Charitable donations – a guide for consumers

Five easy steps to maximising the impact of your charitable donation

Every charity has a purpose. But how do you know that your donation is having a positive impact on that charitable purpose? The Government has come up with these five easy steps to help you answer this question.

1. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation
Charities licensed in South Australia are required under the Code of Practice to disclose:

  • Whether a collector is a volunteer or paid
  • The collector’s name or unique identifier
  • The name of the licensed charity and/or collection agent

2. Ask to see the disclosure information sheet
Charities licensed in South Australia are required to have an information sheet outlining key information including contact details, purpose of funds collected and information about collection agreements and policies.
A face-to-face collector should be able to provide you with this information sheet. Telephone collectors and websites should also be able to direct you to a copy of the information sheet accessible from the charity’s website.

3. Check the organisations name and charitable status
There are many charitable organisations. Some you may or may not have heard of. The first step is to check to see whether they are licensed or registered. Charities may appear on one or both of the following charitable organisation registers:

A special warning about online campaigns
There are online scammers that may pretend to be a charity or steal the identity of a licensed charity to scam money from you. To be safe, you can confirm the charity’s official website address on one of the registers above. Avoid sending your personal information by e-mail, wiring money to a person you do not know, or donating money via a link contained in e-mail.

4. Find out about the charity
First-hand information about the work of a charity, either because the donor volunteers or has received services from the charity, can provide confidence. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to do some additional research about a charity, especially if you are contemplating a larger donation. Both the South Australian Government Charities website and the ACNC register are great starting points.

The South Australian Government Charities website provides useful information about the amounts collected by the charity, the cost of collection and the amount available to the charitable purpose. While the ACNC register provides comprehensive details of the charity including office holders, governing documents and audited financial reports.

The ACNC has prepared some fact sheets that can help you learn more about the charity:

5. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to contact the charity! Often some direct questions will give you the answers that provide you with confidence to donate.Often donors giving large amounts may want to specify exactly how it is used or want to have regular reports from the charity. While many charities may wish to meet these requirements, be aware that special requirements involve charities using resources that would otherwise be applied to the charitable purpose.