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Philanthropy Benchmarking Survey Revealed


19 November 2015 at 11:41 am
Lina Caneva
The peak body for donors, Philanthropy Australia, has launched the results of its benchmarking survey into the operational resources of trusts and foundations in Australia and New Zealand in a bid to address a data deficit in the philanthropic sector.

Lina Caneva | 19 November 2015 at 11:41 am


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Philanthropy Benchmarking Survey Revealed
19 November 2015 at 11:41 am

The peak body for donors, Philanthropy Australia, has launched the results of its benchmarking survey into the operational resources of trusts and foundations in Australia and New Zealand in a bid to address a data deficit in the philanthropic sector.

Philanthropy Australia carried out an online survey of 158 philanthropic funds, trusts and foundations in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 with total assets of more than $7.1 billion.

The funds’ total annual giving amounted to $239.1 million. The charitable administrative expenses for 144 of the funds amounted to $33.7 million and the investment related expenses for 58 funds amounted to $14.4 million.

Philanthropy Australia CEO, Sarah Davies, said the report went some way to addressing a philanthropic data deficit by providing a sector-wide overview of the resources and costs incurred by trusts and foundations.

“It’s difficult to get a clear idea of the philanthropic sector’s contribution to the community and the sector’s own operations as we lack good data. We’re really pleased that this benchmarking study will assist the sector by providing useful information on the operational resources and costs of ‘doing business’ within philanthropy,” Davies said.

“The study is informed by a comprehensive survey, which included a broad range of respondents from across the sector, and seeks to provide a sector-wide overview of the resources and costs incurred by trusts and foundations in Australia and New Zealand.

“It explores how resourcing arrangements and costs can vary based on differences in fund size, type of structure, and grant-making approach.”

According to the benchmarking results, average reporting endowment funds distributed approximately 6.4 per cent of their total assets in their last full financial reporting year.

Average annual distributions as a proportion of total assets generally appeared to decline with increases in fund size.

Corporate foundations appear to engage more strongly in capacity building and networking related activity than other types of fund.

The average Expense to Distribution ratio for reporting funds is 28 per cent, however, ratios vary significantly. They appear to be influenced by size and staffing profile. Ratios generally appear to be higher for smaller funds. Staffed funds tend to have higher ratios than unstaffed funds. These patterns are consistent with findings from overseas studies.

The executive summary of the report is available to all Philanthropy Australia members. The full report is available to trusts and foundations that completed the survey.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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