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Podcasting trends in the Australian for-purpose sector


13 October 2021 at 4:47 pm
Mike Davis
Mike Davis explains why podcasting could be your organisation’s next digital strategy initiative and shares some of the key trends to consider if you are thinking of launching a for-purpose podcast.


Mike Davis | 13 October 2021 at 4:47 pm


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Podcasting trends in the Australian for-purpose sector
13 October 2021 at 4:47 pm

Mike Davis explains why podcasting could be your organisation’s next digital strategy initiative and shares some of the key trends to consider if you are thinking of launching a for-purpose podcast.

It is a fascinating time for podcast consumption in Australia. People are spending more time at home (often alone) working longer hours than ever before. The daily commute for many has been replaced by a walk to get the morning coffee before locking into the home office for the day. 

We are now using our spare time during the week and on weekends to go for long walks with friends and family to get our critical fix of human contact. So we would expect to see podcast consumption reduced significantly. This has certainly not been the case. So what are some of the key trends to consider if you are thinking of launching a for-purpose podcast? 

Podcast consumption and awareness has increased dramatically since last year

According to the Infinite Dial 2021 Report, 86 per cent of Australians now listen to live radio or catch-up radio podcasts each month. Online audio reaches nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of Australians each month, up from 67 per cent last year. 

Podcast listening has surged, with 37 per cent confirming they have listened to at least one podcast in the past month, up from 25 per cent last year. Weekly podcast listeners tune into an average of five podcasts per week.

The Australian Podcast Ranker August 2021 report states that podcast consumption is growing. The total downloads of all shows by all participating publishers in August is 49 million, which represents a 13 per cent increase based on year on year average.

From the above we can see that podcasting has bucked the trend as a medium that keeps on growing, despite conventional use periods being reduced due to COVID-19 and lockdown. My belief is that people need podcasts that inspire them more than ever, especially when things are hard and uncertain. People are also interested in learning more about the for-purpose sector and not for profits that are having a positive social impact. 

Australian not for profit podcasting is just starting to find its feet

According to the Chartable Australian Not for Profit Podcast Charts as at 3 October only four of the top 20 podcasts listened to in Australia are produced locally, with most originating from the USA and UK.

One of the fastest growing podcasts is the locally produced First Fuel, produced by the Energy Efficiency Council, an Australian not for profit. First Fuel has jumped from 99th place as of 22 September to number one. This coincided with a policy announcement from the Morrison government on 24 September on “improving energy efficiency in homes and cutting energy costs”.

The recent success of the First Fuel podcast, shows that releasing an issues specific podcast that aligns with your organisation can be highly effective and reach a large audience. This is particularly so, where you are operating in a dynamic policy social and environmental space. 


Listen to Pro Bono Australia’s podcast Leading Generous Teams

In a previous article for Pro Bono News, I discussed the success of the Philanthropy Australia Podcast, which has now climbed from number 63 to number five within just a week, in the Australian not for profit category. The team at Philanthropy Australia have succeeded in crafting a niche, but compelling podcast that covers a range of topics that intersect with philanthropy and the pro bono sector in Australia. 

For a sector in a state of constant flux and innovation, this podcast offers some easy to follow discussions on key emerging issues and trends facing philanthropy and those benefiting from it. A Google Trends search on the term “philanthropy” in Australia for the past 12 months, indicates that searches for philanthropy increased from 0 to 50 from the end of financial year 2021 until today.

Lessons to maximise podcasting success

What we can learn from these examples is that there is enormous potential for not-for-profit or for-purpose organisations to launch podcasts in the coming months. To maximise chances of success, for-purpose podcasts should:

  • focus on something topical that often comes up in the news or media or in many public conversations;
  • offer a range of divergent and engaging perspectives on pro bono issues;
  • utilise experimental approaches to format, that might include panels, co-hosting and interview arrangements to get the best results;
  • elevate community members, partners and beneficiaries as part of good storytelling; and
  • try not to exceed 45 minutes in length – shorter is often better.

We’ve covered the significant increase of podcast popularity and consumption over the past year above. We’ve also talked about some of the key trends in not-for-profit podcasting. Now to outline a few reasons why podcasting can help take your organisation’s digital and communications strategy to the next level.

Why podcasting is your organisation’s next digital strategy initiative 

Here are just a few reasons why podcasts are becoming a core part of digital strategy in the not-for-profit space: 

  • They can give you the opportunity to play a leading role in advocacy, thought leadership and facilitating important community conversations.
  • They can give you a chance to highlight the important contribution of your key stakeholders, partners, clients, beneficiaries, staff and board members and a chance to discuss your organisation’s social impact.
  • They enable you to set the agenda in terms of what your organisation is thinking about and doing at the moment and plans to do into the future.
  • They can supplement and work in tandem through increased accessibility with lengthier forms of communication such as blogs, white-papers and publications.
  • They can give you the opportunity to make new connections with important and influential key stakeholders in your sector.

Podcasting is more popular than ever before and Australian not for profit produced podcasts are just starting to find their place in the local chart-toppers. More not for profits producing podcasts locally can only be a good thing to help reach an interested and content hungry local audience. 

They can also play an important role in promoting generosity, altruism and broader thinking about the less fortunate in our community.

“People are really listening and want to consume all of the content that is there and available. There’s a level of dedication that comes from podcast listeners that you don’t otherwise find. And now the numbers prove it. Podcasts aren’t a bubble, they’re a boom – and that boom is only getting louder.” – Miranda Katz


Mike Davis  |  @mikedav84

Mike Davis is a senior strategic advisor at Spark Strategy, chief podcaster at Humans of Purpose and a board director at not for profits SIMNA Ltd and L2R Dance.

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