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Annual 'Giving' Surveys

27 November 2001 at 12:11 pm
Staff Reporter
Annual ‘Giving’ surveys by charity experts reveal that Not for Profits are expecting tougher times ahead with many experiencing mixed fortunes in the previous twelve months.

Staff Reporter | 27 November 2001 at 12:11 pm


Annual 'Giving' Surveys
27 November 2001 at 12:11 pm

Annual ‘Giving’ surveys by charity experts reveal that Not for Profits are expecting tougher times ahead with many experiencing mixed fortunes in the previous twelve months.

And the experts say the key to sustainability into the future is strategic fundraising programs and a capacity for self-sufficiency via diversified asset bases and funding sources.

The latest ‘Givewell’ survey of statistics for 2000 reveals that, although government and public support for charities continues to increase, the trend of the previous three years for accelerated increases has slowed, reverting to levels closer to those seen in 1998.

Givewell’s latest report on the sector covers the year 2000 financial statements of 498 Australian charities including the Smith Family, Mission Australia and Australian Red Cross, as well as a representative sample of smaller organisations.

The total income of all the charities combined for 2000 was $5.94b. This is an increase of $525m, or 10%, over last year’s total, the same increase as was seen in 1999.

Increases in key elements of income however were well down on those of last year. Government funding for 2000 increased by 9%, compared to an increase of 14% in 1999. Fundraising income rose by only 8%, down from a rise of 13% in 1999. Total income from fundraising (excluding bequests) was $643m in 2000. Bequests, always the most volatile form of income for charities, fell by 5% in 2000, compared to a 15% increase in 1999.

Givewell’s Michael Walsh says despite a levelling off in the traditional forms of income received by charities, an in depth analysis of other forms of income – including fees, commercial income and investment income – suggests that charities are increasingly relying on income other than from government and public fundraising.

Sixty percent of organisations in the Givewell survey reported income in the form of fees, commercial income or investment income, and overall it accounted for 21% of total income.

The survey also detected a shift in the way charities are directing their surpluses, with a significant rise in the amount of funds held as Managed Investments, and a smaller but important rise in equity investments.

Walsh says anecdotal evidence this year made it clear that the effects of the GST, a slowing economy and the collapse of a number of large and generous corporate entities have hit some charities hard, with the expectation of tougher times ahead in light of recent world events.

He says in this environment, a capacity for self-sufficiency via diversified asset bases and funding sources may be the key to many charities sustainability into the future.

The latest findings from O’Keefe and Partners 12th annual report of Giving Trends in Australia reveals that organisations involved in gift-seeking are increasingly preoccupied with concerns about shifting demographics. The perception that older, more stable donor support bases will soon give way to younger, unknown donor markets is creating significant unease within the sector.

O’Keefe’s report says that in the past year, many non-profits, like businesses everywhere, reviewed their operations with an eye to identifying the challenges of the new millennium. Strategic planning for the future was a key theme, and the mood within many boardrooms and development offices of Not for Profits throughout Australia was one of both introspection and uncertainty.

The report says there is a growing gap between the experiences of organisations in all sectors. Where some organisations reported record results in sponsorship and bequest performance, others failed in the same areas. Around one in three frontline fundraisers believe that personal giving in Australia is on the decline however the survey shows that personal giving is consistently climbing.

The report says organisations, assuming otherwise, fail to realise the enormous potential for growth in today’s marketplace.

It says organisations which implemented (and consistently monitor) strategic fundraising programs are experiencing success today. Those continuing to rely on traditional fundraising programs are experiencing consistently poor results.

The report concludes that the increasingly sophisticated mood of the donor environment, coupled with the changing dynamics of the corporate/Not for Profit relationship, demands increasing professionalism and accountability on the part of fundraising practitioners.

What has been your organisation’s experience of fundraising in the past 12 months. Why not share your thoughts on our on-line Forum at

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