Telescope report reveals philanthropy’s hopes and ideas for 2023

A new report from Philanthropy Australia has identified the ideas and issues which will shape Australia’s philanthropic sector in 2023.

The report, titled The Better Philanthropy Telescope as outlining the world issues that philanthropists and not-for-profits will face together in 2023, the report identifies “10 ideas that will matter”, which indicate the ways in which philanthropy itself may start to change in the coming year.

The top priority in this area is “addressing power imbalances,” with one survey respondent calling for “a further shift in the dynamic and power relations between funders and grant recipients so that a truer sense of partnership is created.”

The need to measure impact, deeper collaboration and Paying What It Takes also emerged as important ideas, echoing some of the themes which came out of Philanthropy Australia’s conference earlier this year.

The report consolidates survey findings from over 100 participants from across the country. Both funders and not-for-profits took part by answering 6 questions to establish which world issues, challenges, and opportunities the sector would need to respond to in the year ahead.

As well as painting a picture of the direction the sector wants to go in the coming year, the report provides a snapshot of what philanthropy in Australia looks like at the end of 2022.

“There is much wisdom and leadership residing across Australia’s philanthropic space which should be collected and shared,” says the report.

Survey respondents were given the chance to name the influencers and restrictors on giving this year. Their answers revealed that many organisations are still recovering from the impact of COVID-19, with restrictions on gatherings were cited as a limit on activity. However, some participants saw an increase in funding, which they attribute to COVID creating a new narrative and an urgent need for support.

DGR-1 status requirements were also highlighted as a restrictor in 2022. Changes to the legislation surrounding these requirements emerged as one of the key things the sector is hoping for in the new year.

When asked about the year ahead, respondents named Affordable housing, First Nations, climate change alongside economic downturn and systems change as the “Big World Issues” for 2023.

Philanthropy Australia’s Executive Director of Engagement, Adam Ognall said that the Telescope report would inform the organisation’s decision making in the year ahead.

“Informed by what is front of mind for our members, Telescope seeks to identify the trends, issues and opportunities that will shape the better giving agenda in 2023,” he said. “I encourage you to read the full report to get a sneak peek of our conversations for next year.” 

Philanthropy Australia CEO Jack Heath called the survey a “pulse check”.

“[It’s] benchmark that we can use in the future – to inform the conversation and motivate us to do better,” he said.

Philanthropy Australia ran the 2022 Telescope survey as a pilot but anticipates that that it will become an annual initiative. You can view the full Better Philanthropy Telescope report here.