New polling shows overwhelming support for initiatives to double giving

Fri, 31 Mar 2023

National polling released this week demonstrates “very strong” support for proposed government reforms to lift giving to charity.  The survey suggests a keen and open-hearted generosity is alive in the community and that there has been a significant change in sentiment towards a more compassionate approach across society. This indicates the Federal Government’s work to develop a strategy to double giving to charity by 2030 will be strongly supported by the Australian community.

Philanthropy Australia CEO Jack Heath and Executive Director Policy, Government Relations and Research, Sam Rosevear, together with Kos Samaras and Simon Welsh from Redbridge, went to Canberra to present the findings to the Parliamentary Friends Group, as well as engaging other key government stakeholders.

Philanthropy Australia engaged Redbridge to gauge the opportunities and challenges ahead for the double giving agenda.

Philanthropy Australia CEO Jack Heath said the results show the time is ripe to grow giving across the Australian community. 

“We want the politicians to understand that our policy agenda to double philanthropic giving will be warmly embraced by the voters and those politicians who get this message, and rally behind it, will be contributing to their own political success at a local, State and national level,” said Jack. 

MPs attending the event included Dr Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Senator Dean Smith, Shadow Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, and Senator Janet Rice, Greens Spokesperson on Charities.

The Redbridge polling of more than 2,500 people across Australia reveals very strong support for initiatives to increase giving in Australia. The survey showed that 74% of respondents agree or strongly agree that “giving brings people together and strengthens our sense of community”. Other key results included support for specific reforms, such as:

  • Super bequests (75%, with 6% opposed and 19% neutral or not sure)
  • Extending DGR to all charities, not just some (74/6/20%)
  • The choice to donate as part of the tax return process (70/9/21%)
  • A National Giving Campaign (65/7/28%)
  • Changing tax laws to better incentivise giving (66/8/26%). 

Kos Samaras, Director of Strategy and Analytics at Redbridge, said: “We do a lot of polling to test support for policy initiatives in a whole host of areas. The Philanthropy Australia results are very strong numbers – with high support and low numbers opposed. They suggest the public will welcome a package of government initiatives to help Australia double its giving to charity by 2030.”

The research included focus groups as well as polling and tested Philanthropy Australia’s core policy recommendations, as well as the framing of messaging and policy propositions. Redbridge found that the pandemic has left behind a desire for care and compassion for vulnerable groups. The work done by charities during the COVID-19 crisis looms large in participants’ minds, leaving them more amenable to the idea of giving in the future.

Three key pillars or motivations emerged:

• Personal connection – people are motivated to give where they have an emotional connection to a personal experience or something that affected loved ones

• Agency – people were particularly motivated to give where they could choose to give on their own terms, including when and how much (money or time) they give

• Community – the extent to which the act of giving makes people feel part of a bigger (cohesive) community and connects to an Australian identity of “mateship”.

Participants broadly saw charitable organisations as integral to the good functioning of society and contributing to social cohesion. Charities were seen to be able to respond quickly to profound need in the community and their capacity for human connection was also identified as key, as opposed to the “impersonal” nature of government assistance.

Previous research shows that Australia’s giving compares unfavourably with our counterparts at 0.81% of GDP, compared with 1.84% in New Zealand (and 2.1% in the US). Reaching the NZ proportion of giving would lift annual giving in Australia from $13.1 billion to $30 billion per annum. Only 29% of the Australian population give donations and received a tax concessions in 2019, down from 38% in 2011.

Philanthropy Australia’s Strategy to Double Giving to Charity by 2030 is a rare opportunity. If successful it would be transformational for Australia and would mean billions in additional support for Australians in greatest need. It would also mean more action on crucial causes, such as climate change, poverty, the early years, First Nations justice and the arts. Success would create a more generous and giving national culture – for which the latest research suggests there is already an appetite.

Philanthropy Australia’s policy agenda – available in Executive Summary and long form – has more on our policies to double giving. The full Redbridge polling report and Community Case are published online.