Feeling lucky? You should be! Incredible raffle prizes on offer!

If you weren’t already excited about next week’s FIA/ACPNS Alumni Anniversary Breakfast, this will get you going!

(And by the way, it’s not too late to register if you haven’t already – this year’s topic is all about the importance of fostering an internal culture of philanthropy and what it means for YOUR fundraising FIND OUT MORE.)

Thanks to the generosity of our fabulous prize sponsors, we have an incredible range of raffle prizes on offer! And the best bit? Every cent raised will go towards supporting students undertaking study in philanthropy, nonprofit and social enterprise courses.

Ticket Prices: 1 for $10 | 3 for $20 | 10 for $50 | 25 for $100

EFTPOS and tap ‘n’ go available on the day – NO CASH PLEASE

So tell me what I can win already!

A $1500 travel voucher with G Adventures!

We love these guys! G Adventures offer an amazing range of tours, from Africa to Asia, from Australia to the Middle East and everywhere in between. But what we love most is their responsible travel ethos, recognising that travel is an exchange, not a commodity.

Check out some of their amazing initiatives and watch this fab video featuring just one of their social enterprises, established in India, to support local women, the Women On Wheels project. Gorgeous!

A half-day workshop with Nonprofit Assist tailored to the needs of your organisation – or to an organisation you support – to the value of $1000

Another fab organisation, Nonprofit Assist is a social enterprise with the express purpose of supporting nonprofit organisations and their people by bringing clarity, simplicity and integrity to the nonprofit table in whatever way it is needed.

An overnight get-away at the Brisbane Hilton in a Deluxe Room with complimentary breakfast for two people!





Windsor Group Prize Pack

Includes 1 x Brisbane Business Collective membership and 1 x Lumina Sparks Psychometric test





And that’s not all! Other prizes include:

  • A Cuisine on Cue gift certificate valued at $150
  • A voucher to the value of $110 (two tickets) from Cork & Chroma
  • An Aroma Café catering voucher valued at $50
  • Two VIP opening night tickets to La Boite’s ‘Single Asian Female’
  • Two tickets to Queensland Symphony Orchestra, ‘Handel’s Messiah’
  • Two tickets to MGT (Wolfgang Muthspiel, Slava Grigoryan & Ralph Towner) at the Brisbane Powerhouse
  • A Family pass (2 adults + 2 children) on the Wheel of Brisbane
  • A Bottle of Pol Roger
  • A Bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne
  • A bottle of French Champagne
  • A bottle of wine
  • A signed copy of the amazing book, ‘Women Kind’ by Dr Kirstin Ferguson and Catherine Fox
  • THREE SEPARATE PRIZES: 3 x complimentary movie club memberships valued at $45 from Palace Cinemas

As there are so many prizes, your chances of winning are looking good! So if you weren’t feeling lucky before, we hope you are now!


DYO – Three great resources grantseekers and fundraisers should be tapping into

DEVELOP YOUR ORGANISATION – Develop your fundraising


Are you a grantseeker or fundraiser? This month we’re making it super easy for you to tap into some great resources that you might not know about.

We have some great events coming up, designed to assist you in securing grants for your organisation and identifying new and powerful angles for your fundraising campaigns.

And stay tuned – in 2019 we’ll be holding a very special event for grassroots and medium-sized nonprofit organisations, The Power of Community Conference. Co-hosted with the QLD government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund, we’ll be running a full-day conference designed to give you insights, strategies and ideas to make your organisation more successful and sustainable. The program will include workshops on finding grants and writing winning grant applications; how to fundraise; how to get free publicity; how to use social media in your fundraising; and how to be a powerful advocate for your cause – just to name a few of the topics.

Registrations will be open soon so if you’d like to be kept in the loop, please email ‘Tell me more about The Power of Community Conference’ to acpns@qut.edu.au today. 


Secure a Grant – FREE tutorial

9 November, 2018 | QUT


Access high-quality resources, grants and expertise for your organisation. If you’re looking to secure a grant for your cause or get a behind-the-scenes look at what donors in your area are doing, this free tutorial is for you! The tute allows you to view the QUT Community Collection for grant-seekers, fundraisers and philanthropists and shows you how to use the world’s leading grant-seeking database, the Foundation Directory Online. QUT is the only institution in the Southern Hemisphere to host this unique collection. We thank the experts at Strategic Grants for being the volunteer tutorial facilitators and helping real dollars to flow to attendees!


