Improvements to national charity register to better connect volunteers and donors

By Melissa Coade

March 10, 2022

Gary Johns
Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Dr Gary Johns. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has revamped the searchability of its charity register, enhancing the way donors and volunteers can connect with their preferred organisation. 

The new platform was launched at an event in Melbourne last week, with sector leaders and representatives from some of the communities they serve.

Commissioner Dr Gary Johns said the register now allowed users to search for charities based on cause and location.

“Donors, philanthropists, grant-makers and volunteers can now use the register to find a cause close to their heart, while charities can use it to connect with each other,” Johns said. 

Jack Heath, the CEO of Philanthropy Australia, said the platform was an innovation for the sector that would help groups like his own achieve philanthropic funding targets.

“The register is a valuable tool in our quest to lift philanthropic giving to better support Australians in need,” Heath said.

The benefits also apply to charities looking to collaborate with other organisations, and GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant noted that groups who wanted to collaborate to meet the needs of vulnerable people would be able to connect through the new platform. GIVIT works with about 4,300 charities and organisations. 

“Since we began, over 4.5 million essential items have been donated by everyday Australians. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with charities through the enhanced ACNC Charity Register,” Tennant said.

Tanarra Philanthropic Advisors CEO Lisa Kingman said the platform would help other like groups better understand the ecosystem they were working in. This would help charities map out a better strategic path and identify differentiating features.

“We’ve provided pro bono advice to hundreds of charities. We ask their boards to identify who is doing complementary or similar work, as it’s important to understand where you fit,” Kingman said.

“In the main, charities have tiny marketing budgets so broadening awareness is a continual challenge. COVID has forced a rethink of traditional fundraising events. It makes good sense to seek out like-minded organisations and collaborate,” she said.


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