Welcome to the Summer 2017 issue of the ACNC newsletter, ACNC Quarterly.

ACNC Quarterly is your source of information about the ACNC and tools to help your charity meet its obligations to the ACNC.

From the Commissioner

Many will still be enjoying their summer holidays when this edition of ACNC Quarterly arrives in their inbox. No matter when you read this, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Before I mention the priorities for 2017, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of 2016. The highlight of 2016 came on 4 March, when the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, and the then Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced the decision of the Turnbull Government to retain the ACNC. This has provided the charity sector with certainty and stability.

The decision was the catalyst for significant red tape reduction in 2016. Last year both the Tasmanian and South Australian Parliaments passed legislation that will reduce the reporting burden for registered charities in those states, with the South Australian legislation taking effect on 1 December 2016. We hope that this momentum will continue in 2017.

In 2016, the ACNC welcomed three new Advisory Board members, including the new Chair, Mr Tony Stuart. Tony brings with him a great deal of experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, and is currently the CEO of UNICEF Australia. The other new members who joined ongoing members Ms Fiona McLeay, Ms Gina Anderson and Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes were Mr Martin Laverty, CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and Professor David Gilchrist, Director of the Curtin University’s Not-for-profit Initiative. You can read more about our Advisory Board, including meeting summaries, at acnc.gov.au/advisoryboard.

Another major milestone in 2016 was the launch of the ACNC’s Tick of Charity Registration, or Registered Charity Tick for short. Over the past four years registered charities have asked for a logo they can use to show their charity status, and I’m proud to say that in December 2016 we launched the simple, yet attractive, Registered Charity Tick.

The purpose of the Registered Charity Tick is to help donors and members of the public quickly and easily identify a charity registered with the ACNC, which our research shows increases trust in charities. I’m pleased to say that over 4,000 registered charities have logged into the Charity Portal and downloaded their Charity Tick already. It was a pleasure visiting Mission Australia’s
Surry Hills facility in Sydney to launch the new logo, where I presented Mission’s CEO, Catherine Yeomans, with a framed Registered Charity Tick.

We also launched the Australian Charities Report 2015 at Mission Australia on 14 December 2016. The Australian Charities Report is effectively a census of the sector which analyses the information charities provided in the Annual Information Statement and annual financial reports.

Looking ahead to 2017, we will continue to:

  • prioritise our work to reduce red tape for charities, building on the progress that was made in 2016,
  • work with charities to improve the quality of the information available to the public on the Charity Register through guidance, education and our data integrity project,
  • provide the sector and the public with high-quality research and analysis, and
  • investigate concerns about registered charities to ensure only charities meeting their obligations under the law remain registered.

Finally, thank you for your tireless efforts providing vital services to our communities in 2016. I look forward to seeing and hearing about the work of Australia’s charity sector in 2017.

Good wishes

Susan Pascoe AM signature
Susan Pascoe AM
ACNC Commissioner

The generosity of Australians – donations exceeding $11bn annually and approximately 3 million volunteers – is underpinned by the trust and confidence they have in the charity sector, particularly registered charities.

Our biennial Public Trust and Confidence survey shows that members of the public have even greater trust in charities when they know that the organisation is registered with, and regulated by, the ACNC. To help members of the public quickly and easily identify registered charities, we have introduced the Tick of Charity Registration, or Registered Charity Tick for short.

The Registered Charity Tick is a simple attractive logo that registered charities can use to show their charity status. By displaying the Registered Charity Tick, charities show that they are transparent, accountable and meet the ACNC’s governance standards and reporting requirements.

To date we have seen registered charities displaying their Registered Charity Tick on their websites, email signature blocks, donation receipts, letterheads, and fundraising materials, such as brochures and collection tins.

Although displaying the Registered Charity Tick is optional, more than 5,000 registered charities have already downloaded a copy, including household names such as CANTEEN, UNICEF Australia, Mission Australia, the McGrath Foundation, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. To download your charity’s Registered Charity Tick, simply:

  • log into the Charity Portal
  • check that your charity is up to date with its annual reporting
  • read and accept the terms and conditions.