Inspiring an internal culture of philanthropy (and how it affects your fundraising)  

13 November, 2018 | Broncos Leagues Club


Don’t miss this year’s FIA/ACPNS Alumni (Interactive) Anniversary Breakfast! ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is a quote often attributed to Peter Drucker. Using real-life examples, we’ll be uncovering the whys and hows of creating a powerful internal culture of giving that will set your mission up for success. Attend to hear a panel of experts who will discuss the power of creating an internal philanthropic culture; provide indicators of success; and explore how you can use this culture to enhance your fundraising results and improve your organisation’s sustainability. Hear how one organisation is purposefully building an internal culture of giving and the effect it’s having both inside and outside the organisation. Gain insights and practical takeaways about how to nurture an organisation-wide philanthropic culture that improves employee engagement and helps you fulfil your mission. If you are a CEO, Board member or fundraiser who wants to kick-start a powerful change to your nonprofit’s culture, you won’t want to miss this event.

Feeling lucky? Don’t forget to bring some dosh as we have some incredible raffle prizes available!

If you want to get ahead of the crowd and fine-tune your fundraising skills, these short, sharp six-week units are for you! Taught as part of the Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies), these units will give you an in-depth understanding of fundraising principles, donor expectations and what it takes to develop and evaluate compelling fundraising programs.

Fundraising Development Principles

Learn what influences fundraising/development success. Be able to apply theories of marketing, public relations, management and beyond to fundraising and development and understand the philanthropic environment and donor perspectives. Know more about whether you’re ready to win support, how to build your story, leadership, constituencies and fundraising markets in the context of good, ethical development practice.

Fundraising Development Techniques

Study techniques including capital and major gifts, special events, bequests, direct mail, telemarketing, e-fundraising, donor circles and the art of building donor relationships – and how to plan and evaluate fundraising programs.


Want to delve even deeper? The Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) is designed to extend your real-world knowledge and allows you to tailor your studies for a career in fundraising or another discipline to support your research and employment goals.

Thirsting for more info? Give us a call on +61 7 3138 1020 today. You’ll be talking directly with someone here at QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) who can answer all your questions or email acpns@qut.edu.au and we’ll pop a Student Pack in the mail to you today.

“I love fundraising and philanthropy and helping charities to do better at fundraising. My mantra is encouraging philanthropy and managing fundraising. Studying at QUT has given me confidence in my learning ability and the ability to apply these learning to real-life situations.”

Margaret Scott FFIA CFRE, ACPNS alumnus and winner of the 2014 Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year Award

We know fundraising and grantseeking. We’ve been researching both topics for nearly two decades and before that our researchers were working in the sector and fundraising for their causes as well. So this weekend, instead of Netflix binging, snuggle up with some great reads that will make you a smarter and more compelling fundraiser.

And don’t forget to check out our fab giving tools. How ‘giving’ are your neighbours? And how ‘giving’ is your occupation? Find out using our ‘giving’ tool.


Giving Australia

Giving Australia* is the largest analysis of giving and volunteering of its kind ever undertaken in this country. Its findings and insights are changing the way nonprofits operate in many areas, from governance to ethical marketing and fundraising. The knowledge base about giving and volunteering patterns and trends is also being used to support evidence-based policy development. Fundraisers and grantseekers in particular can plan and prioritise better using the findings. Giving Australia reports,10 x two-page fact sheets – and the handy literature review that has done all the reading for you – are freely available via the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership (www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au) research projects website. Time poor? Get the 50 Key Messages via the Giving Australia blog.

*Giving Australia was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Social Services as an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership. It was led by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at QUT with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs.


Foundations for giving: why and how Australians structure their philanthropy

Philanthropic foundations in Australia have traditionally been labelled ‘icebergs’ – much of what they do and who they are is not apparent on the surface. Many are unknown and apart from an occasional biography, almost all are sparsely documented in terms of the very personal decisions behind establishing them. Practically and academically, scant data exist on the decision journeys people make into formalised philanthropy. Hear the voices of Australia’s philanthropists.


Defining and Accounting for Fundraising Income and Expenses

Charities’ fundraising financial transactions should be reported in the interests of accountability, and the report should be publicly available. However, research shows that at present there is little consistency in how fundraising is defined or in how such transactions are reported, and little guidance from accounting standards. Can we find a way forward? And what does it mean for your accounting practices?


A study of professional advisers in Australia

Our researchers regularly survey professional advisers to affluent Australians intermittently to seek their views and experiences around client and personal philanthropy. Why? Because professional advisers on finance, wealth management, law, accounting, taxation, estate management and beyond are an important nexus with people who have the capacity to channel significant funding into community need.


