Australian's are generous by nature - and 2020 has demonstrated this like never before. The bushfire crisis bought out the best in our community, with millions donated to support those affected by the ravages of fire. And now, with the COVID-19 crisis, we see the same generous response from the Australian community.
But it is the under-lying, everyday generosity that the team at GiveNow are always impressed by. The everyday giving by everyday Australians to the community organisations that matter to them. It is this generosity that is the fuel for the engine of our beloved community organisations.
So what do Australians give, in monetary donations, to the Australian community sector?
Donations to all Australian not for profit organisations:
Our best understanding of the total monetary giving by all Australians was captured by the surveys and research conducted for the "Giving Australia" report in 2016 (see 1. below).
- In 2015/16, over 80% of adult Australians give on average $764 of their money each year to not for profit organisations.
- Though the median amount donated was $200 per donor - as the above $764 average is skewed by a small number of very high value donors.
- This amounts to over $11b in monetary donations to all not for profit organisations by approximately 15m Australians.
When the value of all other forms of giving are included, such as volunteering, we can see the true value of Australia's generosity:
- An estimated 8.7 million people or 43.7% of the adult population, gave 932 million hours of their time as volunteers to charities and NPOs.
- This resulted in an annual average of 134 hours each (or 2.5 hours per week).
- The median for volunteering hours was 55, half volunteering more and half less than this amount in the year prior to interview in 2016.
It is worth noting that there are some areas where Australia can definitely increase its giving activities, which include reflecting on the fact that:
- Only 7.4% had included a bequest to charity in their will.
- Only 2.7% of donors reported that they make regular payments to not for profit organisations via payroll deductions.
Donations to Australian registered charities
Charities are a not for profit organisation that meet specific definitions, as outlined by the ATO (see here). This subset of community organisations have to report annually to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission so it provides different information to what we learnt in the Giving Australia report (above). The following is information take
- Approx $8.6 billion in donations or bequests were made to charities in the 2017 reporting period.
- This is an increase in donations and bequests to charities from $8.0 billion in the 2016 reporting period.
- We have no information from the ACNC about the number of donors involved in these contributions to charities, so estimates of the generosity of individuals is not possible.
- However, we can observe that donors make a very significant difference to the revenue mix of smaller charities - see the chart below!
Small charities (revenue of less than $250,000pa) account for approximately two thirds of all charities. The donations made by Australians to small charities means that they can operate - without this generosity Australia would be missing the niche services of importance to specific communities.
(For excellent general charitable sector statistics beyond giving, see Australian Charities Report interactive data templates.)
Donations to tax deductible organisations
There are also statistics that relate to the generosity of monetary giving by Australians, that are drawn from the Australian Tax Office data. It is important to note that this data is a subset of total financial giving, as it includes:
- only some charities, as not all charities are tax deductible (see definitions required here). A subset of the subset of not for profit organisations if you like!
- plus only some donors include all their donations in their tax returns, the basis for this ATO information.
The basic numbers on giving from the ATO for 2016-17, published in early 2020* include:
- 4.5 million Australian taxpayers (or 32.6% of the Australian taxpaying population) made and claimed tax-deductible donations.
- The total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations was $3.5 billion
- The average tax-deductible donation total was $769.99 (compared to $633.72 in the previous income year). This is an increase of 21.5 per cent. However, the median tax-deductible donation has remained at $110.2
- On average, those individual taxpayers who make tax-deductible donations donated approximately 0.42% of their taxable income.
- Approximately 2.25 million males claimed tax deductions to a total value of $2.1 billion, compared with 2.28m females who claimed donations totalling $1.3 billion.
Most recent original data reports on Australian's donations (May 2020):
- Giving Australia, Individual Giving and Volunteering, Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership (2017). Full report series, see here.
- An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2016–17, The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, QUT (August 2019)
- ACNC Annual Information Statement Report, Australian (2017)
- Foundation Maps: Australia, Philanthropy Australia, Our Community & Candid (updated 2019)
Other excellent reports regarding donations:
- Who Gives, GiveNow (Dec 2017)
- A Snapshot of Australian Giving, Koda Capital (Oct 2018)
- Australia's Biggest Givers, JBWere and AFR (May 2020)
- The Support Report, JBWere and John Macleod (June 2018)
There are numerous other reports on giving, conducted by independent surveys of Australians. The number of participants and methodology varies for these reports:
- Australian Communities 2020, McCrindle (2020)
- Australia Giving 2019, Good2Give and CAF (Mar 2019)
- NAB Charitable Giving Index Report, National Australia Bank (2018)
*Yes, unfortunately all national giving data sources from 2016/17, as there is a significant delay in availability of data and publication of analysis.