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Tuesday, 1st July 2014 at 10:26 am

Fewer Aussies Giving More to Charity

By Staff Reporter,

The amount Australians are donating to charity has risen by $30 million but the number of donors has fallen, according to figures released in two new reports.

Fewer Australians are giving to charity but those who do are giving more, a QUT analysis of Australian Taxation Office statistics has revealed along with the latest Roy Morgan Poll.

The annual Giving Australia report produced by QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), analysed Australian Taxation Office statistics on tax-deductible giving for 2011/12.

Charitable tax deductions were claimed by 35.62 per cent of Australian taxpayers, totalling $2.24 billion in 2011-2012 – up $30 million on previous year. But the percentage of Australian taxpayers making deductible gifts fell from 37.93 per cent  to 35.62 per cent, the QUT analysis said.

ACT taxpayers donated the highest percentage of their taxable incomes (0.40 per cent), ahead of NSW (0.39 per cent), Victoria (0.38 per cent), South Australia (0.32 per cent) and Queensland (0.24 per cent). The national average was 0.33 per cent.

The country’s most generous postcode by total amount given was Cottesloe’s 6011 in WA, with $43.77 million given. The city-beach suburb also gave the highest average gift in Australia at $19,587.

NSW was the state with the most givers, with 1.45 million claiming charitable tax-deductible donations worth $839.56 million – 37.45 per cent of the national total.

NSW also claimed the highest average donation in the country of $575.11, compared to the national average of $494.25

The national average has nearly trebled in the last decade, the analysis said.

ACPNS director Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes said there had been a shift in which areas in each state could claim the title of the biggest giving postcode.

“There has been a change in the biggest giving postcodes with Hawksburn and Toorak replacing South Yarra in Victoria, the Gold Coast being replaced by Toowoomba in Queensland, and Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Rose Bay North, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay replacing Manly and Manly East in NSW,” he said.

“But the big shake up is that Cottesloe in WA takes the prize with the highest total gifts claimed in the country of $43.7 million and the highest average gift of $19,587,77.

“Interestingly this is the first time this honour has shifted from the eastern seaboard to the West.”

The figures revealed more Australian taxpaying women (2.27 million or 37.21 per cent) made and claimed tax-deductible donations than Australian taxpaying men (2.26 million or 34.16 per cent).

Women also gave a higher proportion of their salary, 0.37 per cent compared to 0.31 per cent for men.

Ministers of religion were top when it came to the highest deductible gift to taxable income ratio (2.19 per cent), followed by Financial Investment Consultants (1.26 per cent) and Chief Executives and Managing Directors (1.1 per cent). Media professionals were 10th on the list (0.64 per cent).

The occupations with the highest percentage of donating taxpayers were Police (72.4 per cent), School Principals (67.8 per cent), and Policy and Planning Managers (66.23 per cent).

The proportion of people who donated to charity in an average 12 months has declined from 71 per cent to 65 per cent over the same period, the latest Roy Morgan Poll has revealed.

The Poll found that despite the overall decline in Australians donating to charity, the proportion of heavy donors (those who donated $200 or more in an average 12 months) has increased slightly in the last five years.

In the 12 months to March 2010, 30 per cent of all people who donated to charity gave $200 or more; in the 12 months to March 2014, this figure rose to 34 per cent.

Of the individual states, New South Wales and Western Australia residents are slightly more likely to be heavy donors.

“The decline in Australians donating to charity appears to be linked to increasing pessimism about our economic future rather than any trend away from charitable values. In fact, three quarters of the population still think ‘charity organisations make long-term differences to the world’s poorest people’ and more than half believe that ‘everyday people can help to raise living standards',” Industry Communications Director at Roy Morgan Research, Norman Morris, said.

“In encouraging news for Not for Profits, however, the proportion of heavy donors has risen slightly; an indication that charities should not be shy about appealing to people’s generosity even in these uncertain economic times.

“Furthermore, the proportion of Aussies who agree ‘a percentage of everyone’s income should go to charities’ has risen slightly in recent years. In view of this, perhaps charities that are feeling the pinch should consider putting more effort into promoting their workplace-giving programs.”

Charity donations and economic optimism: how each state compares. Source: Roy Morgan.

Read more from Pro Bono Australia News: OPINION Does Philanthropy Need a Helping Hand?

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