More Australians Are Giving Time Not Money
11 September 2017 at 5:07 pm
More Australian’s are giving their time but not their money, according to two new reports released at the Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit on Monday.
The reports, which form part of the Giving Australia 2016 project, revealed that nearly four in nine Australians volunteered their time in 2016 totalling 932 million hours – an increase of 96 million hours in a decade.
While the research also indicated that fewer people were giving to charity, it found that those who were giving were giving more, with almost 15 million Australians (80.8 per cent of the adult population, down from 86.9 per cent) donating $12.5 billion in 2016.
Minister for Social Services Christian Porter, who released the reports in his keynote address at the summit in Canberra, said they provided a valuable insight into the nature and status of giving in contemporary Australia as well as signposting the way ahead.
“These are incredible figures and show just how the generosity of spirit of Australians is well and truly alive,” Porter said.
“In terms of individual giving, fewer people are donating money – but they are donating more.
“By any measure, volunteering is a success story.”
He said the finding were valuable for charities showing they needed to be more “innovative, transparent and sensitive to donors’ personal preferences” if they were to attract future generations of givers.
It marks the second and third data release of five research reports from Giving Australia 2016, the largest ever research effort into philanthropic behaviour to understand how, why and how much Australians give to charity.
The research was led by a partnership between the Queensland University of Technology, the Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs.
The two latest reports, The Individual Giving and Volunteering Report and the Business Giving and Volunteering report, aimed to establish benchmark data to measure progress on philanthropic giving of time and money.
According to the study, people who made donations were most likely to do so because they believed it was a good cause or charity (38.5 per cent).
More than half of those who didn’t donate to charity said it was because they couldn’t afford it. However the next three reasons all related to a lack of trust in the charity with respondents saying they didn’t know where the money would be used (34.4 per cent); that too much in every dollar was used in administration (32.8 per cent), and that they didn’t believe the money would reach those in need (31.8 percent).
Shadow minister for charities and not-for-profits Andrew Leigh said the figures were “troubling” for Australia.
“There’s no doubt there’s a challenge ahead in regaining the trust of charities and their donors,” Leigh said.
“The sector is concerned about attacks on the charities commission, prompting Philanthropy Australia to take the unusual step of signing an open letter criticising the Turnbull government in June.
“There are also concerns over the Turnbull government’s failure to fix fundraising, not to mention attacks of advocacy activities of charities, particularly environmental groups.”
But Porter said the sector could “take heart from these findings”.
“Both in the community and the workplace, Australians continue to be generous with their time and their money,” he said.
He pointed to the Business Giving Report, which had some “very impressive findings”.
“The generosity of business is also growing, with the second report released today showing that
businesses gave $17.5 billion in the 2015–16 financial year – a whopping increase of $14.2 billion in a decade,” he said.
He said it was “particularly worth noting” that almost half the business philanthropy came from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which gave $8.5 billion in 2015-16.
“These figures show that small businesses in particular are very much a part of their local communities, whether it’s contributing directly to the local sporting club or seniors group with financial contributions, in kind contributions, prizes for local raffles and contributions to bigger community-focused activities like a new community hall,” he said.
The report also revealed a number of trends including large businesses moving away from corporate philanthropy to partnerships with not-for-profit organisations.
“Of the $17.5 billion in business philanthropy in 2015-2016, nearly half – $7.7 billion – went to community partnerships,” Porter said.
“This shows that Australian business understands the importance of building this capacity for future growth and success of Australia.”
Workplace giving also rose with 89 per cent of large businesses surveyed dedicating more resources and a stronger focus within their workplace to giving, compared to 10 years ago.
Porter said it was “great to see employers getting behind workplace giving” through mechanisms such as pre-tax payroll donations, employer matching donations, workplace fundraising and allowing staff to have time to volunteer.
“46 per cent of big business surveyed had a formal workplace volunteering program, and I am encouraged that this sense of collaboration and giving continues to spread,” he said.
“As the deputy chair of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, it’s very encouraging to see business, community groups and philanthropic organisations working together for the common good.”
Porter also used his address at the summit to announce that 21 community organisations would receive grants totalling $160,000 to promote collaborative partnerships between community groups and their business partners.
It forms part of the government’s $650,000 investment over three years for the Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week, delivered by Philanthropy Australia in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
“This grant will provide the recipients with the ability to showcase their partnerships with local business, including what their partnership has achieved in the community,” he said.
“This is philanthropy and volunteering working at the grassroots, strengthening what Edmund Burke famously called the ‘little platoons’ who are the fabric of civil society and essential to its flourishing.”