Approaches to cross-border charity in Australia and the UK

The late twentieth century witnessed the transformation of the global economy. In just two decades, cross-border philanthropy grew from approximately USD 5 billion to USD 32 billion. This report examines what this era of “philanthropic globalisation’ means for charities across the world and how Australia’s fiscal policies regarding cross-border philanthropy can affect your fundraising.


Grantmaking in a Disorderly World: The Limits of Rationalism

This article reflects on the real world relevance of rational approaches to grantmaking. Unpacking implicit assumptions of a rational approach, eight costs to foundations and their grantees are identified. The paper also considers what grantmaking for a complex and disorderly world might encompass and how and why funders need to adapt to a little discomfort.


Domestic and international grantmaking: the comfort of codes

This paper focuses on codes of practice in domestic and international philanthropic giving/grantmaking, their similarities and differences. Codes of principle and practice are interesting not so much because they accurately reflect differences in practice on the ground, but rather because they indicate what is considered important or relevant, as well as aspirational.


Fundraising and boards: be a leader and a meddler!

The old board maxim says, ‘Be a leader not a meddler’! However, in the case of board members and fundraising, meddling is wise. Why? Because the board has a responsibility and a unique opportunity to guide and support its organisation’s fundraising. Indeed, in successful nonprofit organisations fundraising is an attitude, not a department.


Who’s asking for what? Fundraising and leadership in Australian nonprofits

The nonprofit funding landscape is in flux. Many organisations are having to think differently and develop fresh skills either to enter the fundraising market or to cope better with rising competition for community and corporate support. This new reality affects boards, CEOs and fundraisers alike. Against this backdrop, our exploratory study aims to build an evidence base and spark more discussion about: – the role Australian nonprofit CEOs and boards play in supporting fundraising/development; – current engagement levels; and – perceptions of leadership in fundraising from two possibly contrasting perspectives: NP leaders (board members and CEOs); and fundraisers.


Keeping giving going: charitable bequests and Australians

The potential of bequests to contribute to the sustainability of charities is immense, with social and economic trends opening up the bequest landscape. Yet so much is unknown about how Australians think about charitable bequests – particularly about the motivations, barriers and triggers surrounding this behaviour. Do bequestors differ from other donors? What prevents good intentions from becoming good actions? Where do charities figure in this process? This study aims at a better understanding of those Australians who make a charitable bequest and those who might.


Every player wins a prize? Family provision applications and bequests to charity

This research deals with the interaction of family provision law and charitable bequests in wills, including qualitative research relating to the practical issues arising with both legal practitioners and charities’ bequest officers.

Thanks for reading! We hope you’ve gleaned some great pointers for your fundraising! There’s heaps more so visit our site at www.qut.edu.au/business/acpns

Read more of the Developing Your Organisation series

Three Key Questions to Ask Before Starting a Social Enterprise by Dr Craig Furneaux

Three Ways Nonprofit Boards Can Improve Its Team by Dr Ruth Knight

Develop Your Organisation – New blog series


Want to jump for joy? Check out our 2019 scholarships and bursaries!

Thanks to the generosity of the many wonderful people who have contributed to ACPNS scholarships and bursaries, we have even more opportunities for our new philanthropy, nonprofit and social enterprise students!

Students enrolling in 2019 may be eligible to apply for:

Need more inspiration?

If you want to make a positive difference in the world, you’ve come to the right place. At ACPNS we foster community leaders. Our 500+ alumni are highly sought-after in the philanthropy and nonprofit sector and are making a difference in many parts of the world.

You can too.

Watch this short video of the difference some of our alums are making across the globe.


Still not convinced?

First rate courses

Highly regarded courses: Our courses are internationally recognised and respected and we are one of the pioneering centres for philanthropy and nonprofit studies in Australia.

Globally recognised qualifications: ACPNS is recognised as an education leader both here and overseas and offers a teaching and research environment focused on building the capability of the third sector in Australia.

Flexibility: Study on campus in Brisbane or online from anywhere. Six week teaching periods allow you to get a valuable qualification under your belt in less than a year.

Tailored to you: Our Masters program can be tailored to your desired focus area, whether that’s fundraising, management, HR or other specialized areas. You may even have the option to complete some of your studies overseas.

Smaller class numbers: The average class number for our Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) is 42. Smaller classes mean you receive more personalised attention and input from your lecturers.

Build your networks

World-class lecturers: Our lecturers are nonprofit leaders. They are experts in their fields with high level practical experience, a forefront role in philanthropy and nonprofit research and a passion for teaching. They genuinely care about their students’ success. We hear time and time again that what sets us apart is the personal time and attention our students receive from their lecturers.

