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Culture of Giving – New Survey

Monday, 14th May 2001 at 1:05 pm
Staff Reporter
There’s good news for Not for Profits in the latest “Givewell” survey, which confirms a resurgence in the Australian culture of giving – in fact it’s up 17%!

Monday, 14th May 2001
at 1:05 pm
Staff Reporter



Culture of Giving – New Survey
Monday, 14th May 2001 at 1:05 pm

There’s good news for Not for Profits in the latest “Givewell” survey, which confirms a resurgence in the Australian culture of giving – in fact it’s up 17%!

The survey just released confirms that Australians’ support for charities continues to grow, with donations and bequests as well as government funding.

Australian “giving” has also continued to exceed inflation, economic growth and wages growth.

Givewell was formed in 1997 with the aim of carrying out research into charities and fostering a better culture of giving in Australia. Givewell’s Executive Director, Michael Walsh has 20 years experience in accounting, auditing, academic research and investment analysis.

This latest report on the sector covers the 1998,1999 and 2000 financial statements of 225 Australian charities including the Smith family, Mission Australia, Australian Red Cross, and Wesley Mission, as well as a representative sample of smaller organisations.

Givewell says the results confirm a three year trend of increases in all charity funding sources of between three and five times the rates rate of economic growth over that period.

The survey shows the income from fundraising (excluding bequests) was $267m in 2000. This is a 17% increase from the 1999 total of $228m and is well up on the 11% increase seen between 1998 and 1999.

The survey says bequests which are the most variable component of income, were up by 21% from 1999

Givewell says the total income of all the charities combined for 2000 was $1859m, which is an increase of $183m or an 11% increase on the previous year.

Michael Walsh says one of the most interesting findings of this year’s survey is the comparison of the net assets of charities in 2000 where there was an increase of 8% compared to 11% in 1999.

Based on these figures, Givewell estimates that about 45% or $82m of the increase in charities’ income went to increase their assets, including investments, refurbishment of property, and the purchase of new equipment, with the remaining 55% or $101m being used for programs, administration and fundraising.

Walsh says it looks like the charities are using the good times to build their investment base, which is a shift to the foundation model and this will help increase their self-sufficiency and therefore their sustainability into the future.

He adds that key charities report continued increase in donations despite the 2001 economic downturn.

Check out the Givewell web site at

Do you have a comment to make on this survey? Why not include them on our Pro Bono Australia Forum at


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