Home / Blog /

Where’s your transparency bar set?

In reading this post, please keep its age in mind.

Directors of ‘Christian’ charities, after hundreds of reviews of ‘Christian’ charities, permit us an observation:  stop being smug about your compliance with the charity regulator’s requirements.  Why?  Because it’s a low bar for transparency.  And compliance with a low bar is nothing to crow about.  In fact, if that’s all you are doing in the way of helping your stakeholders to understand what you are doing, how you operate, and what you have achieved, then we’d recommend saying nothing. 


If you are merely compliant with the regulator’s requirements, then your accountability to donors and others is sorely lacking.  (It is transparency that enables accountability.)


For the ACNC’s requirements are a low bar even against ‘best practice’ for secular charities.  So, first step up to that level before you defend what you do.


For instance, the ACNC allows you to submit your annual statement (including your financial report) up to six months after your year end (and has shown a willingness to give all charities an extension).  Timeliness is one of the key aspects of transparency, and there is no way that taking anywhere near six months is being transparent.


And please, take no comfort from the fact that ofttimes the secular law is all that many of your stakeholders expect.  Prepare for the time when they become educated and want more.  Better still, educate them yourself.  (The marketplace for the donor dollar is competitive, so you are unlikely to lose, especially in the longer term.)


And even if that education doesn’t happen, then do the right thing by them and educate them yourself.


Once you are matching what the best in the secular world are doing, then ask what God might require of you.  Highly likely you will have to ‘step up’ again.