Like-minded fellow students: You will be studying with people who are just as passionate about the sector as you are and you will become part of a vibrant network of people who have the skills and know-how to bring about positive change.

Lifelong learning: We offer our alumni access to free resources and annual professional development opportunities, allowing them to stay front-and-centre of what’s happening in the sector, long after they’ve left the classroom.

37% – The percentage of ACPNS students who have an active involvement with the Centre, its lecturers and alumni after graduation – much higher than any other area across the university.

Make a difference

Enhance your nonprofit career or transition into a new one: The sector’s demand for qualified professionals continues to grow. By studying with ACPNS, YOU can make a difference by fortifying your credentials as a specialist in the sector.

Use your newfound skills to change the world: Our alumni are making a difference in many parts of the world, changing the lives of thousands of people for the better every day. You can too.

71% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni working in senior/high level positions in the sector

8% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni working in countries other than Australia

7% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni who have founded their own nonprofit or philanthropic organisation

Don’t believe us?

Hear from our students and alumni on how their studies have helped them.

Book in for a consult

We love to chat! To find out more about our courses, simply call us on + 61 7 3138 1020 or email acpns@qut.edu.au for a free course information pack.

Find out more about ACPNS courses online.

Looking to make a difference? Now’s your chance.

The philanthropy, nonprofit and social enterprise sector needs more qualified individuals to join its ranks – that means YOU.


By studying at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), you will develop the skills for a career in the management of philanthropic, nonprofit and social enterprise organisations. Our alumni are equipped with high quality skills and knowledge allowing them to shape, inspire and advance the sector, from protecting animals and the environment to changing the lives of thousands of people for the better every day.

Our courses will empower you to make a difference.

– Study from wherever you are in Australia or New Zealand

– Six-week teaching periods allow you to get a valuable qualification under your belt in less than a year

– Our courses are globally-recognised and highly-regarded. Our alumni are sought after by nonprofit employers, both here and overseas

– Our lecturers are leaders in their fields, have a forefront role in sector research and a passion for teaching

– Studying at ACPNS means you may be eligible for range of scholarships and bursaries 

– You don’t necessarily need an undergrad degree to enrol – QUT may take your work experience into account when you apply.

By undertaking the Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) you will acquire skills and knowledge in eight core areas:    

March/April 2019
Philanthropic and Nonprofit Frameworks of Governance
Management for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Organisations

Ethics for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Organisations
Introduction to Social Enterprise

Legal Issues for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Organisations
Fundraising Development Principles

Accounting and Finance Issues for Philanthropic & Nonprofit Organisations
Fundraising Development Techniques

Want to take your skills and knowledge a step further?

You can build on these units by undertaking the Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) or – let us pay the bills – and study the Master of Philosophy (Research).


New students undertaking study in 2019 may be eligible to apply for the Myles McGregor-Lowndes Scholarship and a range of bursaries, available only to ACPNS students.

 But you’ll need to be quick!

Our alumni are making a difference in many parts of the world, changing the lives of thousands of people for the better every day. You can too. Watch this fab video to see how ACPNS alumni are changing the world.

81% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni working in senior/high level positions in the sector

11% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni working in countries other than Australia

9% – Percentage of ACPNS alumni who have founded their own nonprofit, social enterprise or philanthropic organisation

If you apply now, you could be graduating next year!  

By enrolling in our 2019 intake for the
Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies), you could be donning your graduation hat in November 2019!


Want to chat?

We love to chat! If you have any questions, pick up the phone and give us a call. You’ll be speaking directly with someone at ACPNS who will be able to answer all your questions. Alternatively, email us for a free course information pack and we’ll pop it in the post for you today.

Phone: +61 7 3138 1020
Email: acpns@qut.edu.au
Twitter: @acpns_qut
Register for updates

Design Thinking for Social Innovation – India Field Trip | Jan 4-19, 2019

Want to do something REALLY exciting?

This is your opportunity to tackle real questions and challenges using a design thinking approach in India! Jan 4-19, 2019

Be quick, applications close November 16, 2018!

Gain and apply your skills and experience to create impact by helping to build capacity of a local impact organisation in India.

If you are interested in social entrepreneurship, health, design, nonprofit management, social business, and international development this is an amazing opportunity to learn about, and practically develop your Human-Centred Design skills.

A learning-by-doing approach to designing solutions to social problems for students from Health, Economics, Business Administration, International Development, Public Administration, Nonprofit Management or International Management.

