ACOSS to Research Australian Philanthropy
22 July 2004 at 1:07 pm
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has been given substantial Federal Government funds for a major research project on giving and philanthropy in Australia.
The research team includes two of Australia’s leading researchers in the field, Professor Mark Lyons from the Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management at the University of Technology, Sydney and Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes from the Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland University of Technology.
The collaboration also includes prominent Australian market research companies, Roy Morgan Research and McNair Ingenuity Research plus the Fundraising Institute of Australia.
Support for the research project is being provided through the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership to the tune of $560,000.
ACOSS Director Megan Mitchell says Not for Profits are a significant ‘third’ sector working together with governments and businesses and much of the activity in the sector is poorly measured by traditional economic indicators.
Mitchell says the ABS estimates that in 1999/2000, Not for Profit organisations employed an estimated 604,000 people (6.8% of Australians in work) and contributed $21 billion to GDP (3.3%). This economic input is larger than the communications industry and equivalent to the contribution of agriculture.
She says this research will update information on volunteering, giving and philanthropy in Australia. It will also evaluate government tax changes designed to make giving easier for individuals.
Philanthropy Research and Development Collaboration member, Professor Mark Lyons says that in 1997, 8.6 million Australians donated $2.8 billion to Not for Profit organisations. In 2000/01, Australia’s business sector provided $1.4 billion as gifts and sponsorship.
Prof Lyons says this research will help to find out how and if philanthropy is growing and how it can best be supported.
He says support for research into the third sector and ways the public support it has been modest in Australia – this research will help the development effort of organisations and address the gap in knowledge about giving and philanthropy.
Megan Mitchell says the flow on effect of the research which aims to tap into a rich vein of NFP knowledge will support future policy-making and develop resources for better partnerships.
The research project has a tight time frame with the results to be delivered to the Federal Government by the end of June 2005.