ResultsMakinson & d’Apice 2012 NFP Survey Results

ACNC Still a Hot Topic

The new Not-For-Profit regulator,  the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission  (ACNC),  remains a hot topic across the sector.  With ramifications for every charity, community cause, and religious organisation, as well as the economy and the wider community, the new regulator has been on many people’s minds.

To gauge stakeholders’ views and provide a platform for NFPs and community organisations from across Australia to have their say on the ACNC and other issues affecting the sector, Makinson & d’Apice commissioned unbiased, independent research – and the results are now in!

Makinson & d’Apice Partner, Bill d’Apice, said “This was a big investment again this year on our part for the benefit of the NFP sector.”

Wide interest was confirmed when hundreds responded with detailed comments and opinions on how they see the NFP landscape and what they expect from the new regulator, the ACNC. Complete anonymity meant responses were candid, without fear of identification.

Bill d’Apice commented “It is interesting to see how different constituencies responded.  There are some widely divergent views.”

“Our analysis shows which bodies are the most optimistic, however each group has identified a series of specific positives and negatives in terms of impacts on their own organisations and for the wider community.”

Bill d’Apice continued “Two thirds of respondents believe there will be considerable benefit to the NFP sector as a whole in getting to a national framework for fundraising compliance.”

Almost half of the sector sees significant continuing fundraising compliance burdens arising from different state regimes in operation unless a national regime can be established. Similarly, many respondents were sceptical that the ACNC could achieve one of its stated intentions: to reduce compliance costs and reporting burdens.

“We weren’t surprised that there is strong demand for further information and education for executives and managers of NFPs about the ACNC”, continued Bill d’Apice.  “Findings indicate that Government information is now much more important to NFP organisations than a year ago.  The sector needs, wants, and looks to Government for more and clearer information. The Commissioner of the ACNC has given every indication so far that the ACNC will make the provision of information to the sector and the general community a priority.”

Notably positive sentiment toward establishment of the ACNC has abated somewhat since the firm’s 2011 study.  “Our 2011 findings showed that about 5% of organisations expected negative effects from the advent of the ACNC, where now, around 15% see it negatively.”

The research indicates 75% of religious and educational institutions believe their own organisation is unlikely to benefit from a national sector framework, and respondents commented that the ACNC will not achieve the Commonwealth Government’s stated intention of streamlining administration of the NFP sector; rather, it will create a whole new level of compliance for a sector without the resources to respond.

Bill d’Apice said “While the ACNC has an objective of increasing public confidence in the sector, the research suggests the NFP sector does not think it will have any real impact on their supporter and donor base.”

He continued: “I am delighted that Makinson & d’Apice continues to invest in research to make a further contribution to informed debate.  We’ll be sharing research results with the sector and the community.”

A snapshot of the findings are available here.