Media Release: Too many charities? - 30 Oct 2015

The Community Council for Australia is launching a series of Forums seeking to reduce the number of charities in Australia.  David Crosbie, CEO of CCA, said today that “it is time to ask sector leaders to put self-interest aside and work together rather than competing against each other in the charities and not-for-profit sector.

Charities and NFPs serving the same communities may need to work harder at collaboration and possible mergers, not because it is in their interests, but because it is in the interests of the communities they serve.  Large federated organisations must be able to justify the expense of having eight CEOs, eight finance and HR teams, and eight competing fundraising teams.  Bigger is not always better, but smaller organisations may need to consider if they may be able to draw on the resources of a same purpose larger organisations to provide back office and other support.”

Rev Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision and Chair of CCA said “these new CCA Forums are about honouring the trust the community gives to charities.  All of us need to ensure we are doing everything possible to provide the best possible services in the best possible way.  Most people do not care whether it is one kind of organisational structure or another that does the work.  They do care whether their money is being used as effectively as possible to address their issue of concern.”

The CCA lead CEO and Board Leader Forums on Collaboration and Mergers have been developed to enable sector leaders to learn from each other rather than relying on external experts.  People who have both failed and succeeded in merging charities will be part of the closed discussions.

Mr Crosbie cited the example of the recent merger between Good Beginnings Australia and Save the Children Australia; “here you have two CEOs and two Boards willing to put aside their own personal and professional interests to ensure they better serve the needs of disadvantaged children in Australia.  This kind of merger should not only be commended, but should also be replicated across a significant number of organisations.”

There are 600,000 not-for-profit organisations in Australia and over 55,000 charities employing more than 1 million Australians and turning over more than $105 billion annually.

The Collaboration and Mergers Forums will be held in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth over the coming month and are supported by the Myer Foundation, PwC and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission.