As we have already seen over the last few months, disasters, like the current bushfire disaster in Australia, bring out the generosity of many.

Charities may find themselves in an unfamiliar situation over the coming months – a sudden influx of donations and funds means they have greater capacity to provide assistance than ever before, but it can present challenges.

At this time, meeting the needs of the community is a key priority, but donors need confidence that their funds are helping those in need. Ensuring your charity has the right governance is crucial to managing donations effectively and ensuring accountability.

It is critical for a charity to have good policies and processes in place to manage and spend money, to monitor activities and to report to supporters and the ACNC.

If your charity has raised large sums of money, its financial reporting obligations could change. This means you should take action now to get advice and to ensure your charity will have all the information that will be required.

We appreciate the challenges that charities and the affected communities face. Rebuilding communities is a long-term project, and charities will need to plan for this at the same time as providing services now and meeting all of their obligations.

The ACNC is here to provide support to charities and we have ample guidance available on obligations, governance and record-keeping.

Through past experience we know about the pitfalls that can occur for charities that have rapid growth. To help, we will be providing more specific guidance to assist charities that are responding to the current disaster.

The ACNC will soon offer a webinar specifically for charities working on bushfire disaster relief. Further details will be announced in my column and shared across social media in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for these details if your charity is, or plans to, provide bushfire disaster relief.

Further extension for bushfire affected charities

I have used my discretion to issue a further blanket extension to all bushfire affected charities. The Annual Information Statements for these charities will now be due on 28 May 2020. This due date will be reflected on the individual charity records on the Charity Register in due course.

You can find out more information about the postcodes that have been granted the automatic extension here.

We will continue to update this list as necessary.

2019 Annual Information Statement

The last day to submit the 2018 Annual Information Statement for charities that operate on a standard financial year (from 1 July to 30 June) is fast approaching.

Charities have just over a week left to submit their 2019 Annual Information Statement.

As the due date approaches, the demand on the Charity Portal will increase. I encourage you to submit now to avoid the last-minute rush.

Read our guide to help you prepare to submit your Annual Information Statement.

Submit your Annual Information Statement via the Charity Portal.

Have your say

Fair Trading New South Wales is currently undertaking a public consultation in relation to their proposed Community Gaming Regulation 2020 which supports the Community Gaming Act 2018 (NSW).

This may have an impact on some charities in New South Wales.

The consultation is open for submission until 5:00pm (Syd/Melb time) on 7 February 2020.

You can find out more on Fair Trading’s website.

Webinars

Our first three webinar dates and topics for 2020 have been set. The topics and dates are:

How the ACNC investigates charities
19 February 2020

Your charity health check
25 March 2020

Advanced financial reporting for charities
22 April 2020

Find out more about our scheduled webinars and register your attendance via our website.

Best wishes,
The Hon Dr Gary Johns