities and cooperatives in Queensland.
  • The Australian Taxation Office – The ATO administers the process for having your organisation endorsed as a deductible gift recipient (DGR). The ATO website explains what a DGR endorsement is and how you can obtain it for your organisation.
  • Community Door – Community Door has lots of information online to assist you to establish and manage your organisation.
  • Not-for-profit-Law – Not-for-profit Law is operated by Justice Connect. The Not-for-profit Law website can guide you through the process of establishing and managing your organisation. Not-for-profit Law has information that applies nationally as well as information specific to Queensland.
  • You may wish to approach a community legal centre for assistance. To find your nearest community legal centre, please visit the Community Legal Centres Queensland website at . There are a number of community legal centres throughout Queensland that hold regular advice sessions.


The information in this resource is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact LawRight or another lawyer. LawRight can only give advice to people who are eligible for our services.