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The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has launched free online short courses to support good governance in the nation’s charity sector.

Acting ACNC Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said the new Governing Charities program comprises short courses designed to assist sector leadership and accountability.

“Helping charities to succeed is an important part of our work. If you are on the board or committee of a charity, or in another leadership role, the program will boost the skills and expertise you need to perform your role successfully and effectively. It will fill an important training gap and prove to be a valuable resource for charities,” Ms Jenkins said.

“Small organisations, which make up 65% of registered charities, will particularly benefit as the courses are free, flexible, comprehensive and self-paced.

“Good governance helps make sure the day-to-day work of a charity aligns with and contributes to achieving its purpose. Charity leaders who are aware of their obligations and proactively engage in oversight of their organisation position their charity for sustainability and success. Being ultimately responsible for managing an organisation’s finances, operations, staff and volunteers, it is critical to have the right skills and knowledge.”

There are eight courses available and plans to launch more in future. Topics covered include the duties of a board member, the board’s role in reputation management, fraud prevention, safeguarding vulnerable people that charities work with, financial reporting within an organisation, reporting obligations to the ACNC, managing conflicts of interest, effective complaints management, dealing with internal disputes, and complying with the ACNC’s External Conduct Standards for charities that operate overseas.

The free online program is designed to be flexible, accessible and self-paced. Each course takes from one to two hours, and a certificate can be downloaded on completion.

“A charity that is well-governed understands its purpose, ensures its activities align closely with its mission, provides the best possible outcomes for the people and causes it aims to assist – inspiring the confidence of donors and other supporters,” Ms Jenkins said.

Governing Charities short courses are available here.