Research and information

The latest factual and statistical research and information about the philanthropic sector in Australia.

As the national peak body for philanthropy, we use our expertise and connections to bring you the latest data, facts, statistics, analysis and research on a rage of topics related to philanthropy and the not-for-profit sector.

Discover our latest and research and information about the world of philanthropy.

Giving trends and opportunities


Policy documents and submissions

Research papers and reports

News and stories

Latest Research from Philanthropy Australia

Polling on giving research (Overview, Research Report and Community Case), The RedBridge Group and Philanthropy Australia, 2022. In November 2022, Philanthropy Australia engaged research firm Redbridge to gauge the opportunities and challenges ahead for the double giving agenda. Redbridge polled more than 2,500 people across Australia revealing insights on key pillars or motivations for giving  and very strong support for initiatives to increase giving in Australia through:

  • Super bequests
  • Extending DGR to all charities, not just some
  • The choice to donate as part of the tax return process  
  • A National Giving Campaign  
  • Changing tax laws to better incentivise giving

Philanthropy Australia and Community Foundations Australia (CFA) collaborated on a joint submission detailing a strategic roadmap, exploring the opportunity to grow Australia’s community foundation network.

This submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Philanthropy outlines the opportunity to grow and strengthen community foundations, in support of the Government’s agenda to double giving, and to enhance community foundations contribution to Australian civic life. It outlines a roadmap for how community foundations can work together with Government and the Australian community, to double giving and grow community foundations by 2030 for long-term community benefit.

Contact us

To learn more about our research or to let us know about any relevant research or information that we can add to this page, contact Rebecca Moriarty, Project Manager, at [email protected]

Research and information from other organisations

Our curated list of research and information from other organisations working in the philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors.

Ancillary Funds 2000–2020 and Ancillary Funds 2020-2021 by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology, 2022. This research paper presents 20 years’ of ancillary fund data (Private Ancillary Funds and Public Ancillary Funds) in Australia, including:

  • Growth in the number of ancillary funds,
  • The donations received and distributions made,
  • The assets of the funds and
  • Cause areas distributions were made into.

The Corporate Support Report, by John McLeod, JBWere, 2022. This report covers the growing interest in corporate giving and community investment detailing:

  • The evolution of the corporate community relationship,
  • The shape of corporate Australia,
  • The broad range of assets and capabilities corporates can bring to impact focussed partnerships,
  • Considerations for corporate community investment initiatives and
  • Considerations for community and the for-purpose sector

Giving Large by Jarrod Miles, Strive Philanthropy, 2022. This report sets out to highlight the considerable community contributions being made by some of Australia’s top companies:

  • The emerging trends in corporate giving, dubbed, the new ‘frontier of corporate philanthropy’
  • Community contribution by company, sector and overall top 50
  • Percentage of pre-tax profit & earnings by company, sector & top 50
  • Primary cause areas by company, sector and top 50
  • Assurance, standardisation & itemisation of giving by company, sector and top 50
  • Analysis of most common cause areas and sectors

Paying what it takes, 2022, by Centre for Social Impact and Social Ventures Australia. Additional in-depth case studies are here. The prevailing funding model for not-for-profits is failing to cover indirect operating costs, threatening capability and effectiveness across the sector. The research uncovered four key points:

  • Indirect costs are not a good way to assess charities: not-for-profits that spend less on indirect costs are not more effective than those who do not. Evidence shows that spending insufficient resources on indirect costs can potentially reduce overall not-for-profit effectiveness.
  • True indirect costs are not being covered by funders: on average, the true indirect costs of each organisation were 33% of their overall costs. Yet many organisations believe, potentially incorrectly, that funders are mostly unwilling to fund above 20% or – even lower.
  • Low indirect costs reduce capability and effectiveness: the not-for-profits that participated in the study universally underinvested into their core capability. This increases risk, forces organisations to search for untied funding and introduces inefficiencies.
  • The drivers of indirect cost underfunding are complex: the complexity of measuring not-for-profit effectiveness, the power dynamics in the funder–fundee relationship, and a lack of consistency of measurement all contribute to this issue.

Five reports in the Partners in Recovery series by Centre for Social Impact and Social Ventures Australia. This series explores the unique social and economic contribution charities make to Australian society and how they are affected by the confluence of service disruption, falling income, rising demand and higher operating costs. The financial vulnerability of over 16,000 charities were explored providing key insights including:

  • Many charities operate with thin or no margin and did so even before the COVID crisis,
  • Many charities operate with limited reserves,
  • A majority of charities reported that recent events had put strain on their financial operations, and more than half of the organisations were worried they would not be able to provide their services in the current economic climate.

Philanthropy – The Continued Journey to Real Impact and Better Practice by Liz Gilles, Jodi York and Kate McKegg, 2021. This report follows on from the 2018 report – Philanthropy: Towards a Better Practice Model – a ground-breaking survey of foundations. Following the 2018 report a deep dive research program was established and the survey was repeated. The findings were captured in the 2021 report delivering insights into:

  • How things have changed, or not, over time
  • The 5 pillars of best practice
  • What challenges exist
  • What the pathway to better outcomes can look like

Giving Well – By Avoiding Big Mistakes, by Koda Capital, 2020. A short and sharp report highlighting the major mistakes to avoid in your philanthropy. The list was put together by a deeply experienced and dedicated philanthropy advisory team. The mistakes are summarised under five themes:

  • ‘Sunscreen’ philanthropy
  • ‘Teenage’ philanthropy
  • ‘Zombie’ philanthropy
  • ‘Cryptic’ philanthropy
  • ‘Drone’ philanthropy

The Support Report: The changing shape of giving and the significant implications for recipients by John McLeod, JBWere, 2018. An in-depth analysis of the changing face of giving in Australia. The report explores:

  • How philanthropy is quickly evolving in Australia,
  • The types of givers who support each cause area and those cause areas’ reliance on philanthropic income,
  • he dramatic difference in who, why, where and the way support is provided across donor segments and
  • The need for rapid evolution amongst non-profits to continue to attract support, particularly in certain cause areas.

The Cause Report – 20 years of (r)evolution in the not-for-profit sector, by John McLeod, JBWere, 2016: This report details the significant growth of the sector over 20 years exploring:

  • The scale, scope and significance of the charitable and not-for-profit sector,
  • The long term trends across the sector,
  • The headwinds in relation to sustainability and volunteerism and
  • A breakdown of data at a sector level.

Giving Australia, by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, 2016. The research provides comprehensive information about:

  • giving and volunteering behaviours,
  • attitudes and trends in Australia and 
  • It establishes benchmark data to measure changes in the giving of money and time, providing a strong evidence base to assist future policy decisions to grow giving and volunteering in Australia.

A study of professional advisers in Australia, by Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology, 2016. This is the fourth study conducted of professional advisers since 2002, investigating the views and experiences of philanthropy:

  • Attitudes towards philanthropy,
  • How many advisers discuss philanthropy with their clients and
  • The motivations, constraints and actions of advisers discussing philanthropy with their clients.

Encouraging charitable bequests by Australians, by Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology, 2014. This report offers one of the strongest evidence-based analysis of charitable bequests in Australia, providing an understanding of:

  • Charitable bequest giving practices by Australians,
  • The inheritance practices that help shape charitable bequest giving and
  • Providing evidence-base insights on bequest giving for the public, policymakers, fundraisers, advisory professionals and the non-for-profit sector audience