Aussie charity register clocks millions of views with our help

Posted on 19 Oct 2022

By Matthew Schulz, journalist, Our Community


Our Community’s social sector classification system, CLASSIE, is now being used to power Australia’s official charity register.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has upgraded to the register using the CLASSIE taxonomy. The upgrade enables donors, volunteers, not-for-profits and others in the sector to quickly search by:

  • type of activity or service
  • location
  • online status
  • who the charity helps.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) says its Charity Register, which uses Our Community’s social sector classification system CLASSIE, continues to grow in importance.

Acting Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said in her latest sector update that the register had been searched five million times so far this year.

The register was upgraded earlier this year with the CLASSIE taxonomy, which is also used on Our Community’s SmartyGrants platform, to allow people to search by activity type, location, who each charity helps, and registration status.

Ms Jenkins said she had attended some of the recent “Building Community” town hall meetings hosted by the Assistant Minister for Charities, Andrew Leigh, in which “participants had observed that it would be wonderful if there was a register where they could look up all the registered charities in their area or who focused on a particular issue”.

“I was pleased to tell them that there is,” she said.

She said the register’s search functions “allow philanthropists, donors, grantmakers and volunteers to look up charity programs close to their heart, in their local area or a preferred location, anywhere in Australia.”

The CLASSIE system, which has evolved since its release in 2016, classifies organisations in the social sector by type, subject, population, activities and transaction type (or how support is provided).

Our Community executive director Kathy Richardson welcomed the adoption of the CLASSIE system by the register, after attending the official launch in Melbourne.

“For years the Australian not-for-profit sector battled against non-existent or third-rate systems of classification. That made it so hard to compare apples to apples and find the data you need,” Ms Richardson said.

“I am delighted to see our social sector taxonomy being used to great effect to help donors, volunteers, grantmakers and not-for-profits find the organisations that are doing the heavy lifting to build stronger communities.”

CLASSIE is already built into the SmartyGrants system, allowing grantmakers to better understand their areas of focus and their beneficiaries.

More platforms relying on CLASSIE

CLASSIE is also embedded in the Centre for Social Impact’s new Amplify platform, which is designed to help the for-purpose sector measure their impact.

Charity assessment site Changepath, which rates charities based on transparency, financial management, and impact reporting has also just adopted the CLASSIE system. The not-for-profit is using CLASSIE for its charity identification tool and search/filter system.

SmartyGrants has regularly updated the taxonomy since its 2016 launch.

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