It has been a pleasure this week to travel through beautiful country Victoria to spend some time meeting with local charities in Mildura, Shepparton and Echuca.

Around one-third of Australian charities are based in regional or remote areas – and it’s fantastic to see first-hand the impact they have in their local community.

I would like to thank Leading Aged Services Australia for the opportunity to speak to your members in country Victoria, and to those registered charities who hosted me for a cuppa and a chat.

My next chance to hear about the work of our charities will be my visit to Western Sydney, which I am very much looking forward to. If you’d like me to visit your neck of the woods, to discuss the local charity sector in your community, send our team an email at communications@acnc.gov.au.

Commissioner Gary Johns meets with Fiona Smolenaars and Lisa McKenzie from the Lighthouse Project, Shepparton

Pictured: Meeting with Fiona Smolenaars and Lisa McKenzie from the Lighthouse Project, Shepparton.

2017 Annual Information Statement due soon for thousands of charities

The deadline for submissions of the 2017 Annual Information Statement is just a few days away for many charities.

Thank you to the vast majority of charities that have already completed their 2017 Annual Information Statement – the information you submitted is now displayed on the ACNC Charity Register, providing invaluable data for donors, volunteers and members of the public.

For those who have yet to submit, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Submitting an Annual Information Statement each year is a requirement of maintaining registration with the ACNC – and charities that fail to do so risk receiving a red mark on their Charity Register listing, financial penalties, and ultimately revocation of charity status.

We have a range of resources available to help charities complete their Annual Information Statements – including a step-by-step guide, how-to videos, a checklist and webinars. Visit acnc.gov.au/2017AIS for more information.

If your charity is ready to submit its 2017 Annual Information Statement, log into the ACNC Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au.

Give safely this end of financial year

There will be many Australians giving to charity over the coming days, as the financial year draws to a close.

If you are considering donating to a charity, please give safely. You can search the ACNC Charity Register to determine if a charity is registered and up-to-date with their reporting – simply visit acnc.gov.au/findacharity.

If you are looking to claim a tax deduction for giving to a charity in this financial year, you will need to confirm that the charity is a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). Information about a charity’s tax concessions, including their DGR status, is available from the Australian Business Register. Just click on the charity’s ABN in the Charity Register to find out more.

Looking for more information about giving safely? Watch our recent webinar on the topic of giving to legitimate charities – the video and presentation are now available at acnc.gov.au/webinars. You can also find a factsheet providing advice for donors on the ACNC website.

Latest edition of ACNC Quarterly now available

The June edition of the ACNC Quarterly newsletter is now available. Issued to the email address listed as the Address for Service (AFS) for each registered charity, the newsletter contains important updates, advice and resources for charities.

If you are the contact person for a registered charity but haven’t received your copy of the ACNC Quarterly, you may want to double-check the AFS listed for your charity. The most convenient and efficient way to make sure you don’t miss important messages and notifications from the ACNC is to provide an email address as your charity’s AFS.

We use a charity’s AFS to share important communications – including reminders to submit your Annual Information Statement, and news about the upcoming IT upgrade project that may impact your charity.

If you need to update the AFS for your charity, visit the ACNC Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au.

Applications for Australian Aid: Friendship Grants now open

Does your charity provide support or run programs overseas? The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) have now opened applications for Australian Aid: Friendship Grants.

Eligible organisations, including charities, can now apply for grants of $30,000 to $60,000 to expand or enhance their existing aid activities in the Indo-Pacific region, including through new projects.

Activities that may be funded include those which build on existing projects to sustainably improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people, which use successful or innovative approaches to problem solving that have potential for wider application, and activities that assist and strengthen an overseas community’s capacity or socio-economic situation.

Applications close Monday 27 August.

To find out more or register your interest, visit dfat.gov.au/FriendshipGrants.

Fundraising Institute of Australia appoints new CEO

I’d like to close this edition by congratulating Katherine Raskob on her appointment as CEO of the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA).

With extensive experience in marketing and communication across a range of commercial and not-for-profit entities, she will be a valuable addition to FIA and the wider charity sector.

Katherine joins FIA after 18 months with the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) as director of communications and customer experience, and her knowledge of member organisations is likely to be invaluable for the FIA.

I welcome her to the role and wish her well as she settles in.

Best Wishes

The Hon Dr Gary Johns

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