Participants on the trip work in teams with Indian MBA and engineering students and local social entrepreneurs. These mixed teams add technical depth and cultural texture to the course.  The course takes a multi-discipline approach that includes aspects of business, health, design, technology, international development, engineering, nonprofit management and entrepreneurship. Case work, exercises and consulting projects are also experienced through a variety of sectors such as health, education, economic development, community development, water and sanitation, and more.

*Note: 12 students are required for the course to go ahead.


  • Indo-Australian collaborative course
  • Design Thinking & Human Centred Design frameworks
  • Multi-disciplinary & cross cultural student teams
  • Primary market research
  • Social problem analysis
  • Social innovation prototyping
  • Client-driven projects
  • Living cases
  • Interactions with social entrepreneurs & NGO leaders
  • Rural and urban immersion
  • Village homestays
  • Indian University campus life
  • Career planning
  • Post-Graduate students can gain Academic Credit Points.

Want to know more?

Find out more at www.grassrootsu.org/copy-of-social-enterprise-design or email Dr Ruth Knight today | ruth.knight@qut.edu.au

Don’t miss this year’s FIA/ACPNS Alumni Anniversary Breakfast, 13 Nov!

This year’s FIA/ACPNS (Interactive) Alumni Anniversary Breakfast is set to be another sell-out occasion!


Featuring a fascinating case study and practical insights you can use immediately, the program theme is Fostering an internal culture of philanthropy – why so important?

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is a quote often attributed to Peter Drucker. Using real-life examples, we’ll be uncovering the whys and hows of creating a  powerful internal culture of giving that will set your mission up for success.

Attend to hear a panel of experts who will discuss the power of creating an internal philanthropic culture; provide indicators of success; and explore how you can use this culture to enhance your fundraising results and improve your organisation’s sustainability. Hear how one organisation is purposefully building an internal culture of giving and the effect it’s having both inside and outside the organisation. Gain insights and practical take-aways about how to nurture an organisation-wide philanthropic culture in your organisation that improves employee engagement and helps you fulfil your mission.

If you are a CEO, Board member or fundraiser who wants to kick-start a powerful change to your nonprofit’s culture, you won’t want to miss this event.

Date: Tuesday 13 November, 2018

Time: 7.00am for a 7:15am start / 9.00am conclusion

Venue: Broncos Leagues Club | 98 Fulcher Rd, Red Hill

Cost: FIA Member $55 | ACPNS Alumni & students $55 | Staff of organisational member $65 | Non-member $85


DYO – Three Key Questions to Answer Before Starting a Social Enterprise


Thank you to Dr Craig Furneaux for this article.

So you want to start a social enterprise? Awesome! At ACPNS we get a lot of people asking us for help on how to start a social enterprise. We even run formal classes on social business planning. Obviously every situation is different, and if you are planning to start a social business you really should get professional advice.  However, there are three key questions you need to answer before you start.

Question 1: What’s the great idea (or how will you use business to solve social and / or environmental problems)?

Like many other organisations, social enterprises seek to deliver financial, environmental and social outcomes. This ‘blended value framework’ seeks to maximise value far beyond just profit, and instead seeks to work out how to conduct businesses in such a way that social and / or environmental value is generated as well. Some commentators get a bit caught up arguing over what percentage of trade income you need to be defined as a social enterprise. I’d just rather encourage people to find innovative ways to solve social and environmental problems! If you want to see how other people solved this, then there are a number of great video cases which can help you get started.

Question 2: What’s your legal form (or what is the best type of legal entity)?

OK so you have a great idea, but to progress it, you will also need a legal entity to trade. While places like the UK have special legal entities for social enterprises such as community interest companies, Australia currently does not have a specific social enterprise legal form. So you need to pick from the range of existing forms: either a for-profit or a not-for-profit legal structure. A good place to start is Nonprofit Law resources, and here for examples of actual organisations and their structures.

Apart from legal and risk implications associated with your legal form, different structures can also restrict what resources you can access, and moreover what you can do with finances once you actually have some. A brief summary is here:

Question 3: What’s your strategy (or how will you organise your business to achieve your mission)?

So you have a great idea, and a legal entity, now the question is how will you arrange and organise your business in order to achieve your mission? There are a great number of ways to organise your social enterprise.

Some organisations trade to generate income in Australia and then deliver social outcomes overseas (e.g. Thankyou), while others enable businesses in developing countries to get fair income (e.g. Oxfam). A great overview of a variety of multiple organisational models is really worth having a long think over.

