Myth Busting: Advocacy is not charitable

Published 3 April 2023

There has been a myth for a long time that advocacy and charities don’t go together. It’s not true!

Charities are well placed to generate public debate, raise awareness, lobby decision makers, sign petitions and take part in protests. This kind of advocacy is charitable when it is clearly connected to your charitable purpose. Examples of advocacy that are charitable include:

  • protecting the environment by supporting restrictions on fossil fuels and a switch to sustainable sources of energy
  • preventing the suffering of animals by opposing research and testing that causes harm to animals
  • relieving poverty by supporting an increase in the minimum wage
  • protecting the environment by supporting increased funding for pest eradication
  • speaking up for people who need help accessing services or information
  • encouraging people to vote and participate in elections.

Your organisation may still be able to be registered as a charity, even if some of your advocacy isn’t charitable. In these cases, your organisation’s non-charitable advocacy must be ancillary. A purpose is ancillary if it is a small part of what your organisation does and is closely connected to your charitable purposes. You can find more information about advocacy on our website.