Charities do wonderful work in Australia. The genuine ones should be applauded and I admire them immensely.
But don't be fooled. Not all not-for-profit charities operate without making a profit. They just can't be seen to withdraw it for private expenses outside the charity. But this profit can be drawn on in all sorts of clever ways including wages and capital improvements to part private interests.
A few things that raise red flags for me include:
- statements that volunteers are exclusively used but wages are claimed as expenses
- super payments (times by 9% and you have the wages too)
- large website / IT expenses are claimed but the entity says they do their own websites (typically less than $300 / year)
- crowd funding or pleas for urgent funding for urgent cases despite having a healthy bank balance
- inability to answer the phone, text or email because ''we are all volunteers and over stretched'' when large amounts are claimed for communication, IT, wages and/or admin.
Charities receive generous tax concessions and are also exempt from paying GST (10%) if annual income is under $250 000 p/a.
But that responsibility has to then fall on the rest of us - the community.
I am not saying all charities are operating unlawfully but I do think it is time those who support them become more involved. There is nothing wrong with tactfully asking for more accountability. If not to the people who donate (many don't put strings on their donations) but the rest of us who are doing the right thing and paying our fair share of tax in this very challenging economic climate.
To view the financial position of any registered charity in Australia go to the link below and insert the name or ABN, click find then scroll down to annual reporting (2016 is pending but you can still see 2015).
View the Financial Position of an Australian Charity
Dog Adoption, our dog rescue and re-homing service, is sponsored by Cheap CardBoard Boxes. We don't ask for charity, donations, grants or handouts - and we pay our fair share of tax.
I am not saying registered not-for-profit charities should not pay e.g. wages. What I am highlighting is the need for disclosing the truth so as well meaning people are not exploited. If you know a charity is hoarding vast sums of cash, would you still be keen to donate / volunteer or would you choose to give to another cause that is more closely aligned to your core values?