The Giving Australia 2016 report is being launched on 1 December. It’s been just over ten years since the last major survey of generosity and philanthropy in Australia was undertaken. Both these reports were initiated by the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.
The new iteration has been painstakingly worked on for more than a year by a research team at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at QUT in collaboration with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University.
We were given a little taster of the report at the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne’s annual Alumni, Students & Friends Professional Development Day. Dr Christopher Baker and Professor Jo Barraket presented some overarching findings based on more than 6000 surveys to households, 24 focus groups and 9 one-on-one interviews with engaged donors that they have conducted over the last year.
There have been some significant changes in the philanthropy landscape since 2005, not least being the growth of Private Ancillary Funds and the global financial crisis.
Anyway, here for your reading pleasure are some headline results which I found interesting:
- Volunteering has increased
- Business giving is greater – particularly through partnerships with not for profit organisations
- There is a trend towards the democratisation of philanthropy (giving circles, peer to peer fundraising, crowdfunding, online technologies supporting giving) – but there is no hard evidence of the changes this is creating – the trend has been reported anecdotally and is considered “aspirational”.
The key insights from the report relate to what matters. Here’s the list:
- Culture matters – the underlying norms and values of our communities
- Family and community matters
- Mechanisms for giving matter
- Impact matters – that is, the idea of making a difference, having agency and being able to play a part in things which matter, seeing the fruits of one’s labour and giving while living – not SROI, outcomes, evaluation or statistics.
- Ease and access to giving matters (some PAFS commented on barriers to giving and the need for legal advice in order to operate within the regulations).
- Infrastructure matters
and here’s a new acronym for us: EAST – easy, accessible, sociable and timely – where giving is made simpler and makes more sense, it attracts more support.
A few more thoughts on changes since 2005:
- Capturing the diversity of giving and the giving experience is still a challenge.
- There is more emphasis now on impact
- Donors are more open to longer term investment
- There is strong interest in transparency and evaluation
- Donors want to engage with their communities in co-creating solutions
- Donors want to understand where their money lands.
The report has noted some perceptions of generational shifts in that younger people and retirees are more likely to volunteers while middle-aged people are more likely to give (reflecting their time availability). Younger people also want to align their giving with their careers, creating meaning with their work. (I hope to have a post on Effective Altruism up soon which pushes this idea very strongly).
There is a strong sentiment among those who do give that everyone with the capacity to do so, should do so.
There is strong support for broader accessibility to giving structures like private ancillary funds.
So what does the report tell us about the future of giving in Australia?
There is a strengthening culture of giving, there is support for diversity in giving platforms, people want to encourage collaborative efforts (between communities, philanthropists and government) and there is strong support for innovation such as matched funding, more policy to boost giving and greater transparency.
I look forward to reading the full report once it is launched, and to hearing your comments and reactions.