Stories in philanthropy

Powerful and accessible philanthropy: What we know about collective giving

Nicole Richards | August 2017

New research commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership confirms that collective giving is one of the most engaging and promising ways to grow philanthropy in Australia.

The research for the newly released report, Collective giving and its role in Australian philanthropy, was undertaken by Creative Partnerships Australia, led by James Boyd and Lee Partridge.

Mr Boyd was joined by Colleen McGann, a member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership (PMCBP), during a series of briefings given in Sydney and Melbourne last week.

In Melbourne Ms McGann said the PMCB sees “significant potential” in collective giving’s ability to grow philanthropy in Australia and that by commissioning the research the PMCB sought to better understand the barriers, issues and available resources for collective giving.

Mr Boyd, himself a founder of collective giving group Impact100 WA, outlined four questions the research sought to answer:

  1. The characteristics of existing collective giving groups
  2. How collective giving differs from other forms of philanthropy
  3. Lessons learnt
  4. What the future holds for collective giving

Of the 40 known Australian giving groups that were invited to participate in the research, 17 responded.

Shared characteristics of the giving groups included that they are largely volunteer based; that they aim to give 100 per cent of funds raised to their respective grantees; and that they each seek to grow philanthropy in Australia. 

A total of 240 participants in collective giving groups were surveyed with 75 per cent of respondents aged 40-65. Sixty-four per cent of respondents had a pre-tax household income of more than $125,000.

Participation in collective giving delivered significant benefits to individuals and their communities, including:

  • 67% of participants developed a greater awareness of the needs of their communities
  • 66% developed longer-term commitments to giving and volunteering
  • 70% increased the amount of money they gave to charities.

Charities which had received collective giving grants were also surveyed and the research found that their experience had been very positive, with many charities citing unexpected benefits in addition to the funding such as incidental capacity building and greater leveraging opportunities.

Some of the inhibitors of the growth of collective giving identified by the research include difficulty for collective giving groups to obtain DGR status; different fundraising legislation across the states and the ineligibility of PAFs to donate directly to the giving groups.

The growth of collective giving in Australia was seen to be dependent upon an increase in community awareness, greater diversity and geographical reach and overcoming hurdles such as a lack of philanthropic literacy, prohibitive start-up costs and administrative burdens.

In wrapping up the formal presentation, Mr Boyd said collective giving stood to play a pivotal role in the growth of philanthropy in Australia, as “the most powerful philanthropy available to us all, not just the super rich.”

Download a copy of Collective giving and its role in Australian philanthropy from the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership website

Related coverage:

Collective giving groups attracting Australians to alternative fundraising - Sydney Morning Herald

Rise of collective giving sees a ‘closed shop’ approach – Pro Bono Australia


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