An annual general meeting (AGM) is a meeting held once a year that all members of a charity are invited to attend. The purpose of an AGM is to give members a report on the charity’s activities and finances for the previous year, to allow time for members to ask questions, and to elect members of the charity’s governing body (such as its board or committee members).
Making changes at your AGM
Most charities will make changes through voting at their AGM. You must notify the ACNC if you make any changes to your charity’s:
- legal name
- responsible persons (people who are members of your charity's governing body including directors or committee members, or its trustees) – you need to let us know if someone takes on or finishes in the role of a responsible person, and
- governing documents (such as its constitution, rules or trust deed).
Small charities must notify the ACNC of these changes no later than 60 days after becoming aware of the change. For medium or large charities, the requirement is no later than 28 days after becoming aware of the change. Read more about the different sizes of charities.
The governance standards
To be and remain registered with the ACNC, all charities (except basic religious charities) must meet the ACNC governance standards. These are a set of core, minimum requirements that deal with the way your charity is governed (managed).
Holding your AGM is a good opportunity for you to make sure your responsible persons understand the governance standards and consider how your charity demonstrates that it is meeting these standards. For example, holding an AGM is one of the ways that your charity can demonstrate that it is accountable to its members, under governance standard two.
The standards also require registered charities to take reasonable steps to ensure that its board or committee members (responsible persons) are suitable for their roles (governance standard four) and that these people understand and are carrying out their duties (governance standard five).
Other legal obligations
Your charity may have obligations to other Commonwealth, state or territory government agencies in relation to holding an AGM. These requirements may cover areas such as:
- holding your AGM within a certain time period
- the matters that you must discuss at the meeting
- whether you have to provide notice to your members of the meeting and, if so, how much
- where the meeting must be
- who is eligible to attend and vote at the meeting.
You should check your charity’s rules and any legislation that applies to your charity to find out whether there are any requirements you need to follow. The information below provides details about the obligations your charity may have for holding an AGM.
Companies limited by guarantee
Since the establishment of the ACNC, the requirement for charities that are companies limited by guarantee to hold AGMs no longer applies and is replaced by governance standard two. This standard requires charities to be accountable to their members. This is a flexible, principle-based standard that allows charities to consider how best to be accountable to their members in their own particular circumstances.
Find out more about the obligations of companies limited by guarantee and the ACNC.
Find out more about Indigenous charities and the ACNC.
Different states and territories have different requirements relating to incorporated associations' AGMs. Check with your state or territory regulator for their current requirements.
The ACNC does not require unincorporated associations to hold AGMs. Some unincorporated associations may have rules which set out a requirement to hold an AGM. However, unincorporated associations must still meet the ACNC Governance Standards.
Governance Standard 2 requires charities to be accountable to their members. This is a flexible, principle-based standard that allows charities to consider how best to be accountable to their members in their own particular circumstances.