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Governing a Registered Charity in Australia

Learn to govern your registered charity well to ensure its optimal function and effectiveness in doing as much good as possible

1,558 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    1 hour
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Discover the importance of good governance for registered charities

To function effectively and do as much good as possible, charities must be governed well.

If you want to embed good governance into your organisation’s structure, this course from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is for you.

Foster good relations between your governing body and stakeholders

If your governing body is functioning properly, your stakeholders will trust you and provide real support. With this in place, your registered charity is able to function at its best.

This course will show you what you need to know about day-to-day governance, to help you ensure members of your governing body and stakeholders work as a collective.

Handle your policies and procedures correctly

You’ll learn how to properly handle internal disputes and external complaints, along with other policies and procedures. Importantly, you’ll get familiar with the purpose of a governing document and its key parts.

Your governing document gives your organisation its legal existence, so understanding exactly how it works is vital. You’ll also find out how to change this document to improve or update your governance structures as necessary.


  • Week 1

    Good governance and complaint handling

    • What is governance and why good governance matters

      Good governance is central to to ensuring your charity runs smoothly. Learn how to embed good governance in your charity.

    • Dealing with external complaints about your charity

      Like any organisation, your charity can be the subject of a complaint. Learn how to excel at dealing with external complaints to get the most out of the situation for everyone.

    • Handling internal disputes

      People with the best intentions can disagree. Individuals or groups can have different ideas about the charity’s activities, decisions or policies. Learn ways to handle internal disputes so your charity can thrive.

  • Week 2

    Governing documents

    • The purpose of a governing document and its key parts

      Learn what a governing document is, its power and its key parts. Become familiar with your charity's governing document.

    • How to change the rules of a charity

      There is a process to changing the rules of a charity. Learn what to do, what to avoid, who to notify and how your charity formally adopts or accepts the changes.

    • Next steps

      Want to continue learning but not sure where to turn? Want to get a Certificate for completing this course? This section shows you how.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify what governance is and why good governance matters  
  • Describe how to deal with complaints about the charity  
  • Apply ways of handling internal disputes in their own charity
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of a governing document and its key parts  
  • Explain the process for changing a governing document

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone working in or interested in the charity sector. New and existing board members, as well as lawyers and other sector advisors, will all find it beneficial.

Who will you learn with?

Rachel Gear is the ACNC's Instructional Designer and Lead Educator for the eLearning Program. She's committed to designing and teaching accessible and relevant professional development for adults.

Rachel Smith is the Director of Advice Services, Education and Public Affairs, and is the Director behind the ACNC’s eLearning program. She’s been with the ACNC since it started.

Who developed the course?

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the national regulator of charities. We register and regulate Australia’s many charities. We help charities understand and meet their obligations through information, advice and guidance. We help the public understand the work of the charity sector and provide a free searchable register of Australian registered charities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Victoria

What's included?

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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