About the Data – Q&A

A Comprehensive Dataset

This page explains the data included in a little more detail.  If you have a question that’s not answered here, please use the feedback link (top right) to ask and we’ll do our best.

The 2015 Australian Charities Report and “datacubes” on this site include 50,908 records*.  This represents all Australian charities:

  • that were registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) at the end of the 2015 financial year;
  • including 885 charities who have reported as 114 “groups” – each “group” appears in the data as one charity*;
  • EXCLUDING charities who:
    • were registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Charities (ORIC) – 833 charities.
    • met the ACNC criteria for “double default” at the end of the 2015 financial year – that is, failed to submit two consecutive Annual Information Statements without any exemption allowing them not to submit.

*Counting the 885 charities who reported in groups as individual charities, the total number of charities represented in the dataset is 50,908 + 885 – 144 = 51,679.

A Composite Dataset

The 2015 dataset uses the best/most recently available data for each charity from the following sources:

  • Annual Information Statement 2015 group reports
  • Annual Information Statement 2015 (the great majority)
  • Annual Information Statement 2014
  • Annual Information Statement 2013
  • ACNC Registration

The consolidated dataset includes 50,908 records of which about 25% have no reported financial data because:

  • they did not report financial data (e.g. Basic Religious Charities or other exemption), or
  • had not submitted an 2015 or 2014 Annual Information Statement (with an exemption allowing them not to report in at least one of these years), or
  • had large errors in financial data and so data was excluded.

For these charities data was estimated using mean values from a two-dimensional segmentation model based on “sector” (category of main activity eg Health, Social Services) and income segment (XS, S, M, L, XL or XXL), Charities were allocated estimated values for financial data based on their reported size and main activity.

The contribution of the estimated financial data to overall sector totals is of the order of 4-6% and so the uncertainty introduced by the model is very low. Averages (e.g. for total income) by income size (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL) or sector of main activity (Health, Social Services etc) are not affected.  See the Australian Charities Report 2015 for more methodological detail.

What do you mean by “the end of the 2015 reporting year”?

The data includes charities registered with the ACNC at the end of the 2015 reporting year – this means the end of the 2015 reporting year for each charity.  The actual year end date for each charity might be 30 June 2015 (the majority), 31 December 2015, or some other date in the 2015 year.

What are Groups?

Some Charities may have several legal entities, but has reason for reporting as one entity (for example, a University which also has a foundation within it).  The ACNC must approve Group reporting – see the ACNC’s Group Reporting page for more.

Why are there Charities with no financial report?

Around 12,000 Charities are included in the data but have not submitted financial reports for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Basic Religious Charities (~8,500) are exempt from financial reporting – see the ACNC Basic Religious Charity page.
  • 680 charities reported that they had no activity in relevant year and these aren’t required to report financial data.
  • The remaining charities did not meet the above criteria but also did not submit an annual information statement or did not submit financial details.

In general, where Charities have not completed the financial report component of the Annual Information Statement their financial data is estimated (see A Composite Dataset section above) and their reported data for other fields is used (eg main activity, staff and volunteers).

Why are there only 51,679 individual Charities in the data when around 54,000 are currently registered with the ACNC?

There are three reasons why the number of charities in the dataset might be different to the number of registered charities today:

  • 883 charities were excluded from the dataset because they report to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Charities (ORIC).
  • Charities who met the ACNC’s “double default” criteria at the end of the 2015 year were also excluded from the dataset.
  • The dataset relates to charities who were registered at the end of the 2015 year – the number of currently registered charities changes all the time (with new registrations added and voluntary and other deregistrations taking place).

The dataset represents the most comprehensive view available of the Australian charity sector at the end of the 2015 reporting year.

How is the “change” data calculated?

The Australian Charities Report 2015 and the 2015 datacubes on this site estimate change from the 2014 to 2015 reporting years.  Only charities that reported in both the 2014 year and the 2015 year (report received by September 2016) are included in this analysis – there were over 41,000 charities with reports from both years, of which about 31,000 had financial data for both years.  See the Australian Charities Report 2015 for more methodological detail.

The current datacubes relate to the 2015 financial year.  Is the “original” 2014 version still available?

The 2014 datacube was published in November 2015, at the same time as the Australian Charities 2014 Report was published.  You can view the original 2014 datacubes here:

The 2014 datacubes were later updated with additional data (new Annual Information Statements received).  The most recent versions of the 2014 datacubes are below, with data from over 46,000 charities included: