External Trends Impacting the NFP Sector in 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The year 2017 has begun in an environment of perplexed global sentiment. From Brexit to the election of President Trump, the last 9 months have been far from a smooth ride on the world stage, showing a trend towards growing isolationism and increasing uncertainty.

At the national level, for most advanced economies, this uncertainty has bred an increase in nationalism, and a move away from globalisation. In Australia, our response – in part fuelled by our strong work ethic and historic undercurrent – makes us all just want to ‘get on with it’ and get the job done.

For the not for profit sector, this means working hard at strategic initiatives, managing external risk, and taking bold initiatives to engage donors. Our conversations with the NFP sector at this time of year often involves developing strategic brand tracking to measure public engagement, or testing specific brand assets to develop powerful advertising campaigns.

Yet, before delving into the tools of marketing and communications, it is critical that NFPs grasp the trends and undercurrents taking place in the external environment, particularly those that impact donor giving. Here are three trends we feel are critical for the NFP sector to grapple with in 2017:

1. Charity saturation and the need for brand differentiation

According to JBWere’s Cause Report (2016), Australia has 56,894 NFP organisation, one NFP for every 422 individuals. The number of not for profit organisations has doubled every 20 years over the last 60 years – and despite cancelling and closure of some charities by the ACNC, there are still around 10 new charities established every business day.

2. Overall decline in public giving necessitating new fundraising initiatives

Charitable giving has been lower in Australia in 2016 than in years prior. The NAB Charitable Giving Index indicates that national giving is down, by a decrease of 0.3% growth in the 12 months leading up to Aug 2016. This compares to 5.1% growth a year earlier. While there has been resilience in the Australian economy during this time, consumers are more cautious than before, reflected by these figures.

3. Younger generations giving less and seeking experiential engagement

60% of Australian donors agree that charities will face a more difficult future as younger generations don’t seem to volunteer in an ongoing way or give as much as the generations before them (McCrindle Australian Communities Trends Report, 2016). NAB data shows that those aged 15 to 24 give just $135 on average, annually, to charities, compared to those over 65 who give $452 on average.


A number of these trends are explained by a rise in the cost of living across Australia. Take Sydney housing as a case example of the growing cost of living pressures. In 1975, Sydney house prices were just 5x average annual earnings. By 1995 they had risen to 6x average annual earnings, but today – when taking the average annual salary of $80,000 per year and the median house price of well over $1 million – the average house price is 13x the cost of an average annual full-time salary.

Australian donors are finding it more difficult to give, and to give regularly. As the traditional, dependable, regular donor shrinks as a proportion of all donors, new types of donors are emerging –brand responders and opportunity givers.


Brand responders and opportunity givers donate sporadically, in an ad-hoc way. These types of donors are still more likely to give to a single charity or cause than to multiple causes, and have a strong preference for a particularly cause or charity.

Through speaking with more than a dozen NFP experts, 54 donors face to face, and surveying 1,500 Australians, we have identified four key next steps for the charitable sector to take into account in 2017:

1. Develop Multi-Tiered Levels of Engagement

Donors want to be involved with charities, but on their own terms. Rather than fixed contracts, they desire flexible giving and varied involvement. The demand for personalisation is growing as donors expect charity engagement suited to their age and life stage.

2. Build Communities for Social Impact

Australian donors desire to be part of a community of activists that bring about social change. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves, knowing that together they can make a difference. This is not just ‘clicktivism’, which is seen merely as a form of virtue signalling through web-based activist organisations. Globally, networks like Avaaz.org and Change.org have created opportunities for real-life engagement of social issues, facilitated first through online platforms.

3. Communicate Results in Real-Time

Donors want real-time results and transparent reporting of admin costs. Platforms such as GiveDirectly.org now enable donors to give directly to an individual living in extreme poverty via mobile giving. KIVA, a lending platform facilitating crowd-sourced micro loans across the globe, displays the giving of loans in real-time via an interactive world map. When donors have this type of visibility, trust and engagement follow.

4. Create Fun and Engaging Experiences

The donor of the future is looking for participation and memories created through experiences. Nearly half (46%) of 18-29 year-old Australian donors have volunteered for a charity (compared to 31% of 30+ donors), and they are looking to do so in new, fresh ways. This is not just contained to events and a physical presence at sporting events or music festivals. Many young donors (1 in 4 of those aged 18-29, compared to just 11% of 30+ year-old donors) prefer the creative challenge of conducting their own fundraising events, providing them with the opportunity to harness their unique gifts and talents for a great cause.

-Eliane Miles


For more information on Australian Donors, see the Australian Communities Trends Report Infographic.

Connect with us if you would like more information on environmental scanning for strategic forecasting.


Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways. Download Eliane's professional speaking pack here.

To inquire about Eliane presenting at your next event, please feel free to get in touch.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


not for profit responsive Christmas research millennials forum resource ipswich greatness the lucky country analysis employmer medicine townhouses change Sydney’s south west NBRS Queensland university finance teachers monarchy hornsby school students high density social analysis money food marrickville leadership workshop NFP event baby boom cartodb Performance Sentiment Index digital internship perth ACF17 future of education ferry Sydney changing face of sydney economic office space Births 2016 census Adelaide What is food insecurity? Sydney Hills Business Chamber emerging technologies land of the middle class belief video research data Australian Census Christmas season tea chairty study fresh infographics futurist socialites workforce spirituality generation Z 2020 careers Wagga Wagga financial dreams wealth and income distribution sydneycity baby name predictions financial planning Word Up impact customer commuting GPO optus my business awards marketing environmental scanning Scouts New South Wales click sector google victoria church professional development moderators guide surnames Australia Day collaborative infographic wall survey design average sydneysider dreams Australian schools January 26th innovative bureau shopping centre train property young australians educated business twentyseventeen christmas trees data analyst ACT survey Bathburst australian social research business index national wealth student affordable Research Director professional presenters australian community trends report brand experience wedding faux-cilise researcher consumer charity housing growth EFF the hills shire skills criminal hobart WA Willowdale Gen Y life learning styles men education research work mates area house Do It Yourself affordability social life thrive recap state business performance Tuesday Trends TED workplace culture professional Australians thought leadership real South Australia future proofing wealth alpha australian communities forum shbc mccrindle tea overcast Cobbitty-Leppington conference wealth inequality the australian dream publication Business analysis education sector contiki 1994 mateship clothing father's day Black Friday mining boom financial deloitte social shifts Christmas day paying to work cost of living VET sector snapshot ashley mckenzie brand car outsourcing national crime rates high school wealth distribution australian communities trends report culturally diverse Social Trend teacher logan REIV Conference university degree new office cloudy days authenticity Royals 1980 city increasing densification Mount Annan-Currant Hill water renter of the future program baby names report offenders stay home VET in the media equip "know the times" Lower Hunter Region educhat gig hopes Australian Home Wellington Sydney keynote speaker acf15 fears village social commentary suburbs brands Sydney Lifestyle Study Canberra housing market Jura Coffee Western Australia care support home ownership in depth interviews market research the hills Love mortgage 1975 ashley fell easter focus group budget ethnography social analyst generational trends TED talk Financial Planning Association of Australia sector wide study PSI narcissism conferences culture demographer case study online shopping entrepreneurs of today parents commute Australian Trends US baby eliane wolloomooloo New Zealand volunteer household house prices christianity sydney event commuters social commentator low density stats residents participants James Ward travelling food insecurity identity education future report newspaper Skilling leader trends analyst purpose Channel Seven sustainable names youth unemployment christmas leadersip Black Friday in Australia capital city the changing face of not-for-profit volunteering data work-life gen z divorce TEDx weather healthy future investor Australian communities average aussie post rationalism research speaker Crime Rates small business graphs bus social research workshop urban living nfp global social impact volunteering visualisation Netflix population milestone public holiday resilience sector wide forecasting Wodonga safe daily commute Vocational education child care office high density apartments generation Elderslie-Harrington park house price employment mccrindle research relevant screenagers trades australian real estate politics coffee debate Andrew Duffin maiden names McCrindle Speaker suburban living intern sydney metro teleworking owning a home seasons greetings networking Melbourne trend HSC TAS states average Australian holiday panel growth conference speaker supply and demand organisations Population Clock megatrends presentations local community Australian Families property price entrepreneur living teaching crows nest waverton mobile future of work home owner ACF 2016 bondi financial independence Jura Australia organisational culture census future-proof sunny days sydneysider goals cooking motivate eliane miles grave decision charities award training spend huffington post holidays ACF Christmas data McCridle rain rent personalities Research Executive demographics baby name trends facts media activity royal influence entrepreneurial DESTEL school satisfaction