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Annual Report 2022-23

Reporting on ACFID’s activities to ensure transparency and accountability


ACFID is the peak body for Australian NGOs involved in international development and humanitarian action.


ACFID works and engages with a range of strategic partners in addition to our members.


ACFID is governed by its Board, ACFID Council, and various expert and governance committees.


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Conference 2023

disruptive dynamics, inspired ideas

18-19 October 2023

Meet our Members

The ACFID membership is comprised of Australian NGOs that actively work in the international aid and development sector.

Become a member

Joining ACFID means joining an experienced and powerful mix of like-minded organisations committed to good international development practice.

Membership types & fees

ACFID has two types of organisational membership: Full Membership and Affiliate Membership.

State of the Sector

The State of the Sector Report provides a comprehensive and robust analysis of the state of the Australian aid and development sector.

NGO Aid Map

ACFID’s NGO Aid Map allows the Australian public and stakeholders to explore the work of ACFID Members around the world.

Development Practice Committee

The DPC is an expert advisory group of development practitioners leading good practice within the sector.

Our Focus

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Federal Budget 23-24 Analysis

Facts and figures on how aid is presented in this year’s annual budget

Strategic Plan

ACFID prioritises a robust response to climate change and pressure on civil society in developing countries, as well as other key priorities.

Emergency Aid

ACFID Members provide vital life-saving assistance in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

Climate Change

Action on climate change is one of ACFID’s highest priorities, as it is an existential threat to humanity and our development.

Civil Society

Civil societies are a cornerstone of regional stability and ensure that the voices of the marginalised are heard.

Supporting NGOS

Supporting NGOs as Valuable Partners.

Inclusive & locally led development

Walking the talk on inclusive development.

Humanitarian Action

Taking humanitarian action for those in greatest need.

Elevating Development

Elevating Development to the Heart of Australia’s International Engagement.


Improving standards, practice and culture to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Code of Conduct

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2022-23 ACFID Code of Conduct Review

The ACFID Code of Conduct is periodically reviewed to ensure it continues to reflect good practice and the needs of ACFID and its members.

Code of Conduct

The Code is a voluntary, self-regulatory industry code of good practice.

About the Code

Find out more about the Code of Conduct and how it operates.

Good Practice Toolkit

Overview and practical resources, and examples to support the implementation of the Code.

Spotlight on the Code

Provides a thematic ‘deep dive’ into each of the nine Quality Principles in the Code


This section outlines the responsibility to be taken by each Member to ensure compliance with the Code.

Complaints Handling

How to make a complaint and information on the Code’s independent mechanism to address concerns relating to an ACFID Members’ conduct.

Other Standards

Mapping the Code with other professional standards and principles in the humanitarian and aid sector in Australia and internationally

Home 5 News 5 ACFID Blog 5 Donating in a humanitarian crisis: what donors should know

Donating in a humanitarian crisis: what donors should know

Nov 10, 2023 | ACFID Blog, ACFID News

Every day, new reports of grave human suffering in the Israel/Palestine conflict continue to surface in the media and online. As humans, our natural impulse is to help. Donating funds to relief efforts is something that we often reach for in such times, and Australians are amongst the most generous public donors in the world.

Yet, many of us feel uncertain about how to donate, and where. It is natural that in an environment of conflict and crisis, our confidence in systems and processes can be rocked. We all want donations from the Australian community in response to a crisis to be used in the best way possible. But what is the best way? And what can you expect to know about how the money is spent?

That is where we can help. ACFID’s core business is in regulation and governance, and we are well-placed to decode this to help build that confidence. Here is what to look for in establishing that you have donated to a reputable organisation, and that those funds are used well.

Check that the organisation you’re donating to is the real deal

The first step is to ensure that an organisation that you are considering donating to is valid. If an organisation is a registered charity, their website should clearly display the organisation name, address, general purpose, and an Australian Business Number (ABN). You can check the information provided by searching for an organisation’s ABN on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Charity Register. The website may also indicate whether your donation is tax deductible, which apply to donations above $2. You can check this under the tab “deductible gift recipient status” on the Government’s ABN lookup site here.

