06.02.2020Not for Profit | Charitable Giving in Australia Report

You do not have to look far to see the considerable amount of good work charitable organisations contribute to Australian society. They have been on the frontline of Australia’s unprecedented bushfire crisis, helping with food delivery, wildlife rescues and protection, and raising funds for those most in need.

Given recent events, it is timely for Committee for Melbourne to release a paper on the charitable sector. Titled Charitable Giving in Australia, it offers a snapshot of the social and economic importance the charitable sector plays in Melbourne, and Australia.  Further work on the charitable contribution of our members will follow.

The charitable sector operates across the whole community including in health, education, environmental protection, disaster preparedness and response and human rights. Its importance for society and the economy cannot be underestimated; the sector employs around one in 10 Australians, and contributes 4.9% to Australia’s GDP, including the work of volunteers.

The donations in money and volunteering hours from millions of Australians and businesses to charitable causes underpin the work of charities. In Victoria alone, the average donation made in 2017-18 was $342. Despite this generosity, the capacity of charitable organisations to deliver core services is becoming more challenging.

A combination of factors may have contributed to this development. One major factor is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to donate and/or volunteer. Our paper records that the number of Australians who claimed a donation to the Australian Tax Office fell by 60,000 at the end of the 2016 financial year. This may be occurring for a number of reasons, including that household wealth and income growth has been weak since 2010 and that people are experiencing giving fatigue due to the complexity and multitude of causes and institutions.

More than ever, charitable organisations must have clarity of purpose, be efficient, and find new ways to better connect with the community. In this new environment, successful charities will utilise new technologies, organise themselves effectively, and collaborate with private organisations and government to deliver value for the communities they serve.

The Committee has many wonderful charitable and not-for-profit members doing outstanding work for the community, and many corporate members which are generously supporting charitable causes. The Committee believes it is time to shine a light on all this good work.

The Committee’s Not-for-Profit Taskforce is chaired by Scott Chapman (CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service (Vic)) with participation from our cross sectoral membership.* This NFP Taskforce paper is just the beginning; the Taskforce will endeavour to highlight charitable giving in Melbourne, and the important work that the Committee’s membership base is doing in the community. The results will be shared in 2020.

For more information, please contact Leanne Edwards (Director Policy) ledwards@melbourne.org.au or Brett van Duppen (Policy and Research Officer) bvanduppen@melbourne.org.au 

*Royal Flying Doctor Service, Hall and Wilcox, McKinsey and Co., Melbourne Prize Trust, Ardoch, National Australia Bank, Volunteering Victoria, Commonwealth Bank, Melbourne City Mission, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Victorian Planning Authority, JBWere, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, VicSuper

Scott Chapman, Victoria CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service has written a message about the Bushfire Crisis, which you can read here.

Related information

Not-for-Profit Advocacy Program

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Charitable Giving in Australia

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Opportunities exist for nimble charitable and NFP organisations as they respond to COVID-19

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Enhancing charitable giving in Greater Melbourne

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Shining a light on Not for Profit

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Not for Profit Forum: The Hon Dr Gary Johns

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Sign up for Committee for Melbourne’s Communiqué

  • *Mandatory fields