August 28th, 2015
A recent survey released by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) found that nine out of ten people donate to charity -- and 78 percent of these donate on a regular basis. This equates to over $4 billion in donations each year (ABS 2014).
In addition to this quiet broad-based support, we have individual high profile philanthropists, such as Graham Tuckwell and Judith Neilson, giving large sums. We have also recently seen reports that Gina Rinehart may give away a large portion of her sizeable fortune. Beyond being great news for charities, this also brings to light some interesting aspects about the nature of charitable giving in Australia.
We're definitely big givers -- but unlike Ms Rinehart, by and large we don't talk about it. This might be because we're reticent to draw attention to ourselves (the tall poppy syndrome). Unlike other cultures where people are open about their charitable contributions, the majority of Australians do not openly discuss their monetary donations - even with their close friends and family.
We may mention a fun run we're doing, a child we sponsor, a cause we are raising money for -- we may even feel comfortable saying we donated to a natural disaster or have our name up on the TV for a split second for a hospital appeal -- but speaking about the money we donate on a regular basis is not a topic most of us are willing to discuss.
On top of this, the way Australians donate is changing. Australian's have a strong history of volunteering and helping out in a crisis. However, there is evidence that Australian is becoming much more like the United States in terms of giving.
Philanthropy Australia, Chris Wootton agrees, "There is evidence that we are moving towards a model of charitable giving which more closely resembles the United States -- with more large gifts, but also more strategic approaches to 'grass roots' giving."
In conversation with Nicole Richards at the Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit, Daniel Lee shared his insights on topics including the role of philanthropy as a driver of systems change which addresses root causes of social challenges, the relationship between philanthropy and government and what the new political environment in the United States means for philanthropy.
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