Before starting a charity there are many things to consider. Demonstrating what your organisation aims to achieve, its charitable purpose, is critical.

Your organisation’s purpose is what it has been set up to achieve – its mission. To be eligible to be registered as a charity it must only have a charitable purpose that benefits the public.

The ACNC registers thousands of new charities every year, however, there are some common errors that applicants make. Here are some tips to help your organisation demonstrate its charitable purpose or mission.

Make sure your organisation:

  • is clear about its activities to support its charitable purpose
  • has a governing document such as a constitution that states its purpose
  • has a current ABN
  • has an ABN that is correct for its legal structure, for example a trust, incorporated association or co-operative (Individuals, sole traders, government entities and partnerships cannot be registered charities)
  • provides the name and details of its Responsible People, such as the CEO, board members or trustees, and
  • complies with the External Conduct Standards if it operates overseas.

If also applying to be registered as a charity sub-type (such as promoting human rights or advancing the natural environment) make sure your organisation’s governing document reflects that sub-type.

If applying for the sub-types of Public Benevolent Institution or Health Promotion Charity and your organisation was only recently established, develop a strategic plan that sets out what it will be doing in the next 12 months.

If your organisation is registered as a charity, it will be included on the Charity Register, allowing donors, supporters and volunteers to find you. The Register now has enhanced search features, to allow people to search for charities offering particular kinds of programs, in particular locations.