Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the ACNC’s quarterly Advisory Board meeting in Perth. Our visit to Western Australia also gave us the opportunity to meet with sector leaders to discuss issues they are facing in the not-for-profit space – we thank you for your time, and for sharing your insights into your own organisations, and the wider not-for-profit sector.

Scam warning for registered charities

Last week we issued a warning to charities after receiving information about a potential scam, offering donations to registered charities in Australia.

The scam email, from an organisation called “International Strategic of the EU” falsely claimed to be in consultation with the ACNC to raise funds as a donation for charities. The email asks charities to provide detailed contact information in order to allow for a payment to be made.

More information about the scam, including what to look out for, can be found on our website.

Our guide, Protecting your charity from fraud, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch website both have more information to help your charity protect itself from scams and other financial crimes.

Red tape reduction progresses in ACT

The ACNC continues to engage in fruitful discussions with officials across Commonwealth and state and territory governments to reduce red tape for registered charities. Significant progress has been made throughout the country, with legislative changes in Tasmania, South Australia, and more recently, Victoria.

As regular readers of this column will know, legislation is currently before the Legislative Assembly in the ACT that will significantly reduce red tape for hundreds of registered charities.

The key features of the proposed amendments are to remove duplicative reporting requirements, and also allow registered charities to fundraise in the ACT without seeking additional approval.

These are all steps in the right direction, and I applaud the ACT government’s commitment to red tape reduction for the charity sector.

The legislation is expected to be debated in June, and will hopefully be enacted shortly after, providing benefits to ACT charities as early as July 2017.

This week our Director of Reporting and Red Tape Reduction, Mel Yates, is visiting Canberra to meet with the ACT government and local charities to discuss the proposed regulatory reforms.

The roundtable meeting, co-hosted with the ACT Government, provides us with a great opportunity to discuss how the changes will be implemented and communicated if the new legislation passes.

For more information about the proposed changes, please visit the ACT Government website.

I am confident that announcements of partnership with other jurisdictions are not far away, perhaps as soon as my next Commissioner’s Column. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about our red tape reduction progress, visit acnc.gov.au/redtapereduction.

NFP Governance and Performance study – survey now available

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is seeking submissions for the eighth annual NFP Governance and Performance Study. This report is consistently an excellent addition to the growing body of research focused on Australia’s dynamic not-for-profit sector.

This year’s study will focus on some new areas, including the role of culture in an NFP context and its relationship to organisational performance. The report will also consider how NFP boards manage and identify risk, and the attitudes that NFP directors take towards risk in their roles.

The AICD are seeking responses from those who are either a non-executive director of an NFP, or a senior executive employed by an NFP who reports to the board. Take part in the survey here.

Upcoming webinar – Tuesday May 23

The ACNC’s next free webinar will be held at midday on Tuesday 23 May,.

The webinar, titled Running a charity, will look at the role of the board, responsible persons, and will have a particular focus on the ACNC’s Governance Standards and other good governance principles.

If you want to know more about your obligations to the ACNC now that you're registered, as well as other elements involved in running a charity, don't miss this webinar. You can sign up for free at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

If you do take the time to watch or participate in one of our webinars, we’d appreciate your feedback. After each webinar there is a link to complete a short survey, or you can always email our education and guidance team directly at education@acnc.gov.au.

Download your Registered Charity Tick today

In the lead-up to the end of the financial year, the ACNC is undertaking a project to encourage the general public to donate safely and with confidence prior to tax time – this project will include increasing awareness of the ACNC’s Registered Charity Tick, and encourage donors to learn more about a charity’s operations by visiting their ACNC Charity Register listing.

The Registered Charity Tick is your way of showing donors and the public, at a glance, that your organisation is a registered charity and complies with the ACNC’s governance standards. More than 8,000 registered charities have downloaded their Registered Charity Tick since its release in December 2016.

If you are a registered charity and would like to download your Registered Charity Tick, simply log in to the Charity Portal.

For more information about the Registered Charity Tick, including the terms and conditions and style guide, visit acnc.gov.au/registeredcharitytick.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM