Philanthropy Australia launches roadmap to boost structured giving

The country’s peak body for philanthropy has unveiled an ambitious roadmap to steer and double the level of structured giving in Australia over the next decade. 

Philanthropy Australia launched A Blueprint to Grow Structured Giving during its national conference in late April. The organisation aspires to grow structured giving from $2.5 billion to $5 billion annually by 2030.  

In the report, Philanthropy Australia issued a call for action across the philanthropic, not-for-profit, business and government sectors to achieve its goals. 

The Philanthropy Australia team hopes to capitalise on the $2.6 trillion intergenerational wealth transfer expected to occur in the next 20 years and build on corporate giving which stands at an all-time high ($1.1 billion in 2020 with a 17 per cent increase on the previous year). 

The blueprint notes that structured giving, which involves using a vehicle like public or private ancillary funds, sub-funds, charitable trusts, gifts in Wills and giving circles, accounts for approximately 20 per cent of total annual donations in Australia and is critical because it encourages higher giving levels by donors.  

The report warns that the proportion of Australians who give has been trending down for 15 years and that arresting this decline could save as much as $16 billion in “lost” donations by 2030.  

It also notes that while the number of wealthy Australians is increasing, the number of well-off people who donate is decreasing. In 2017-18, just 54.5 per cent of people earning over $1 million per annum claimed tax-deductible donations compared to 90 per cent in the United States. Lifting the percentage of wealthy donors in Australia would have dramatic impact for society.  

Priorities outlined in the roadmap include measures to support public trust and confidence in charities, increasing awareness and education around philanthropy, and engaging more of Australia’s high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. 

In a media release, Philanthropy Australia’s CEO, Jack Heath, said the blueprint lays out an ambitious but achievable framework for philanthropic growth at a time when it’s needed most. 

“As we build back from the 2019-20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that there has never been a more important time for philanthropy to act, to strengthen and to grow. 

“Philanthropy has a critical and unique role to play in addressing the many pressing social challenges facing society. It can kickstart new ways of addressing disadvantage, take risks where the government does not, and provide both immediate and long-term response in times of great need.” 

The first stage of the blueprint identifies 10 initiatives that Philanthropy Australia believes can help boost structured giving. These include removing barriers to donating excess superannuation, reforming the deductible gift recipient framework to broaden and simplify access to DGR status for charities, introducing a Living Legacy Trust for mature-aged donors, and cutting red tape to enable community foundations to distribute funding directly to beneficiaries in their local areas.  

The blueprint represents stage one of a four-stage process that will unfold over the next decade. The next phase focuses on building a coalition of support, bringing together a diverse group of leaders to collectively work out the blueprint’s execution and plan specific initiatives, such as a national giving campaign. 

The report also recommends the need for programs that teach children about philanthropy at school from an early age and ways to foster the next generation of philanthropists.  

Philanthropy Australia works with funders, investors and social change agents to achieve positive social, cultural and community change by leveraging their financial assets and influence.  

Want to know more? Download a copy of A Blueprint to Grow Structured Givinghere.