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Practical Tools Not Just Education


Wednesday, 2nd August 2017 at 2:14 pm
Rachel McFadden, Journalist
To ease some of the governance stress on small charities and reduce red tape, practical tools, as well as education, would make all the difference, a Melbourne audience has heard.


Wednesday, 2nd August 2017
at 2:14 pm
Rachel McFadden, Journalist


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Practical Tools Not Just Education
Wednesday, 2nd August 2017 at 2:14 pm

To ease some of the governance stress on small charities and reduce red tape, practical tools, as well as education, would make all the difference, a Melbourne audience has heard.

Speaking on a panel on red tape reduction at the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (CLAAZN) conference in Melbourne on Friday, lawyer Sue Woodward called on the government to design and provide small charities with governance software, free of charge.

Woodward, the director of national projects, not-for-profit law at Justice Connect and leader of #fixfundraisingcampaign told Pro Bono News there was still much to done to reduce red tape for charities.

“There are still three main areas where there is a lot of overlap: fundraising, tax and privacy laws,” Woodward said.

Woodward said Justice Connect received 1700 inquires every year from “overwhelmed”  small charities trying to get their heads around different state and commonwealth regulations and laws.

“Accountancy standards are [also] still a big issue that hasn’t been resolved.

“[Within] an accountancy standard a charity could have come up with an administration ratio as low as 26 per cent or as high as 67 per cent using the same figures,” Woodward said.

Speaking on a panel discussion with ACNC assistant commissioner David Locke, Woodward put forward some “practical suggestions for the next stage of the ACNC”.

“Of course education is great, but sometimes a practical tool is better,” Woodward said.

She said there was potential in the ACNC’s charity passport to significantly reduce duplication for charities.

Woodward also called on the government to design a “simple” software tool for charities where they could enter all their data once and then in turn, charities could agree for that data to be shared.

“There should be some ability for the government to design some sort of simple package that could be made freely available to small not-for-profit organisations.

“So they can enter their data once with the ACNC and then, with their consent, it can be shared with all the government agencies they need to report to via the charity passport.

Woodward said the government should provide this for free for all small charities.

“If you are a small charity with an annual revenue of less than $50,000, spending something like $8,000 on software is a big ask.”

Woodward said a “simple software” program could have help boxes and guidance for charities as inputted their data.

“I think there is scope for such a simple software to help out small organisations and improve their governance,” she said.


Rachel McFadden  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Rachel is a journalist specialising in the social sector.

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