Australian Charities Urged To Merge

The Community Council For Australia is warning that charities in the country may find it increasingly difficult to survive if they continue to compete with each other for limited funding. David Crosbie, chief executive of the council said organisations need to start thinking about merging or working with one another in order to make the sector stronger. This is particularly true of so called “federated “ charities which exist at the state or national level.

“[The industry] has been able to grow on the back of increased giving, increasing government funding and increased capacity to raise money from fees and charges and ticket prices.”

Mr. Crosbie said this was coming to an end and it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify federated charities in particular.

“Sometimes the competition between organisations sharing the same name is as fierce as competition outside of those organisations. It just makes very little sense unless you can justify it in some way.”

Thousands of charities are federated

Mr. Crosbie said there could be thousands of charities in Australia that have been set up in this manner. Once such organisation is the Cancer Council which maintains separate chief executives and boards in each Australian state and territory as well as at the national level.

Professor Sanchia Aranda CEO of Cancer Council Australia says she agrees that it is necessary for greater collaboration in the sector which would produce economies of scale and improved efficiencies, particularly amongst agencies that have a shared focus. However she claims that the federated model of the Cancer Council continues to serve Australia well.

Services will not be compromised

Mr. Crosbie argues that merging charities would not result in compromised services because organisations would have to spend less on duplicate infrastructure. However he did concede that it would be controversial to warn and advise charities to merge or collaborate. He added that it is important to take a step back and ask the question what is the purpose of the charity, what is it that the charity is trying to achieve and what is best for the community.

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