Raise a concern about a charity

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) takes concerns about registered charities seriously. We review all concerns raised with us, investigate where appropriate and refer concerns to other agencies if needed.

Contact the charity first

Before you raise a concern with ACNC about a registered charity, you might be able to resolve it through speaking with the charity directly. Most charities welcome feedback and are prepared to consider issues raised without the ACNC needing to be involved. Search the ACNC Register to find the charity’s contact details.

Attention - Important information!If you represent a charity, and would like to advise the ACNC of an issue within your charity, such as your charity providing wrong information or not telling us of a change of responsible people, please contact us.

ACNC powers to investigate

The ACNC has the power to investigate and will be particularly concerned where it is alleged that a charity:

The ACNC will assess the level of risk when deciding what action to take.

When the ACNC will act

Generally, ACNC will only act on concerns where:

  • there is a serious risk to public trust and confidence in the sector, AND
  • they relate to a charity's compliance with requirements of the ACNC Act.

Areas the ACNC does not have responsibility for

The ACNC does not have the power to investigate every concern that is raised, particularly where the concern is outside our area of regulatory responsibility. Examples of some of these are below.

  • Internal disputes
    This includes disagreements between committee members within a charity, which are not a serious risk or do not breach the ACNC Act. In some states and territories there are free mediation services that may be able to help you resolve problems, such as the Victorian Dispute Settlement Centre. Find out more about dealing with internal disputes.
  • Contracts a charity has with other organisations or individuals
    This includes tenders and purchases. Other government departments and agencies often look at this issue.
  • Quality of services a charity provides
    The agency you need to contact to raise a concern will be different, depending on the services being provided. For example, if you have concerns about how a charity provides health services you can contact your state or territory Health Services Commission.
  • Policies or actions of boards or directors that are within their powers
    If responsible persons (board or committee members, or trustees) are using their powers as set out in the charity’s governing documents, and the charity is ensuring that they are following their duties under the ACNC’s governance standards, then the ACNC has no power to investigate.
  • Employment issues such as unfair dismissal
    Often you can raise these kinds of concerns with the Fair Work Commission.

Find out more in our policy statement on raising a concern about a charity.

How to raise a concern about a charity with us

If you decide to raise an issue with us, you can:

If you are not sure whether we have the power to look into your concern, contact us and we will be able to discuss your concern with you. If we are unable to assist, we may be able to refer you to another agency that has responsibility for dealing with the issue.

Please note that there is no specific protection for whistleblowers under the ACNC Act. However, if you wish to raise a concern, you are entitled to do this anonymously or using a pseudonym, where reasonable. Find out more about this in our privacy policy.