Australian Community Trends Report

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The sector that most directly and deliberately improves and supports Australian communities is the not-for-profit sector. 

Charities are in many ways the heart of Australia. Their value to this nation is demonstrated by the almost $135 billion given in the last year, most of it by the community rather than government.

The esteem of this sector is demonstrated by the size of the charity workforce, which employs one in every ten Australian workers. This is second in size only to retail. In addition to the 1.2 million Australians employed by not-for-profits are the 3.6 million volunteers, all of which makes charities by far Australia’s largest labour force.

While one in five Australian adults has volunteered for a community organisation in the last year, four in five adults have given financially to such organisations, of these one in four give at least monthly.

The landscape for charities is rapidly changing, with generation change, demographic shifts and technological transformation. For the average charity, half of their supporters have joined them since this decade began – and over the same period of time, the nation has grown by almost three million people.


The purpose of this annual Australian Communities Report is to equip leaders in the sector to respond with relevance to the changing external environment and the emerging trends. This 2017 study builds on the results from the 2016 and 2015 research and offers insights to help Australia’s not-for-profit leaders continue to create ripples of change that over time will build the capacity of communities locally, nationally and indeed globally.

Click here to download your free copy. 


About McCrindle 

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends.

Our expertise is analysing findings and effectively communicating insights and strategies. Our skills are in designing and deploying world class social and market research. Our purpose is advising organisations to respond strategically to the trends and so remain ever-relevant in changing times. As social researchers we help organisations, brands and communities know the times.

Feel free to Contact us to find out more about our research services.

Are the rich getting richer?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Australia has long been considered the land of the fair go. It is a nation regarded as a classless society where the suburbs were the social equalisers- a melting pot of lawyers and labourers, teachers and tradies.

The ‘great Australian dream’ where people on average incomes near the start of their working life could afford a home is fading and the latest data reveals a widening wealth gap.

What are the drivers of this wealth stratification?

Property prices and ownership

The latest HILDA data from the University of Melbourne showed that two decades ago, one in three young people aged 18 - 39 owned a property, compared to today, where just one in four young people own a property.

The impact of growing demand on house prices is most evident when comparing prices to average earnings. Twenty years ago, the average Sydney house was 5.6 times average annual earnings while in Melbourne it was an affordable 3.4 times annual earnings.

Today, Sydney homes are more than 14 times average earnings, and in Melbourne more than 11 times annual earnings.

Generational challenge

The generational financial inequities are even more pronounced when analysing net wealth by generational cohort.

While Gen Y have a household net worth of $268,800, it is less than half that of the Gen Xers who are just a decade older. The highest net worth generation in Australia are the Boomers aged 55-64 who not only have a net wealth almost 5 times that of the generation of their children (Gen Y) but they still have a decade or more of earnings and wealth accumulating ahead of them.

How can we level the playing field?

Policy has partly created the rising house prices through migration settings and therefore population growth. Policy settings have also created the SMSF demand for property and tax settings such as negative gearing have been a boon for property investment. Therefore policy could also assist in bringing a solution such as assisting in intergenerational wealth transfer or allowing superannuation fund access for first-home buyers. For a generation finding it harder to get a foothold in property, further research into possible policy adjustments is a worthwhile approach.

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.

2017 Australian Communities Forum Recap

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Last Friday, McCrindle and AlphaSys were proud to present the Australian Communities Forum (ACF) at Customs House in Sydney. The ACF featured 14 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed sessions. We began the day with tea and coffee on arrival before kicking off our first session, which focused on the research results from the Australian Communities Trends Report into Australia's not-for-profit sector. Before we launched into the findings we received a warm welcome from Councillor Jess Miller on behalf of our event sponsor, the City of Sydney.


Eliane Miles opened Session 1 with a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Eliane provided an overview of giving in Australia, indicating that 4 in 5 Australians give financially to charities / not-for-profits, the top 8 causes Australians are supporting and the 5 charity essentials.

Mark McCrindle continued the theme of presenting results by exploring some of the key insights from the 2016 Census results. Australia’s population is growing, ageing and changing. Mark also explored how not-for-profit organisations can respond to our changing nation.

Each of our delegates also received a copy of The Australian Communities Trends Infographic which contains the top line findings from the national study into Australian giving and how charities can engage.


After a networking break over morning tea Lalita Stables, head of strategic business at Google shared an engaging keynote presentation on strategy essentials that can be applied in local communities. Lalita spoke to leadership in an organisation, how Google have both a culture of innovation and information, and encouraged organisations to have a mission, transparency and a voice.

Our next keynote, Justin Yoon – founder and director at AlphaSys who was our event partner this year, delivered an engaging keynote address on how when building authentic communities, technology isn’t always the answer. Justin encouraged us to get ‘SLOSH-ed’ – or in other words, to ensure organisations Strategise, Listen, Orchestrate, Start simple and value Human experience.

