Today the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) announced that, for the very first time, the financial information of over 23,000 registered charities is available to the public.
Members of the public can access the financial information registered charities have provided to the ACNC as part of their 2014 Annual Information Statement on the Charity Register – Australia’s first free, searchable, online database of charities.
As part of the 2014 Annual Information Statement, charities of all sizes were required to provide financial information, with medium and large charities also providing reviewed or audited financial reports.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, stated that the purpose of publishing charities’ financial information on the Charity Register was to increase transparency.
“To date, the Charity Register has received over half-a-million views, highlighting that it is indeed a useful and popular resource amongst donors,” Ms Pascoe said.
“For the first time members of the public have been able to search a register to see if a charity is indeed registered, and then find out what it does, where it operates, the people who run it, the rules it needs to follow, and now, its financial information.
“While we encourage the public and donors to use the Charity Register as a resource to help them make informed giving decisions, it is also important to understand how to interpret the information available.
“With this in mind, our team has published a new factsheet on interpreting the financial information on the Charity Register.
“The factsheet, available at acnc.gov.au/understandingfinancialinfo, discusses the different financial elements we collect, the factors to consider when interpreting financial information, and also why we collect and publish this information.
“Comparing charities’ financial information will be of interest to some donors and members of the public, however there are a number of factors that need to be considered, and the factsheet covers a number of these.
The understanding financial information factsheet builds on earlier work by the ACNC in conjunction with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and social impact analyst Emma Tomkinson.
“Administration costs have always been a point of interest for donors and researchers,” Ms Pascoe said.
“Our work with QUT’s Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies aims to explain administration costs and why they are not a comprehensive or reliable measure of a charity’s work and its outcomes.
“Instead we encourage members of the public and donors to consider charity impact – the changes the charity has produced in an individual or community through its work – alongside an assessment of its governance and financial management.
“All three factsheets are available on the ACNC website, acnc.gov.au, and I encourage donors to consider this information when giving.”
To search the ACNC Charity Register, visit acnc.gov.au/findacharity.
- Understanding financial information on the Register.
- Charities and administration costs, produced jointly by the ACNC and the Queensland University of Technology.
- Understanding Charity Impact, produced jointly by the ACNC and Emma Tomkinson.
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