We had occasion to look up a couple of ACT churches on the ACNC register recently. What we found was interesting. And made us wonder. So in no time we had a spreadsheet full of information. An Advanced Search for all charities with an ACT address, a status of ‘Active Registered’, and the ‘Charity Entity sub-type ‘Advancement of Religion’, gave us the additional information of the ABN, name, town/suburb, and postcode. For 255 charities. We then looked up every 5th one and recorded whether
- the 2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS 2013) had been lodged
- there was a red ‘Overdue by 7 months’ message
- the AIS 2014 had been lodged
- it was a Basic Religious Charity
- there were Responsible Persons recorded
- a governing document had been lodged, and, via the ABN
- the charity was incorporated.
Additionally, for all charities with a name beginning with an A through to the Canberra Korean Church we recorded items 1 and 2 above. The sample for this information was therefore 119 charities (and included our own record).
Here are the results:
- 55% had no ‘governing document’ (normally a constitution)
- 27% were blank under the heading ‘Responsible Persons’
- 27% had only one person under this heading. (The circumstances where only one responsible person would be correct are very limited.)
- If the above two results were in any way due to the absence of an AIS 2013, this would only explain 1/5th of them.
- 18%, although incorporated, and therefore ineligible to be a Basic Religious Charity, had a ‘Yes’ in this box.
- Even with the extra three months the ACNC allowed for the AIS 2013, 10% had a red ‘Overdue by 7 months’ message
- Only 4% had lodged their AIS 2014. (The majority are due by the end of this month.)
- 2% were not required to submit an AIS 2013 (because they started not long before the end of 2013-14). (We are one of these charities.)
- 25% were not incorporated but were not recorded as a Basic Religious Charity. (It is possible that such a charity was ineligible on other grounds, although with religious bodies this would explain only a few, at most, of these cases.)
If you think that charities advancing religion in the ACT would be reasonably representative of such charities Australia wide, and I can’t immediately see why they wouldn’t be, then you have the state of the entire database for this sub-type.
As for an extension of the results to the entire 60,000 odd database? I’ll leave that to you to decide.