National Regulator Weighs in On Fake Charities
18 July 2014 at 12:26 pm
Breast Cancer Network Australia and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have warned of for-profit companies, with names similar to those of well-known charities, posing as charities to the public.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) Chief Executive Officer Maxine Morand said she was very concerned that one organisation that was not a registered charity had a near identical name to BCNA.
“The work that BCNA and so many other hardworking charities do is underpinned by community support and the generosity of donors,” Morand said.
“We are extremely concerned that members of the public may be under the impression that they are giving a tax-deductible donation to us or another reputable breast cancer charity when they are in fact supporting an organisation that is not a registered charity.”
Morand said she was disappointed by any behaviour that undermined the reputation of the charity sector.
“People donate because they want to make a real difference so it’s important that they have confidence that their money is really going to support a cause they want to help,” she said.
The ACNC said that although it only regulated registered charities, the Commission worked with state regulators who had jurisdiction to act when for-profit companies were intentionally misleading the public by impersonating genuine charities.
ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said the organisations may sound and behave like charities, but in fact were not registered charities and may not have state fundraising licences.
“In some cases the organisations will ask for donations face-to-face or over the phone, in other cases they may run businesses using donated clothing,” Pascoe said.
“The best way to check whether you are supporting a registered charity is to search the ACNC’s Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity.”
There are more than 60,000 registered charities in Australia. All registered charities are required to report to the ACNC and meet certain standards.
To search the ACNC Register, click here.