Obviously, there is a lot more involved, but those three questions, and the resources to help you answer them, are great places to start your social enterprise journey. If you want another great resource the Stanford Social Innovation Review is great. Don’t forget ACPNS provides nearly 30 years of publications to help you with the accounting, governance, law and management of social businesses, nonprofits and foundations which you can access for free.

Thanks for reading!

Did you know that ACPNS offer courses for staff, board and other volunteer professionals who work in, or are entering the philanthropy, nonprofit or social enterprise sectors? In fact one of the units deals specifically with social enterprises.

Introduction to Social Enterprise

There has been a significant increase in interest in social enterprises in many OECD countries recently. The nonprofit sector continues to mature and expand with the establishment of more sophisticated social enterprise programs, as organisations explore innovative approaches to achieving mission. This interest is driven partly by significant reductions in the traditional sources of revenue for nonprofits, together with increasingly sophisticated competition and dramatic changes in expectations from clients and stakeholder groups. These shifting expectations create demand for more strategic approaches to developing business models, the need for improved business planning, and allowing for more collaborative and hybrid business practices. The unit offers a background to social enterprise and ‘hands-on’ experience in social business planning.

Check out our Study with us page for more info or contact us for a free course information pack. +61 7 3138 1020 | acpns@qut.edu.au


Read more of the Developing Your Organisation series

Three Ways Nonprofit Boards Can Improve Its Team by Dr Ruth Knight

Develop Your Organisation – New blog series

Nonprofit law case: Australian Pork Limited v Commissioner for ACT Revenue

Australian Pork Limited v Commissioner for ACT Revenue (Administrative Review) [2018] ACAT 85

Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Senior Member Professor T. Foley, 30 August 2018

In 2000, the Australian Pork Corporation, the Pig Research and Development Corporation and the Pork Council of Australia were amalgamated to form Australian Pork Limited (APL), a company limited by guarantee. On 12 February 2016 APL sought a payroll tax exemption from the respondent Commissioner on the ground that APL’s whole or predominant was charitable. To obtain such an exemption APL needed to be granted a ‘Beneficial Organisation Determination’ (BOD) in its favour. On 6 March 2017 the Commissioner refused the APL’s request for a BOD in its favour for the purpose of payroll tax exemption. In this application, APL sought a review of that decision pursuant to section 104 of the Taxation Administration Act 1999 (ACT) (the Act).

The application of the Act to “charitable organisations” is dealt with in Part 3A. Section 18B of Part 3A provides the following meaning of charitable organisation:

For a tax law:

charitable organisation—

(a) means an organisation carried on for a religious, educational, benevolent or charitable purpose; but

(b) does not include—

(i) an organisation carried on for securing pecuniary benefits to its members; or

(ii) an excluded organisation unless a beneficial organisation determination is in force for the excluded organisation (emphasis added).

Section 18C(1) provides that:

excluded organisation means—

(a) a political party; or

(b) an industrial organisation; or

(c) a professional organisation; or

(d) an organisation that promotes trade, industry or commerce; or

(e) a class of organisation prescribed by regulation (emphasis added).

Category (d) of section 18(C)(1) is further defined in section18C(2) as:

‘organisation that promotes trade, industry or commerce’ means an organisation that has as one of its purposes promoting, or advocating for, trade, industry or commerce, whether generally or for a particular kind of trade, industry or commerce.

The issue for determination was whether APL satisfied the requirements for a BOD in section 18F(1) of the Act:

If the commissioner receives an application for a beneficial organisation determination from an organisation, the commissioner may make the determination if satisfied that—

(a) the predominant purpose of the organisation is to advance religion, advance education, relieve poverty, or otherwise benefit the community; and

(b) the objects and activities of the organisation that make the organisation an excluded organisation are not significant in relation to the purpose of the organisation considered as a whole; and

(c) the purpose of the organisation is not, or is not intended to be, beneficial to a particular class of people (whether or not members of the organisation) rather than the community generally (emphasis added).

It was accepted between the parties that APL was an excluded organisation under the Act. But was it entitled to a BOD to overcome this fact? Did its predominant purpose benefit the community (section 18F(1)(a))? APL contended that is met the requirements by saying that ‘predominant’ in paragraph (a) was meant in a more general sense of ‘dominant’ rather than being the primary purpose with all other purposes being secondary or ancillary. This is a departure from the usual common law test of charitable purpose. The Tribunal did not accept this departure (at [124]):

The Tribunal rejects the applicant’s assertion that paragraph (a) loosens the common law requirement and accepts the respondent’s reading of the paragraph. The ‘predominant purpose’ of the applicant is on the evidence not charitable. Organisations with non-charitable secondary purposes which can be pursued independently such as the applicant do not satisfy the section.

