Australia’s not-for-profit sector sits at the heart of our national identity and is comprised of a wide variety of charities. These range from smaller organisations through to those with an annual income of over $100 million.

The Australian charities sector is growing, with approximately 54,000 registered charities in 2016– that’s 2.1 charities for every 1,000 Australians! There are 1.3 million Australians employed by charities, which makes up 10.6% of the Australian workforce and 1 in 2 (49.6%) charities operate without any paid staff, that’s 2.9 million volunteers nationally!

The Australian charities sector is extremely diverse and comprises a range of sectors. The biggest proportion are religious charities, which make up almost one in three (30.8%) charities in Australia. The next largest charity sector is that of Education and Research, which makes up nearly one-fifth (19.4%) of all charities in the country.

Source: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Australian Charities Report 2016

Giving practises in Australia

Four in five Australians give financially to charities

Four in five Australians (80%) give financially to charities/not-for-profits. A further 57% of Australians give every six months or more. This decreased slightly from 58% in 2016 and from 72% in 2015.

Positively, one in four (24%) give at least once a month, while one in five Australians (19%) do not give at all.

Those who give money are also happy to donate goods to charities

Close to three in five (57%) charitable givers have donated goods while more than one in three (34%) have volunteered for a charitable organisation.

The 2017 research results saw an increase in the proportion of charitable givers who fundraise for a specific charity, up from 17% in 2016 to 25% in 2017.

Older Australians more likely to give financially, younger Australians more likely to fundraise or promote

The older a charitable giver is, the more likely they are to give financially. More than nine in ten Builders (91%) and Baby Boomers (92%) give financially, compared to 85% of Gen X and 70% of Gen Y.  The same is true for donating goods, with 65% of Builders doing so compared to 58% of Baby Boomers, 61% of Gen X and 50% Gen Y.

On the inverse, Gen Y are more likely to fundraise or promote for a specific charity than their older counterparts (33% Gen Y cf. 20% of Gen X, 21% of Baby Boomers and 15% of Builders).


Download the 2017 Australian Community Trends report and infographic
Download the 2016 Australian Community Trends report

Survey now open

The 4th Annual Australian Communities Trends Report Survey is now open, and McCrindle and Clarety would like to invite all professionals in the Not-For-Profit sector to participate in this survey. Click here to take the survey.

The responses from this survey will inform the much-anticipated 2019 Australian Community Trends report to be published in February 2019.

The 2019 Australian Communities Forum


Friday, 8th February 2019
Doltone House, Darling Island
Ground Floor, 48 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont


Friday, 15th February 2019
River’s Edge Events Melbourne
Level 1, 18/38 Siddeley Street, Melbourne.