How to give safely this holiday season

20 December 2013


Australians who are feeling generous this festive season can feel more confident than ever that their money is going to legitimate charities.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Register is a free, online database that the public can search before donating.

With holiday shopping at fever pitch, those who are out and about can even check the ACNC Register quickly and easily on their smart phones, by visiting

Organisations that appear on the register have been thoroughly checked for good financial management and governance standards by the ACNC, the national regulator of charities.

“Time and time again, Australians have shown themselves to be the world’s most generous donors to charity,” said ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM.

“It’s great that the ACNC Register can safeguard all that goodwill from potential misuse,” she added.

The ACNC Register was launched on 11 July 2013, and has already attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors in its first few months.

“The popularity of the ACNC Register shows us that there’s definitely an appetite for this information out there,” the Commissioner said.

“While – on the whole – the charity sector is made up of good people with honest intentions, it’s encouraging to see that Australians do proactively check that they’re money is going to where they would like it to,” she said.

In addition to searching by name the Register also enables you to search for a registered charity by state or territory, or by beneficiary.

There are other precautions that can help donors feel confident that they’re giving to legitimate organisations, for example:

If you are approached in the street or at home by someone claiming to be collecting donations on behalf of a legitimate cause or charity here are some simple tips to make sure that your donation goes where you intend:

Always ask for identification from door to door and street fundraising collectors

If contacted by phone ask for a return phone number before you consider providing any personal, credit card or online account details

Ask for a receipt. Make sure it has the charity’s details on it including an ABN

Do not provide your personal, credit card or online account details unless you know it is a trusted source

Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails - delete them

If you think that there is something wrong contact the charity directly and alert them of your concerns.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also has plenty of useful information about scams on its website,


Interviews available on request