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An image of Sue Woodward AM

A very warm welcome to 2024!

The new year is a good time to take stock and think about what you need to do to get the basics right for your charity. The ACNC staff are back ready to help you.

What do you need to do?

Now is the time most charities are preparing to submit their Annual Information Statements, due on 31 January. This is also the time to make sure you have notified us of any changes, such as new people on your governing body (your directors or committee of management), changes made to your constitution, any change to your contact details or your charity’s address (where we send you important notices, what we call your ‘Address for Service’).

Why is this ‘housekeeping’ important? Every charity that gets these basic things right contributes to a more accurate public register of charities. Having an accurate Charity Register in turn gives the public (who donate money and volunteer their time) confidence; confidence that by dealing with a registered ACNC charity they are dealing with an organisation that has key governance and reporting in place.

The Charity Register shows details such your charity’s financial information, your key activities and programs, where you operate including overseas, and the names of the people who run it. People can see your governing document (constitution, rules or trust deed) and can look at what you have done over the time you have been registered with the ACNC. They can click through to your charity’s website and donate or see if they can use your services.

Remember people check the Charity Register in growing numbers, with over 8.6 million searches in the 2022-23 financial year alone. We ran our annual safe giving campaign in December and this helps continue to increase awareness and usage of the register, educating people to check the register before they donate to help avoid being scammed.

It’s not only the public who search our register - but also funders, grant makers and philanthropists. It’s the place journalists go when they want to tell a story about charities.

The combination of every charity’s reporting – of every Annual Information Statement that is lodged with us – is tallied up in our annual Australian Charities Report. This year will be our tenth report and work is already underway to make it a special one.

The Australian Charities Report helps researchers and policy makers as well as charities because it shows annual summaries and longer-term trends in revenue, donations, volunteers, size, activities and much more. Better data means better informed public policy, which supports the work of the sector.

I hope this summary helps you understand how many bigger things flow from the basics of good charity housekeeping!

Finally, I would like to acknowledge those impacted by the terrible floods and fires in recent weeks. I recognise, and thank, charities working in these affected areas. We understand that you may be struggling to service increased demand so your normal ACNC reporting is not the top priority (we can give you extra time). We are also ready to assist by prioritising registration applications for organisations wishing to provide disaster relief and providing reporting extensions for charities impacted by disasters.

I look forward to continuing our work together in the year ahead.

Warm regards,

Sue Woodward AM