Letter from Susan Helyar, Director, ACTCOSS. Appeared in Canberra City News, 19 November 2015.
Last week the Community Council of Australia stated there are too many charities being set up and called for charities to merge.
What is important to remember is charitable organisations form because people want to come together for mutual and wider benefit to grow resources for a cause, advocate for change, create new offers of goods and services, and share interests and resources. These organisations form for purpose, not for financial reasons in and of themselves.
It is not appropriate for commentators, funders or regulators to determine whether and how many of these organisations exist.
For-purpose organisations provide essential social infrastructure through which the community can reflect its diversity, express its collective will and shape its social and economic priorities and circumstances. These organisations do face challenges in remaining relevant and viable, but the best way to deal with these challenges is not for them to disappear into merged entities.
Partnerships are and have always been core business for community organisations, including charities. The foundation for partnerships, including mergers, should be sustaining and strengthening of purpose.