A donations page should explain how funds raised through an appeal will be spent. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, this information will be quite general, as organisations collect the information that they need. However, as this information becomes available, websites should be updated, providing information to donors with more specific activities, covering what, where and how the charity will be implementing their relief effort. If you can’t find this information, you can contact them and ask.

Check the organisation is safeguarding funds and meeting standards

Some charities sign up to standards that regulate their work, stipulating approaches to fundraising and other activities. For overseas development and humanitarian work, members of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) sign up to the ACFID Code of Conduct, and choose to report to ACFID on their compliance.

The Code prescribes a standard that sets the bar higher than Government regulation, and is indicative of their commitment to accountability. Importantly, the Code of Conduct also has an independent complaints handling mechanism, through which a member of the public, a beneficiary, any donor or stakeholder can make a complaint about Code signatories. You can read a list of the organisations signed up to the Code on ACFID’s website.

This is particularly important in the context of the current emergency. A signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct is an organisation that has chosen to adhere to a standard that sets the bar high, ACFID members are required to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that funds and resources are properly controlled and managed. This includes having standards around who they will receive donations from and how they ensure that funds are being used for the purpose for which they are intended. These standards cover counter-terrorism, money-laundering, fraud, corruption, and checks against the criminal code. You can read more here.

For the current crisis, and with other current global humanitarian emergencies, ACFID runs a consolidated appeals page, listing all ACFID member organisations that have been assessed by ACFID as having met these standards. You can find this page on our website here.

Find out how the organisation is responding

All parts of the humanitarian system are working around the clock with staff and volunteers to coordinate a response that maximises coverage of the impacted population while minimizing duplication of relief efforts. The scale of the current crisis, the lack of critical communications infrastructure and unimpeded access for relief workers has made the challenge of this process enormous.

This involves phases of assessing needs, locating and identifying vulnerable groups, delivering immediate food, water, and shelter relief. Different humanitarian organisations work together in what’s known as the “cluster model”, a system of coordination which ensures that international responses to humanitarian emergencies are predictable, accountable and have sufficient global capacity to overcome complex crises and natural diseases. Some of the eleven clusters include health, protection nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene. Many humanitarian agencies also work with local partner organisations on the ground, who know the local context and needs best.

The organisations listed on ACFID’s appeals page indicate what types of relief they are working on – giving you the option of supporting a particular form of relief if you choose. There are also coordinated funding mechanisms such as the Emergency Action Alliance that run a centralized appeal platform on behalf of 15 major charities and then distribute appeals funds as best to accommodate the work of those members responding directly to an emergency.

Look for indicators that the charity is accountable and transparent

Running an effective organisation costs money, even when it is not-for-profit. Employing skilled staff and recruiting volunteers, buying and maintaining the technology to collect your donation securely and keep your data private, accounting software to track where the money went are just some of the list of expenses. . Fortunately, many established charities already have good systems up and running and can work to keep these costs as low as possible. But this should not be confused with an expectation that they are non-existent, and to suggest this is the case is misleading and undermines the value of the charitable sector’s contribution to our communities. An organisation should be able to explain how funds were spent in a transparent and accountable way, and this is what you should expect of them, not delivery for free.

In the case that a charity does pledge to ensure 100% of funds received will go directly to a cause, you should be aware this cost will need to be absorbed elsewhere.

Consider ongoing support

Established charities are able to mobilise rapidly because they have ongoing programs. These programs fill critical gaps in social service delivery, and help those in communities both here and overseas who need healthcare, shelter, protection every day, not just in an emergency.

One positive that can arise from a crisis is that the generosity of the Australian public shines, and charities are able to harness this generosity to extend critical relief to those who need it. As a donor, you can help this to be an everyday reality.

When you find a charity that deserves your trust, consider becoming part of their regular giving program.

Donations from the public are vital for charities to keep delivering the support and care that many vulnerable communities depend upon. These organisations have a responsibility to the public to ensure they are transparent and accountable, to ensure that public trust stays in place.


Author : Jocelyn Condon, Chief Operating Officer, ACFID

Jocelyn leads ACFID’s effectiveness and engagement team, which manages NGO membership, work under the ACFID Code of Conduct, and ACFID’s learning and innovation program.

Image credit: Tyler Lagalo