RSL National

Do not donate.

Who are RSL National?

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) “help veterans and their families by offering care, financial assistance and advocacy, along with commemorative services that help all Australians remember the Fallen”.

RSL is a federated organisation made up of the eight state and territory branches as well as a Defence Sub Branch. RSL National are the national headquarters of RSL. The results of this assessment may or may not be consistent with assessments of other RSL branches or RSL sub-branches.

Why do they exist?

They believe that those returning from war “require support, along with the families of those who [will] never return”.

What do they do?

RSL National promote the interests and welfare of serving and ex-serving men and women of the Australian Defence Force and their dependants through:

  • the continued care and welfare of ex-service personnel;

  • representing the views and opinions of its members to government, to the public generally and to organisations with interests similar to those of the RSL;

  • the provision of representation before statutory Boards and Tribunals;

  • the liason with overseas ex-service organisations; and

  • oversighting the conditions of service of serving personnel in the Australian Defence Force.

How do they earn their money?

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission


How do they spend their money?

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission


Should I donate to RSL National?

RSL National is a legally registered charity with deductible gift recipient status. They broadly describe the need for their services and highlight the activities they are undertaking in their Annual Reports. They also broadly describe who they are governed by and their finances. 

However, RSL National do not demonstrate themselves to be a trustworthy or effective charity. Critically, they are under Direction by the ACNC, indicating significant governance failures.

In addition to addressing the ACNC’s concerns, at a minimum we would like to know how RSL National account for the receipt and distribution of donations. We would also like clarity regarding the activities and results of the charity in the last financial year. 

After reviewing RSL National’s published information, we are unable to recommend donating to them. They do not present basic information that shows they are trustworthy or effective. In order to offer even a neutral recommendation, we need to see:

  • compliance with Directions set out by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission;

  • financial transparency over the receipt and distribution of donations; and

  • a description of their activities and the results of those activities.


We have investigated the finances, operations and results of RSL National and present our evaluation in a report that you can download now. This evaluation shows you how your donation is spent, who is running the organisation and whether there are any potential conflicts of interest. It also examines whether the charity can demonstrate that they are delivering meaningful results. Finally, it contains our recommendations for potential donors and the reasoning behind them.

Download our complete evaluation of RSL National below to find out if they're the charity for you.

Review of RSL National (2018)

Find out whether RSL National is the charity for you. In this evaluation we describe what this charity does and why, what you should know about them, how your money is spent, who is running the organisation and whether they deliver results. Last of all, we recommend whether you should donate to them based on the findings of our analysis.

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