Snapshot: One year on

Since we opened on 3 December 2012, the ACNC has registered 1643 charities. On our first birthday, we have analysed the information charities have given us when they registered to gain an understanding of our newest registered charities. We’ve previously undertaken analysis of the first 250 and 1000 charities we have registered. While it’s still very soon to talk about trends in the sector, we can gain some early insights and are starting to see some repeat findings.

An infographic showing statistics on the charities the ACNC has registered in it's first year of operation

View the data snapshot image as data tables.

What do our newest charities do?

Education remains the most commonly nominated purpose of new charities, followed by the relief of poverty.

When they register, charities can nominate more than one charitable purpose. So far, charities most commonly nominate one charitable purpose, with 80% nominating one or two.

Not surprisingly given the data on the charitable purpose, the most commonly undertaken activity by new charities is education, selected by 54% of new charities. The next most common activity is ‘social and community welfare’, selected by 40% of new charities, followed by ‘distribution of money and goods’ (what is sometimes called material aid) as the third most common activity. These were also the three most commonly-undertaken activities in our earlier analysis of the first 1000 charities registered.

In terms of the number of different types of activities undertaken, twenty-four percent of new charities nominated one activity, and a further 44% indicated that they conduct between two and four. These numbers are similar to those seen in our analysis of the first 250 and 1000 charities registered.

Who do charities help?

Combined, ‘children’ and ‘young people’ are the most commonly nominated beneficiary group, chosen by 973 (out of 1643) charities. The ‘general community in Australia’ was second, nominated by 839 charities.


To summarise, the top groups are:

  • Children and young people
  • General community in Australia
  • Women
  • People with disabilities
  • Men.

These have consistently remained the top five beneficiary groups.

New charities most commonly nominated one beneficiary group (27%). Thirty percent indicated between two and four beneficiary groups, with the average number of beneficiary groups being four.

Where are they based?

The majority of new charities are based in New South Wales, followed by Victoria and Queensland, with 1.5% in Tasmania. The distribution of new charities has remained steady all year.

Interestingly, the proportion of new charities that operate nationally continues to drop. Thirty percent of charities registered in the last year operate nationally, compared to 38% of the first 250 and 35% of the first 1000. Over half of the newly registered charities operate in just one state.

Twelve percent of the newly registered charities conduct activities overseas, which is a slight decrease from the first 250 charities registered, of which 16% operate overseas.

How big are they?

Eighty percent of newly registered charities are classified as ‘small’, meaning that their annual income is under $250,000. The remaining 20% is split evenly between medium and large charities. This trend has remained steady all year.

Donations from the public are core to enabling charities to undertake their work. Seventy-seven percent of new charities indicated that they receive some of their income from donations and 53% generating income from other fundraising activities.

Twenty-eight percent of newly registered charities indicated that some of their income derives from government grants.

How many board members do they have?

The most common number of board members is three, and the average number is five. The largest board of a newly registered charity has 40 members.

How long have they been operating?

Thirty-eight percent of newly registered charities were established in 2013.

A further 32% were established between 2010 and 2012. Six are over a century old.