Charitable Giving in Australia Not Wasted – ACNC Commissioner
24 May 2016 at 3:46 pm
Mainstream media suggestions that the number of charities in Australia is undermining charitable giving has raised the ire of the charity commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM.
“Australia actually has fewer charities per capita than Canada, England and Wales, the USA, Scotland, and New Zealand,” Pascoe said in her regular Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) column.
“Some commentators disapprovingly quote the ACNC’s data that 10 new charities are registered each day. What they fail to follow up with is that a similar number voluntarily deregister.”
“When one considers the vast size of Australia’s continent, the distribution of population and breadth of services provided by the sector, the headline figures about the number of charities makes sense.”
Pascoe said the fact is that since the ACNC was created in December 2012, some 8,500 charities have been registered, and over 13,500 charities have had their status revoked during this period.
Susan Pascoe took aim at the Australian Financial Review which quoted JBWere chief executive Justin Greiner as saying the “wealthiest Australians could be giving billions more to charity but with 10 new charitable groups created each day, the sector is undermining its own cause”.
“I’m always impressed by the dedication and selflessness exhibited by the Australian charity sector. They are adept at achieving great results with very limited resources, so I was particularly disappointed to see a headline [on Tuesday] that suggested that charitable giving in Australia is being wasted,” Pascoe said.
“I do not support this caricature of the Not for Profit sector, nor is it supported by the evidence gathered by the ACNC through the comprehensive reporting regime.”
She said the key findings from the 2014 Australian Charities Report showed that four out of five charities engage volunteers and nearly half (44 per cent) are run solely by volunteers.
It found that the majority (64 per cent) of registered charities are small, with annual revenue of less than $250,000, one-third of registered charities are considered micro, with annual revenue of less than $50,000 and most charities operate with a balanced budget with a surplus or deficit of no more than 20 per cent of their total income.
“I encourage everyone to base their views about the sector on evidence, as I do, and to continue to support the amazing charities that we have in Australia, either financially, with your time as a volunteer, or through positive commentary if you have a public voice,” Pascoe said.