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New Analysis of National Charities

2 June 2015 at 10:22 am
Lina Caneva
Ninety per cent of Australian charities operate in only one state, according to an analysis of the latest ACNC data.

Lina Caneva | 2 June 2015 at 10:22 am


New Analysis of National Charities
2 June 2015 at 10:22 am

Ninety per cent of Australian charities operate in only one state, according to an analysis of the latest ACNC data.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has released an information sheet on national charities using data from the first Annual Information Statements (AIS) filed with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

The analysis, conducted by Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Marie Crittall, found that only 3.9 per cent of registered charities could be considered “national” because of they operate in six or more states or territories, while 90 per cent, or 39,923, operated in only one state or territory.

The research also found that more than 70 per cent of national charities are based in NSW (40 per cent) or Victoria (31 per cent).

It found that national charities are less likely to operate in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, with only 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent of national charities residing in those areas.

“A question for further investigation is whether the Northern Territory and Tasmania which have challenges with community disadvantage are also disadvantaged by having fewer national charities engaging in their jurisdictions?” the report said.

The report found that national charities have a greater regulatory burden than non-national charities.

“Slightly more than a quarter (26.5%) of national charities chose to report on whether they had reporting requirements to Commonwealth agencies,” it said.

“This is a greater percentage reporting this information than non-national charities where 14.3% provided information on such reporting requirements.”

Charities were also assessed on where they operate overseas, with a large majority found to be operating in New Zealand.

“Over one-third of national charities operate in New Zealand,” the report said.

“The next highest overseas location is the USA (17.6%), followed by Papua New Guinea (16.2%), Indonesia (14.7%) and the UK (13.7%).

“The close relations with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are probably accounted for by their geographic proximity and our history. Our continued strong cultural links with the USA and UK also play a part in the results.”

The authors of the report said that with a common argument being made that during Government funding rounds there is a preference to fund organisations or coalitions of organisations with a large geographic footprint, the ACNC data would provide a baseline to determine if national organisations are becoming more numerous as well as larger in size.

“The ACNC AIS data provides us with the first step towards a greater understanding of national charities and their role in Australian society,” the authors said.

“The data represents an initial benchmark for a time series of data which will be useful in tracking the changing nature of national charities and their activities.

“For researchers, it also provides a sample frame or list for future surveys of national charities in order to provide more accurate answers to issues facing charities and their beneficiaries.

“It also raises a host of questions to investigate further and test against some of the theories proposed about the nature and prevalence of nonprofit organisations in a nation.

“For policy makers, the data starts to fill in the gaps in critical information about the regulation of national charities.

“The purposes and activities of national charities which may inform plans to use them as intermediaries in grant funding are also becoming clearer.”

The full report can be downloaded here.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.


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