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Women Drive Australia’s Growth in Giving

17 May 2016 at 9:29 am
Ellie Cooper
Women give more of their income to charity than men, and a higher portion of women give compared to their male counterparts, according to the latest Australian Giving Snapshot.

Ellie Cooper | 17 May 2016 at 9:29 am


Women Drive Australia’s Growth in Giving
17 May 2016 at 9:29 am

Women give more of their income to charity than men, and a higher portion of women give compared to their male counterparts, according to the latest Australian Giving Snapshot.

The 2016 Koda Capital Australian Giving Snapshot revealed an 11.7 per cent growth in tax-deductible giving, based on the recently released Australian Taxation Office 2013/14 statistics.

Female donors gave 0.38 per cent of their income, while males gave 0.34 per cent. At the same time, 36.5 per cent of female taxpayers claimed deductible gifts, compared to 33.8 per cent of males.

Koda Capital partner and head of philanthropy and social capital, David Knowles, said charities should focus efforts on female donors, who were often overlooked in giving.

“Charities should focus more on women donors and cultivate support from women in general or they risk missing out on vital funding from the most generous 50 per cent of Australia’s population”, Knowles said.

“We know from Koda’s work with couples that women are very influential in making philanthropic decisions, yet women are often overlooked as donors in favour of their male spouses.

“This makes no sense, when women are increasingly becoming asset owners, are earning higher incomes and are likely to outlive their male spouses.”

koda capital gender graph

Australian Women Donors Network CEO Julie Reilly also said the snapshot sent a “clear message” to charities and grant-seekers.  

“Not only should you consider women as potential donors, but also demonstrate how women will benefit from your organisation’s programs or projects,” Reilly said.

“Whether as donors or recipients, the evidence is clear that women are key to achieving social change. Given women’s growing economic capacity, and their relative edge in generosity, it’s vital that we encourage and support women in philanthropy.”

The Giving Snapshot also found that wealthy Australians were significantly more charitable than commonly thought, and gave away a much higher proportion of their income than the general population.

“High-income earners have long been criticized for not making a big enough contribution to Australia’s charitable coffers, but these figures reveal a completely different story,” Knowles said.

“Rather than bashing the wealthy for not giving more, we should be encouraging not only wealthy, but all Australians, to be more generous and to help grow a culture of giving.”

Koda’s analysis showed fewer Australians were claiming charitable deductions but, at the same time, the overall level of giving had grown, suggesting well-off Australians were keeping charitable giving afloat.  

Those earning more than $500,000 gave up to three times more in deductible-gifts compared to the national average.

 Only 35 per cent of individual taxpayers claimed a charitable donation, compared to 58 per cent of those earning over $500,000 in taxable income.

However, Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the QUT Business School, who also analysed the ATO figures, said wealthy Australians could donate more.

“This is an encouraging sign, but there is more scope for higher giving from such a wealthy cohort,” McGregor-Lowndes said.

“Over 4,500 taxpayers with taxable incomes over $1 million did not claim a gift. Looking more broadly to all taxpayers with taxable incomes over $500,000, almost 17,300 made no claim for tax-deductible gifts.

“There is considerable scope to increase charitable giving from this category of taxpayers, and boost Australia’s level of charitable giving significantly.”

Donations into Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs), the giving vehicle favoured by wealthy Australians, rose by 76 per cent, while total giving would have only increased by 2.5 per cent if PAFs were excluded. Introduced in 2001, PAFs now attract nearly 20 per cent of all deductible gifts.

The snapshot also found that Australians claimed more than $2.6 billion in deductible gifts, NSW had the highest average gift and gave most as a proportion of taxable income and the ACT had the highest proportion of taxpayers claiming a gift.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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