The charity regulator has launched free online short courses to assist leaders in the sector with governance and accountability.

The Governing Charities learning program from the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission features eight short courses – with plans to add more – designed to assist good governance.

Participants can choose to do as few or many of the self-paced courses as they need, with each taking one-to-two hours to complete.

ACNC acting commissioner Deborah Jenkins said the courses were a valuable resource for charities that filled an important training gap.

Deborah Jenkins

“If you are on the board or committee of a charity, or in another leadership role, the program will boost the skills and expertise you need to perform your role successfully and effectively,” Ms Jenkins said in a statement.

“Small organisations, which make up 65 per cent of registered charities, will particularly benefit as the courses are free, flexible, comprehensive and self-paced.” She said good governance helped make sure the day-to-day work of a charity aligned with and contributed to achieving its purpose.

“Charity leaders who are aware of their obligations and proactively engage in oversight of their organisation position their charity for sustainability and success. Being ultimately responsible for managing an organisation’s finances, operations, staff and volunteers, it is critical to have the right skills and knowledge,” Ms Jenkins said.

Topics covered in the courses include:

  • the duties of a board member
  • the board’s role in reputation management
  • fraud prevention
  • safeguarding vulnerable people that charities work with
  • financial reporting within an organisation
  • reporting obligations to the ACNC
  • managing conflicts of interest
  • effective complaints management
  • dealing with internal disputes
  • complying with the ACNC’s External Conduct Standards for charities that operate overseas.

Students can download a certificate upon completion.

“A charity that is well-governed understands its purpose, ensures its activities align closely with its mission, provides the best possible outcomes for the people and causes it aims to assist – inspiring the confidence of donors and other supporters,” Ms Jenkins said.

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