As to section 18F(1)(b), the Tribunal said (at [130]):

The Tribunal accepts that the purpose against which the organisation’s activities and objects are evaluated in paragraph (b) is the predominant purpose from paragraph (a) which has been found to be the promotion of the pork industry. When the evidence of these objects and activities are examined, particularly in the context of the allocation of expenditure under the applicant’s funding agreement with the Commonwealth, they are to a significant degree directed to promoting and advocating for the Australian pork industry in the Oxford English Dictionary sense of “advancing the interests of” or “furthering the growth, development and progress of”.

In relation to section 18F(1)(c), the Tribunal said that APL did not benefit the community generally (at [131]):

The effect is that the purpose cannot be to be beneficial to a particular class of people whether or not they are members of the organisation. The purport of the ‘rather than’ phrase is that the benefit must be for the community generally.

This is slightly different to the usual common law test, and was contended for by the Commissioner (at [110]):

The respondent contends paragraph (c) expresses the legislature’s reformulation of the common law requirement as stated in Oppenheim [Oppenheim v Tobacco Securities Trust Co Ltd [1950] UKHL 2] that the benefit be for the community or a sufficient section of the community. The respondent says not only has the requirement been reformulated by the legislature, but it has been stated separately from the standard test in paragraph (a). In contrast to the common law charity test a benefit for a section of the community is not sufficient. The requirement has been reformulated by requiring the benefit to be for the community generally. The respondent says the benefit the applicant’s purpose provides is to the pork industry, any benefit to the community is incidental.

The Tribunal agreed that some of the activities of APL were for the benefit of the community (at [133]):

When its objects and its activities are examined (notably its activities in animal welfare, environmental sustainability, anti-microbial resistance research, and its educational and nutritional programs) they are all beneficial to the community generally and not just to pork producers. There is no doubt that increasing sustainability, maintaining healthy farms through reducing biosecurity risks, undertaking bacterial research and water research, and developing digital technology are.

However, section 18(1)(a)-(c) had to read as a whole (at [138]):

The process for satisfying the requirements for a BOD is convoluted and restrictive. Section 18F(1)(a)-(c) which set these requirements needs to be read as a whole. Paragraph (a) is essentially a refinement of the Pemsel test, but paragraphs (b) and (c) add further or separate requirements. Paragraph (b) adds a requirement to consider the ‘significance’ of the objects and activities which support the purpose. Paragraph (c) separates out the requirement of benefit and alters it from the common law in requiring a consideration as to whether the purpose is intended to benefit a particular class of people rather than the community generally. Taken together these requirements create a test which sits above the common law test. It is a test the applicant organisation does not satisfy. It is difficult to imagine an organisation that could. The respondent’s counsel could not suggest one.

In particular the ‘benefit requirement’ in section 18F(1)(c) was most important (at [135]):

The Tribunal finds paragraph (c) is concerned with benefit and where that benefit flows. The applicant says the benefit flows to the public generally, and the benefit that flows to pork producers is marginal or incidental. The respondent says the reverse, the benefit flows to pork producers, and the benefit to the public generally is consequential.

The Tribunal agreed with the Commissioner. Therefore, as APL could not meet any of the three requirements to obtain a BOD under the Act, it was not charitable and not exempt from payroll tax.

View the case

UPDATE – Family First New Zealand v Charities Registration Board

Family First has announced intention to appeal

Media Release 3 Sep 2018
The High Court has delivered a judgment which upholds the Charities Board’s decision to de-register Family First as a charity.

The High Court has stated at paragraph [74] of its judgment that Family First’s “…core purpose of promoting the traditional family unit cannot be shown to be in the public benefit in the charitable sense under the Act.”

And at paragraph [64] that: “In relation to marriage, Family First’s model, to the extent it involves law change favouring the traditional family unit, would on its face run counter to human rights law which prohibits discrimination on such bases. Unless able to be shown to be a reasonable limit, the position advocated for would be unlawful, an obstacle to charitable status.”

And at paragraph [65] that: “The advocacy cases where charitable status has been acknowledged are scarce, and seem increasingly limited to purposes of almost universal acceptance.”

Read more on the Family First New Zealand website 

Interesting nonprofit legal case unfolding in NZ – Family First New Zealand v Charities Registration Board

Family First New Zealand v Charities Registration Board [2018] NZHC 2273

High Court of New Zealand, Simon France J, 31 August 2018

Family First New Zealand (FFNZ) is an organisation that promotes the traditional family unit by producing publications, organising themed conferences, lobbying and seeking law changes which favour its position. Originally, it was a registered charity but had then been deregistered by the Charities Registration Board of New Zealand (the Board). The basis for the Board’s decision was that FFNZ’s purposes were held to be not solely charitable.

