It is Charity Fraud Awareness week, an annual, international campaign that aims to stop charity fraud.

As we start to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic a key theme of the campaign is that it is more important than ever for the sector to come together, share resources and stop charity fraud in its tracks.

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns said all charities can be vulnerable to fraud.

“In 2020-21 we received approximately 2,000 concerns about charities. The most common concerns were about individuals obtaining private benefits from charities or perceived mismanagement of funds,” he said

“Charities are not immune to fraud. With billions of dollars being generated in revenue each year, charities that do not have adequate financial and governance controls are vulnerable to fraudsters.”

Dr Johns said it is more effective to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, than it is to investigate and take action afterwards.

“We always encourage charities to develop an anti-fraud culture from the very beginning. Charities and sector stakeholders can participate in the week by following the campaign on social media and sharing useful resources under the hashtag #StopCharityFraud.

The ACNC provides many resources to equip charities to increase awareness and to implement measures to prevent fraud. The resources are of value to everyone involved in the sector including directors, board members, trustees, staff and volunteers, as well as accountants, auditors and solicitors acting as professional advisors. The ACNC Governance Toolkit includes resources to help charities manage risks including financial abuse, cybersecurity and working with partners.

The ACNC is proud to support and promote Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2021, taking place from 18 to 22 October. Stay tuned to ACNC Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the week as we share resources, and register for our free panel discussion webinar exploring charity fraud that will be held on Wednesday 20 October.

Deloitte Australia Director, Financial Advisory Oliver May will join us to present the webinar. It will look at different aspects of charity fraud, the threats it can pose and practical ways your charity can guard against it.