Last week, I joined our team of directors for a planning day focusing on the ACNC’s priorities for 2019. It was a valuable session, designed to define our goals for the coming financial year and discuss areas of improvement across the organisation. You will see the outcomes of this discussion published as corporate priorities and goals in our annual Corporate Plan – a key part of an Australian Government agency’s planning cycle.

Each time I meet with our senior leadership group, I am reminded of the professionalism, knowledge and dedication we have within this organisation.

And that dedication is what most outside of the ACNC do not see.

The level of staff engagement at the ACNC is strong. We are an independent government regulator, staffed by a committed group of public servants, and together, we are getting on with the job of regulating charities.

First webinar for 2019 coming soon

The ACNC’s first webinar for 2019 is scheduled for Wednesday 13 February. Chris and Heath will be discussing the key factors charities need to consider before providing gifts or honorariums to volunteers, staff or their members.

This webinar will be particularly relevant to organisations like RSLs, surf lifesaving clubs and community groups that have many members or volunteers. The webinar will help charities and their board or committee members understand their responsibilities, as well as the implications of any decision to provide a gift or honorarium.

Visit our website to register: acnc.gov.au/webinars.

2017 Annual Information Statement data analysis now available

As part of the ACNC’s data integrity strategy, our Reporting team annually reviews the financial information provided by charities in Annual Information Statements and annual financial reports. The analysis of the 2017 reporting period has now been published on the ACNC website. Throughout the project, the ACNC contacted 747 charities with identified errors. Corrections to financial data resulted in adjustments of:

  • 51,484 full-time equivalent staff
  • $20.7 billion in total revenue
  • $670 million in total assets

Our team also reviewed more than 150 annual financial reports submitted by medium and large charities to ensure they met ACNC reporting requirements. Where necessary, charities were contacted to ensure material errors in financial reports were corrected. We hope that by publishing the findings of our analysis, accuracy of reporting in the 2018 Annual Information Statement will improve. To that end, we also have guidance and a checklist to help charities complete and submit their 2018 Annual Information Statement acnc.gov.au/2018AIS.

As a reminder, most charities usually report their Annual Information Statement by 31 January each year. This year I have exercised my discretion to extend the due date to 31 March to allow for additional time to access and navigate the new Charity Portal.

For information on how to log into the new Charity Portal for the first time, visit acnc.gov.au/charityportal.

Donor survey

We have engaged DiUS to assist us in scoping a new project to help connect donors and charities. We hope to enhance the search function of the Charity Register – the searchable database of charities. The answers to the current ‘activities’ questions in the Annual Information Statement are published on the Charity Register, however, they do not provide scope for an accurate explanation of activities.

DiUS are looking at all facets of the project, including the needs and expectations of donors. We have launched a short 5-minute survey to gain some insights. We are also inviting respondents to participate in further research with the ACNC and DiUS as part of the project.

If you are interested in getting involved, please complete our survey via SurveyMonkey.

Best wishes

The Hon. Dr Gary Johns