Our final keynote was delivered by Jonnie Farrell, founder of start-up Adventure Squad and previously a product designer at Airtasker. Jonnie inspired and challenged us to think like a start-up and to trust our instincts, work hard and have a pure intent. From his experience in start-ups and entrepreneurism, Jonnie encouraged delegates to build, measure and learn.



In this stream, Richenda Vermeulen, CEO at ntegirty, began the session by challenging our audience with research-based insights on the four keys to achieving digital success. Ben Littlejohn from Act for Peace then spoke about promoting a start-up campaign using social and mainstream media, from Act for Peace’s Ration Challenge. Our final speaker for tis stream, Andrew Hill who is the community and fundraising director at The Salvation Army, shared how The Red Shield Appeal recently incorporated electronic giving into its appeal.


Graham Catt, CEO of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) began our second stream on community trends by sharing how the AVA uses environmental scanning to identify the trends taking place in the external environment and how to respond to them. Tony Holland, the CEO of OzHelp, then shared the inspiring story of how OzHelp’s tune-up program is reaching people where they live and work. Josh Crowther then concluded our second stream by sharing valuable insights from research conducted by Dunham+Company into donor trends and Australians giving behaviours.


Following afternoon tea and some great networking, we gathered back together to hear from our last two speakers, Andy Meier from Strategic Minds Communication and Sam RefShauge from batyr.

Andy Meier, director of Strategic Minds Communications kicked off our afternoon session by giving us some key insights into the power of video storytelling. Andy shared how a good story has a narrative, and that stories inspire us towards action.

Our last speaker of the day was Sam Refshauge, the CEO and executive director at batyr. Sam shared the inspiring story of how batyr came to be, and how to engage and communicate with Generation Z, we need to be innovative, create communities, encourage and empower, and utulise peer-to-peer interaction for this emerging generation.


We would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates for making the 2017 Australian Communities Forum a fantastic event. A big thank you to our primary sponsors Database Consultants Australia and the City of Sydney for your support in making this happen.

Australian Communities Report

Friday, September 08, 2017

The sector that most directly and deliberately improves and supports Australian communities is the not-for profit sector. Charities are in many ways the heart of Australia and their value to this nation is demonstrated by the almost $135 billion given in the last year, most of it by the community rather than government. The esteem of this sector is demonstrated by the size of the charity workforce, which employs 1 in every 10 Australian workers, and is second in size only to retail. In addition to the 1.2 million Australians employed by not-for-profits are the 3.6 million volunteers, all of which makes charities by far Australia’s largest labour force.

While 1 in 5 Australian adults has volunteered for a community organisation in the last year, 4 in 5 adults have given financially to such organisations, with 1 in 4 giving at least monthly.

With generation change, demographic shifts and technological transformation, the landscape for charities is rapidly changing. For the average charity, half of their supporters have joined them since this decade began- and over the same period of time, the nation has grown by almost 3 million people.

The purpose of this annual Australian Communities Report is to equip leaders in the sector to respond with relevance to the changing external environment and the emerging trends. This 2017 study builds on the results from the 2016 and 2015 research and offers insights to help Australia’s not-for-profit leaders continue to create ripples of change that over time will build the capacity of communities locally, nationally and indeed globally.

View the full infographic here. 

The Australian Communities Forum

The Australian Communities Forum is a one-day event that guides not-for-profit and community-focused for-profit organisations on the key demographic and social trends transforming Australian communities.

This year’s event has a particular focus on digital engagement and technological disruption. We will also be launching new research for the sector at the event. View the program and register your attendance here. 

Why 30-somethings are leaving mainstream work

Monday, September 04, 2017

Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 1994, are changing careers more than previous generations. They are post-linear in their job outlook, and will work across multiple jobs and sectors throughout their career.

They are an entrepreneurial generation, largely because they have the technology enablement to start businesses or to find new roles. They are able to plug back into education more regularly to upskill or retrain.

The flexibility of this life stage enables Generation Y to try new endeavours. They have a little more financial backing during this particular life stage, and they don’t have the same commitments as they move into their thirties as their parents did at the same age, like children and mortgages. This has enabled them to be more career mobile than their parents were at the same age.

The downside of heading out from a stable job to try something new is that it might not work out financially. The challenge of not having a mortgage to pay is that it can leave the thirty-somethings, perhaps when they are in their forties, further behind financially than where their parents were at the same age.

And so while it’s not as exciting to join the career ladder and climb the rungs, it does provide the benefit of long term earnings. Locking into the mortgage does have the asset-appreciation benefit, and therefore a retirement vehicle that we know is important as Australians move into the later years of their life. 

You can find out more about Mark McCrindle here, or to have him present at your next event, please get in touch

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