ACNC sector research

The ACNC’s research function

One of the ACNC’s functions is to improve public understanding of the work of charities and other not-for-profits. To do this we will make information available based on the data we collect regularly from registered charities.

We will also work closely with the existing research community to support research into not-for-profits and charities. This support may take the form of:

  • collaboration or assistance on research projects
  • identification of areas of research need
  • building and strengthening links between researchers, the charitable sector, and Australian Government agencies.

ACNC data

The ACNC collects data from charities when they register with us, update their details and file their Annual Information Statements. We may also collect data in the course of our own research activities. We recognise that this data is valuable to other researchers and to the sector, so are making subsets of it available for reuse. Visit our entry on, the central repository for Australian Government datasets, to access our published data.

ATO data

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) published Taxation Statistics for the years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. These statistics include data on many aspects of the taxation system, including information about charities. This includes information about:

  • claims for refundable franking credits
  • employees of tax concession charities
  • deductible gift recipients
  • private ancillary funds
  • gift deductions claimed by individuals

The data from the 2010-2011 Taxation Statistics, 2011-2012 Taxation Statistics and 2012-2013 taxation statistics is available for download from

ACNC/ ANZTSR early career research awards

The ACNC and ANZTSR are pleased to announce the winners of their early career research awards. Dr Angie Bletsas (SACOSS) and Dr Craig Furneaux (QUT) will be undertaking research projects with the support of the ACNC. Read more about our winners and their projects.

Read an update on Dr Bletsas’ research into the concept of independence in the NFP sector.

Join our research mailing list

The ACNC hosts a research network, which communicates regularly. It has members form academic and sector bodies. We provide updates on our activities, ask for the contribution of members to ACNC initiatives and share ideas about how to support research on the sector. To get involved, please contact us.

ACNC research publications

Ernst & Young’s Commonwealth Regulatory and Reporting Burdens research report

The ACNC engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to research the regulatory and reporting burden on charities. Their report focuses on the Commonwealth reporting burden faced by charities, but also considers the impact of state and territory reporting obligations. A significant finding is that Commonwealth funding agreement obligations impose a greater burden on charities than legislative obligations.

Read the EY Red Tape 2014 Report

Curtin Charities 2013 Report

This research by Curtin University’s Not-for-profit Initiative analysed data from more than 38 000 registered charities that had submitted their 2013 Annual Information Statements by 30 June 2014. This analysis provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based research into the charity sector of its kind. It provides a unique snapshot of charities’ activities, resourcing, operations and reporting burden at this point in time. We hope to build on this body of research over time, to allow us to track trends and provide a valuable resource to the community, researchers and policy-makers.

Read the Curtin Charities 2013 Report

2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS) - Feb 2014 data

Each year, registered charities file an Annual Information Statements with the ACNC. We've undertaken an analysis of the 2013 Annual Information Statements up to February 2014. The analysis shows the main activities that charities carry out, and who is helped by the work that charities do.

Read the analysis of Annual Information Statement data received as of February 2014

Snapshot: One year on

In its first year of operations, the ACNC registered 1643 charities. Building on the earlier snapshots we presented, we’ve undertaken analysis of the information provided by these newly registered charities in order to better understand how the sector is growing and changing.

Read the snapshot of the charities registered in our first year of operations

Snapshot: First 1000 charities registered by the ACNC

In the months since the ACNC was established, we've registered 1,000 charities. Our research team has analysed this sample and compared it to an earlier snapshot of 250 newly-registered organisations to gain insight into where and how Australia's not-for-profit sector is growing.

Read the snapshot of the first 1000 charities registered by the ACNC.

Snapshot: First 250 charities registered by the ACNC

One of the ACNC’s most important functions is to register new charities to enable them to receive tax concessions. By early April 2013, the ACNC had registered 250 charities. On average, registration took 10.5 days. The ACNC Act requires the Commissioner to have regard to the benefits gained from providing information to the public about not-for-profit entities (s 15-10(c)). Sharing key facts about our newest charities and publishing snapshots of the sector is part of the Commissioner’s fulfilment of this goal.

Read the report on the first 250 charities registered by the ACNC.

Not-for-profit reform and the Australian Government

The ACNC has prepared this summary of reforms concerning the not-for-profit sector that took place at the Commonwealth level between 2010 and 2013. It provides a background to the establishment of the ACNC.

Read or download Not-for-profit reform and the Australian Government (2010-2013).

Check back for more research publications as they are developed.

Research resources

View some research resources for the not-for-profit sector on our research resources page.