Australian giving steps up: ACPNS report

Australians significantly boosted their charitable giving in the 2017-18 financial year, donating a total of $3.75 billion. That’s nearly an eight per cent increase ($265 million) on the previous year.

The report, produced annually by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) examined the latest available Australian Taxation Office numbers on tax-deductible giving.

The average gift size jumped by nearly 10 per cent, going from $770 in 2016-17 to $845 in 2017-18. Another critical finding is that the total tax-deductible donations made by Australians far exceeded inflation.

The largest proportion of donations came from New South Wales, followed by Victoria and then Western Australia.

Women were more likely to give than men (2.24 million female taxpayers compared to 2.19 million male taxpayers). Australia’s wealthy also gave the most, donating 2.06 per cent of their taxable income compared to the national average of 0.43 per cent.

Despite the increase in monetary terms, the ACPNS data also revealed a concerning trend: the actual number of people giving decreased from 4.52 million in 2016-17 to 4.43 million in 2017-18. This has been a trend since 2011-12.

But those who give, are giving more.

In a media release, Associate Professor Wendy Scaife, ACPNS Centre Director, said the nation’s wealthier residents have increased their giving significantly over the past decade. The report suggested that natural disasters, the financial crisis and other catastrophes experienced over recent years might have compelled more of Australia’s well-off residents to give.

“It will be particularly interesting to see what the effects of COVID-19 will have on future giving; will we see an increase or decrease in giving over the next few years and will it change who is giving? Only time will tell,” she said.

The ACPNS tax-deductible giving report contains an analysis of tax-deductible giving by postcode, gender, state and occupation. Download the full report here.