For more information about the Registered Charity Tick visit acnc.gov.au/registeredcharitytick

If your charity uses the standard reporting period of 1 July to 30 June, you will need to submit its 2016 Annual Information Statement by 31 January 2017.

We have many resources to make the submission process easier for all registered charities, including a checklist, a draft worksheet and a question-by-question guide. Visit acnc.gov.au/2016AIS for more.

Submitting an Annual Information Statement each year is an obligation for every registered charity. This updates a charity’s listing on the Charity Register, and encourages transparency in the sector. It also provides information for the Australian Charities Report each year.

Failing to submit your charity’s Annual Information Statement may result in consequences which range from receiving a red mark on its Charity Register listing to receiving financial penalties or having its charity status revoked – and losing access to Commonwealth tax concessions. Avoid consequences by submitting your charity’s on time!

Charities had combined total income $134 billion:

  • 50.3% from other income and revenue, including sales, member fees and user pays
  • 41.4% from government grants
  • 8.3% from donations
    and bequests
  • Donations and bequests grew by 2.4% to $11.2 billion
  • 2.97 million volunteers 4out of 5 charities engage volunteers

Each year the ACNC produces the Australian Charities Report, an analysis of the information provided by charities through the Annual Information Statement.

The Australian Charities Report is an invaluable resource for policy-makers, academics, the media, and of course, the charity sector.

The 2015 edition is the third census of Australia’s charity sector, and the first that allows comparisons with past reports.

The key finding from the Australian Charities Report 2015 is undoubtedly the economic significance of the sector.

The report found that combined charity income grew by 2% to $134.5 billion, which is the equivalent of 8.3% of Australia’s GDP. By comparison, the charity sector has greater combined income than the energy, water and waste industry.

The charity sector continues to support the community by providing vital services, with the total value of these services reaching $120 billion in 2015.

We now also know that registered charities are one of Australia’s largest employers, second only to the retail industry. Registered charities employ 1.2 million people, which accounts for approximately 10% of Australia’s total workforce.

Four out of five registered charities engage volunteers, and nearly half of all registered charities (48%) are run solely by volunteers, with no paid staff at all. In total, nearly 3 million volunteers support registered charities.

The generosity of Australians is underscored by the report’s finding that in 2015, donations grew by 2.4% to $11.2 billion.

The Australian Charities Report 2015 was produced in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and included information from 51,000 registered charities.

To find out more and to explore the data, visit australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

From 1 January 2017, Victorian charities working with children will be required to meet Child Safe Standards as outlined by the State Government’s Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP).

As per the CCYP’s guidelines, organisations with responsibility for children will need to have in place:

  • child safe policies and codes of conduc
  • screening, supervision and training processes
  • processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • strategies to identify, reduce or remove risks of child abuse
  • strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children
  • inclusive approaches for children with a disability, Aboriginal children and children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Although the above guidelines apply specifically to organisations operating in Victoria, many charities around the country may benefit from reviewing their current internal policies on child safety and child protection. For more information, visit the CCYP’s website at ccyp.vic.gov.au.

Did you know that there’s a standard all organisations – including registered charities – have to follow when making telemarketing and research calls?

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) administers the Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard, and has reminded charities of the rules they must follow when conducting telemarketing. Registered charities are exempt from Do Not Call obligations, meaning they are allowed to conduct telemarketing to numbers on the Do Not Call Register. But they are subject to rules set out in the standard.

The standard covers:

  • when telemarketing calls are permitted,
  • when they must be terminated, and
  • what information must be given by the caller.

Callers must provide certain information to recipients, including the purpose of the call, who the telemarketing is on behalf of and, if requested, business contact details and the name of the telemarketing company involved.

ACMA recently concluding public consultations aimed at updating the standard, with possible changes to the rules coming into force as soon as April 1 2017. Get informed by visiting the ACMA website – acma.gov.au.

