Following your charity’s rules is important, but they have to work for your charity. Sometimes it will be necessary to change the rules to support new ways of doing things or to improve governance structures. Whatever the reason, making changes to your charity's rules is a significant decision. There are some things to keep in mind when going through this process.

What to do

  • Work out what changes need to be made to your charity's rules before you begin the process of making changes. If you are going to make changes, it might be a good time to update your charity's rules generally.
  • Check requirements for making changes to your charity's rules. The rules themselves may set requirements for making changes or there might be legislation that sets certain requirements. For example, your charity may be required to provide 21 days notice to its members about the meeting at which a change will be considered.
  • Follow any other requirements of the legislation that apply to your charity. These may involve completing and lodging forms or other documents with a relevant state or federal regulator. There may be a fee for making changes. Find out more from the regulator that incorporated your charity. If it is a company limited by guarantee, the regulator is ASIC; if it is an incorporated association, it is the state or territory regulator.
  • Notify the ACNC of a change to your charity's rules within the required time period. There is no fee for this.
  • Changing your charity's rules can be a simple task, especially if the changes are only minor, but sometimes even small changes can lead to issues. If you are unsure about the change, consider seeking professional advice.

What not to do

  • Be careful not to accidentally make a change that may result in your charity no longer being entitled to registration as a charity. For example, changing your charity's purposes to include a non-charitable purpose. Similarly, if your charity's not-for-profit clause or dissolution clause in its rules change, it may affect its entitlement to registration as a charity.
  • Do not leave rule changes too late and risk delaying your charity’s plans. Remember that rules often set notice periods and the charity's Responsible People and its members will need time to discuss and agree on the change.