This deregistration decision was quashed because of the Supreme Court of New Zealand’s decision in Re Greenpeace of New Zealand Ltd [2014] NZSC 105 (Greenpeace): see Family First New Zealand [2015] NZHC 1493. In Greenpeace, the Supreme Court rejected the long-held proposition in New Zealand that political and advocacy purposes of charities were always non-charitable. It was held that this sort of purpose had to looked at on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the original deregistration decision was referred back to the Board for reconsideration. Upon reconsideration, the Board again decided to deregister FFNZ. This case was an appeal against the second deregistration decision.

Charities in New Zealand must be for exclusively charitable purposes and for the public benefit: sections 5(1) and 13 of the Charities Act 2005 (NZ) (the Act). Previously, political purposes, including advocacy and seeking changes in the law, were never charitable. However, section 5(3) of the Act allowed for advocacy purposes which were merely ancillary to the charitable purposes of a charity. This section was in question in Greenpeace, with the majority in that case holding that the section meant that political and advocacy purposes did not automatically prevent an organisation from being charitable. However, the proviso was that however much public debate was generated (which might be in some sense for the public benefit), the underlying purpose of the organisation must be both charitable and for the public benefit (at [73] of the Greenpeace decision).

Greenpeace illustrated that the instances of advocacy being a charitable purpose would be limited in New Zealand – examples were given of advocating for human rights or environmental issues. However, Molloy v Commissioner for Inland Revenue [1981] NZLR 688 remained good law (at [71] of the Greenpeace decision). Did FFNZ meet the Greenpeace test?

FFNZ promotes ‘marriage and family’, ‘life’ and ‘community values and standards’. Its objects include research, public education, taking part in public debate, and publication of relevant materials. It seeks to change the law to provide tax incentives for traditional family life, to abolish no-fault divorce, to allow ‘light smacking’, and to control prostitution and access to pornography.

It was held that FFNZ’s primary purpose was advocacy for a particular viewpoint. Really advocacy was all it did, and any public benefit was not tangible (at [48]). The Greenpeace decision had not really changed the law in New Zealand (at [49]):

Greenpeace opens the door to charitable status to the extent that the purposes of any organisation seeking charitable status must be examined, whether or not those purposes are to advocate for something. Whether, however, Greenpeace will lead to different outcomes is doubtful…the majority noted the difficulty still confronting advocacy organisations. Likewise, the minority in Greenpeace observed that because of the on-going need to establish public benefit, the majority’s approach is “not much different” from one which simply excludes advocacy [at [126] of the Greenpeace decision]. The point being that after the analysis one will still get to the same point.

The problem remains that the courts cannot know whether a change in the law advocated for will be good or bad. This is a ‘formidable, almost impossible’ obstacle for organisations to surmount ([50]). Establishing a public benefit has always been a ‘hurdle for those whose primary purpose is to promote a cause, and still is’ (at [51]).

FFNZ contended that a wider purpose of promoting family life would be charitable. The court agreed that the purpose of promoting a stable family life would be a charitable purpose (at [57]). However, FFNZ’s purpose was to promote a ‘singular view’ of the family, the traditional family. This was not a charitable purpose, despite Greenpeace. Moreover, its views on smacking, abortion, euthanasia, prostitution, censorship and other related matters were not ever going to be regarded as charitable purposes because of the decision in Molloy.

Was there a charitable purpose to advance education? The court criticised the Board’s approach on this issue, but agreed with its outcome. The Board had delved too deeply into the nature of FFNZ’s publications to determine if they were educative, and this was not necessary. However, the publications did not fall within the charitable purpose of advancing education.

FFNZ’s core purpose of promoting the traditional family unit was not charitable because it could not be shown to have public benefit. Further, FFNZ had other purposes which had previously been held to be non-charitable in cases which were still good law. This position had not changed. In addition, these purposes had an even weaker public benefit argument than FFNZ’s core purpose. Regardless of the charitable status of the core purpose, the other purposes prevented the registration of FFNZ as a charity.

Therefore, the appeal was dismissed.

This decision can be viewed at:

The decision of 2015 can be viewed at:  http://www.nzlii.org/nz/cases/NZHC/2015/1493.html

The Greenpeace decision can be viewed at: http://www.nzlii.org/nz/cases/NZSC/2014/105.html