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Archived: Sydney Diocesan Secretariat breaks the mould for the CMA Standards Council

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Although its ’Give Confidently Directory’[1] has yet to be updated, in mid-December the CMA Standards Council announced its accreditation of two new ‘partners’[2]:

This brings the number of ‘partners’ to 12[3].

Sydney Diocesan Secretariat[4] (SDS), a Basic Religious Charity, is unique in this group of charities in at least two ways:

  1. It is the first partner that has no need of what is touted as the biggest advantage of accreditation: a listing in the ‘Give Confidently Directory’, a listing that is designed to encourage you to give either your time or money (particularly the latter) to that charity rather than one that is not in the list[5].
  2. It is the first charity accredited that is not a ‘Foundation Partner’.


The mission of the CMA Standards Council (CMASC) is ‘to help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes’ (emphasis in original). Most of the benefits, and the main practical benefit of accreditation[6], have to do with the ability to raise money (and secondarily, labour) from the public:

SDS, however, needs neither:

It has a sizeable income [‘SDS Annual Financial Report, their website], but not a dollar from donors:

And neither an invitation to give nor volunteer on the website.

Not a ‘Foundation Partner’

The Council does not explain why Sydney Diocesan Services is a ‘Partner’ whereas each of the other ‘partners’ are a ‘Foundation Partner’. There is no distinction in the fees, nor in the ‘Accreditation Terms’. In fact, nowhere on the website is the distinction explained.

A Fair Exchange?

It appears that SDS doesn’t need to tout for business:

So, it is paying $4,785 p.a. for the right to display the Standards Council’s seal to show these customers[7] that it is committed to ‘maintaining best practice standards of governance’.

Whether that’s a good deal remains to be seen.




  1. A defined term: http://www.cmasc.net.au/terms.
  2. http://www.cmasc.net.au/get-accredited-2/accreditation-overview.
  3. The scheme has been operating since November 2017.
  4. The website address on the ACNC Register is out-of-date.
  5. Eternity, December 2018, page 12:
  6. This is seen by the Council as the principal advantage of the seal that ‘partners’ are allowed to display:
  7. That this is the audience intended is shown by the location of the fact of their accreditation under the heading ‘Our services’: