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Fewer Aussies give more to charities

28 September 2020 at 4:58 pm
Maggie Coggan
The latest tax figures reveal the habits of Aussie donors in 2017-18 

Maggie Coggan | 28 September 2020 at 4:58 pm


Fewer Aussies give more to charities
28 September 2020 at 4:58 pm

The latest tax figures reveal the habits of Aussie donors in 2017-18 

Australians might have upped their charitable giving by $265 million between 2016 and 2018, but the number of people giving is continuing to drop, says an expert who warns charities to keep a close eye on the trend in coming years. 

The analysis, published by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at QUT, found the total amount donated and claimed as tax deductible donations in 2017-18 was $3.75 billion, up from $3.48 billion in 2016-17.

The average gift size also jumped by nearly 10 per cent, going from $770 in 2016-17 to $845 in 2017-18. 

New South Wales once again topped the charts for most generous state, where around 1.4 million taxpayers claimed tax deductible donations amounting to $1.34 billion. Victoria came in second, with taxpayers claiming $1.03 billion in donations, and Western Australia rounded out the top three, claiming a total of $634 million in deductible gifts. 

But one area that saw a decrease was the percentage of Australians making deductible gifts. This figure has fallen every year since 2011-12, and the 2017 financial year was no different, falling to 31 per cent. 

The ACPNS director, Wendy Scaife, told Pro Bono News this steady trend of less people donating more money was something charities needed to keep an eye on, particularly as the sector faced financial hardship and uncertainty during the pandemic. 

“[It’s a] situation where those who are giving are giving more but fewer people are giving, so that’s something that is probably a pretty mighty concern,” Scaife said. 

“But invariably there are sectors and individuals that will do well during the pandemic… and I’ve found that most people are very conscious of how lucky they are if they’ve been unaffected economically and there is that spirit of generosity among them.” 

Keeping relationships strong and thinking on your feet in times of hardship 

Scaife said that while charities may be struggling during this current economic downturn, it was important to communicate honestly with supporters and donors to ensure relationships stayed strong well into the future. 

“I really believe that it’s about communicating what you are doing in the community, and not being afraid to let people know that your needs are continuing, because people don’t know unless you tell them,” she said. 

She added that due to the current health crisis, more people were thinking about their mortality and that charities should be putting forward their cause as a way for people to give meaningfully. 

“This is the moment to be talking about including a gift in a will as a way to continue their giving beyond their lifetime,” she said. 

See the full report here. 

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

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

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