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Australians generosity revealed

2 April 2019 at 4:11 pm
Maggie Coggan
Australians upped charitable giving by over half a billion dollars from 2015 to 2017, Australian Tax Office figures have revealed.  

Maggie Coggan | 2 April 2019 at 4:11 pm


Australians generosity revealed
2 April 2019 at 4:11 pm

Australians upped charitable giving by over half a billion dollars from 2015 to 2017, Australian Tax Office figures have revealed.  

The latest taxation statistics for 2016-17, based on information reported by 13.9 million Australians’ in their tax returns, found $3.5 billion was donated to charity, with an average gift size of $770.

This compared to $2.9 billion donated in 2015-16, which analysis from the Australian Centre for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) showed marked a nine per cent decrease from 2014-15.  

While the full analysis of this years results is yet to be released by ACPNS, the director of the organisation Wendy Scaife told Pro Bono News this year’s figures indicated a positive lift in Australia’s giving habits.

“The 2016-17 giving figures showed a return to an upward tax deductible giving trend, and charitable support by Australians is always worth celebrating,” Scaife said.

Jeremy Tobias, GiveEasy CEO told Pro Bono News it was pleasing to see the overall giving figure increasing year on year, but it was important charities kept up with the changing behaviour of how Australians donated their money.  

“We have seen a major shift to payments via digital wallets from donors including PayPal, and we anticipate this trend to accelerate over the short term,” Tobias said.

The most generous state was Western Australia, where 30 per cent of residents in the state claimed an average deduction of $1,190.

Northern Territory residents recorded the lowest level of charitable giving, where 34 per cent of residents claimed an average deduction of $405.

Scaife said it was unusual for WA to record the highest average of tax deductible giving in the country, but said it could be due to a number of giving initiatives set up recently in the state.    

“WA has hosted various initiatives to foster giving such as Giving West that ran for some years and special incentives for matched giving to new Private Ancillary Funds at one stage,” she said.

“These proactive steps are commendable in growing giving.”

But she added it was possible the figure reflected an outlier of large gifts that lifted the average.

She said the data was incredibly useful for the social sector as it could give detailed insight into the finer areas of giving.

“The richness of such data is in its long-term benchmarking ability, and the insights it gives into aspects such as gender, income, postcodes, and occupations are really valuable as they intersect with giving,” she said.

Tobias added that knowing where specific charity’s donors lived was key for targeting, but the success of that relied on the organisation testing out what worked best.

“It’s important that through tracking and testing organisations know which channels work best with the right messaging to stay ahead of the game,” he said.    

A full report of the figures, and what it will mean for the social sector will be released by ACPNS in the coming weeks.

A “giving by occupation and postcode” tool, for previous financial years, can also be accessed here.   

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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