Calls must not be made at the following times:

Research callsTelemarketing calls


Before 9am or after 8pmBefore 9am or after 8pm


Before 9am or after 5pmBefore 9am or after 5pm


Before 9am or after 5pmCalls prohibited

National Public Holidays

Calls prohibitedCalls prohibited

We spoke to Kind Cuts for Kids about the work the charity does.

Firstly, what does your charity do?

The charity provides small teams of healthcare professionals for teaching visits to healthcare institutions in developing countries. During the missions dozens of children are operated on through clinics that are coordinated by lead surgeons in the country of need, and thousands of children have had surgery. Many surgeons, nurses, radiologists and others have benefitted from the education.

What challenges does your charity face and how do you overcome them?

As for all charities , the challenges are the need for funds and the seemingly endless opportunity for our teams to make a difference around the world.

What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?

The smiles on the face of the family members of children who have had successful surgery, and the friendships with the healthcare professionals who have been supported. There is no greater reward than the tears of joy from a parent who has just been told of successful major surgery, when they had thought there was no hope for a normal life for their child.

What tips do you have for charity governance?

Well-established rules of engagement within the Board, with committees and with those who seek the input of the charity mean that problems can be dealt with proactively. The rules should be underpinned by taking time to develop relationships.

Working with fundraising agencies

A guide for charities that use external agencies to conduct fundraising activities on their behalf. It looks at the risks involved in working with fundraising agencies, the responsibilities of the charity’s board and the steps that charities can take to protect their charity acnc.gov.au/FundraisingAgencies.

Fundraising: people in vulnerable circumstances

A guide to help charities engage responsibly with people in vulnerable circumstances when conducting fundraising activities acnc.gov.au/VulnerablePeople.

Maintaining reserves

A guide for charities about the importance of maintaining and spending reserves. This guide explains the importance of having funds in reserve, examines appropriate levels of reserves for charities, and highlights the risks charities face by not having funds in reserve acnc.gov.au/CharityReserves.

How-to videos

Our guide to completing the 2016 Annual Information Statement contains easy-to-follow, how-to videos for each section of the form. If you would like some assistance navigating the 2016 AIS form, we recommend you check out our videos in the guide acnc.gov.au/2016AIS.

Are there too many charities

A set of FAQs looking at common misconceptions about the number of charities in Australia. It examines the claims that thereare too many charities in Australia and provides commentary on the issue with an explanation of the nature of the charity sector and the work it does acnc.gov.au/TooManyCharities

Advice Services most frequently asked questions.

How can I reset my password for the ACNC Charity Portal?

The easiest way to reset your password is to go online at charity.acnc.gov.au. To do so, you will need your charity’s ABN and contact details, and you will need to answer some questions to confirm that you are authorised to reset the password.

How do I update the contact details for our existing responsible persons?

The best way to update the details of one of your charity’s responsible persons is to send the new details in an email to advice@acnc.gov.au. Once we receive them, we will update the details for you.

How can I check the due date of my Annual Information Statement?

You can see the due date of your Annual Information Statement (AIS) in the annual reporting section of your charity’s page on the Charity Register. You can also find it within the Charity Portal. There is more information about how reporting due dates are calculated at acnc.gov.au/ReportingDueDates.

How can I fix a mistake on my submitted Annual Information Statement?

Send an email to advice@acnc.gov.au to request that your submission be put back to ‘in progress’. Include your charity’s name, its ABN and the year of the statement that needs amending. Once it is set to ‘in progress’, you can fix the mistake and then submit it again.

Our monthly webinars are an important part of the ACNC’s efforts to foster and promote good governance in the charity sector, as well as help organisations fulfil their reporting and compliance obligations. The webinars address a variety of topics, including:

  • advice on running a charity
  • helping charity board members understand their duties
  • practical tips to help people complete their Annual Information Statements and fulfil their reporting requirements.

The first sessions for 2017 are:

  • 24 January - Completing the 2016 Annual Information Statement
  • 21 February - ACNC Compliance
  • 21 March - Helping P&C (Parents and Citizens) Associations
  • 18 April - The Australian Charities Report – findings and insights

Visit acnc.gov.au/webinars for a full 2017 webinar schedule, including information on how you can participate.