ideas typical australian year 7 Northern Beaches personal growth blaxland Kirsten Brewer quote students social trends insight internships Kiwi divorce rate 2015 income neutral bay anzac speakers pack employers DIY infographic sydney market vegemite rich emerging generations urban taskforce socialising Hills Shire Council Charlotte Generation Y prince george optimistic Sydney population Retail apartment financial future unemployment Assistant Store Manager sydney speaker poker master grandparents hills shire storytelling population map dreaming toys shifts Territory weekly earnings celebration McCrindle Keynote Speakers Australian demographics trends of 2017 keynote dessert choice workers CPI Northern beaches Event faith group long weekend the average aussie conference presentation communicate McCrindle Speakers 24 million staying in future proof digital economy high density living friends litter interactive woolworths Work place 2012 christian earnings Australian Dream baby name census fail NSW national private wealth property market experience social issues workplace Australian Communities Trends Maxim Accounting demography social lives slideshare winter cold media release cancelling event domestic data visualisation internet giving young people royal manly food bank curiosity Deaths mover and shaker goal non profit global financial crisis SMSF System's Architect learn demographic trends innovation event sports tableau unaffordable Macquarie University live the dream social research report list darwin population gender who is generation z gold coast urban social enquiry NT tattoos Black Friday Sales generations daily telegraph census data New Zeland speajer research services renting 2016 world cica relational ease of travel sydney hills winter blues social researchers energy FPA Christmas lunch schools students research on coffee aged care Tuesday Trend Australia street Geoff Brailey happiness Aussies forecast wellbeing mccrindle in the media 23 million friendship breakfast retirement engagement surname ACF2017 Aussie Financial Planning Week wage lifestyle mythbusting FOMO TEDx Speaker Australian Bureau of Statistics potts point baby names australia report public transport report work from home hello fresh tuesday aged care puzzle Australian Population micro The ABC of XYZ family community school plans 2016 census results #censusfail 10 years omnibus couple hunger baby boomers ACT Report Financial Planning Association crime royal family mentor qualitative research shopper's pick 2013 summer households tv lalor park follow 2014 focus groups selfie education balance Northern Beaches Christian School meals sydneysiders gen alpha sun SRE younger generations housing house price rise faux-ciliser media commentary Mark McCrindle Tasmania investing parenting social change urban living index sunburnt country cancelling plans home etiquette trends families society trends Channel 7 buildings language Lower Hunter christmas 2017 social media future youth Education Future Forum maiden australians staying home more Australia Day 2017 suburb research visualisation global retail faux-cilising government Duchess of Cambridge religion kate middleton NEETs rise of local women going out research pack local communities learning transport royal baby ageing February 16 ABS year 12 jobs of the future future of shopping SA proactive IT Specialists hills environment Merry Christmas Christmas presents cash salary vegetarian tips volunteers marriage earn communication Res Vis Generation X schools baby names communities meetings not for profit research census results showreel economy global generations mccrindle teach travel communications Australian community trends Hunter Valley brisbane career employmee 40 million rental stress JOMO casual rising house prices mccrinlde census 2016 World Water Day media seasons Northern Territory professional speaker pharmacy Hornsby Shire Council work community engagement keynote speaker gig economy Real Estate Christmas Stats repayments entertainment debt millenials 24,000,000 emerging trends product new york times Engineering Manager screenage easy rider earning capital cities 1968 marriages dare to dream investment financial fears consumerism aussie culture public speaking middle class local pharmacies presentation pyrmont professional services wealth and income technology menai speakers statistics insights news wages REIV National Conference Christmas day weather The Daily Edition leadership SMART Christchurch Gen X tertiary education cost cultural diveristy visual ageing population ultimo demographic TDE Valentine’s Day nativity scene urban development events property development annual income do people still change their surname after marriage? define growing population community event dream Queensland: QLD VIC rule keeper geomapping population growth housing trends housing affordability 2017 Gen Z Expert NBRS Architecture Mark McCrindle in the media australia cars social researcher results group session trend tuesday cultural diversity growth of sydney Real Estate Institute of Victoria priorities children office opening trends of 2016 apartments the great screenage princess charlotte world youth day education future millionth learner australian poor HR Myth happy holidays Christmas in Australia google for education coffee lovers public speaker CBD Caregiver award winner jobs micro apartments sentiments donation data challenge moreton bay collaboration optus English staff story demographic transformations sydney property market shopping online donate generation alpha mother's day mythbusters know the times society builders cancel plans engage norwest