The Queensland University of Technology’s detailed analysis of 2018/19 tax-deductible giving will act as an important benchmark for gifts before the bushfires and COVID-19.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland University of Technology has published its annual analysis of Australian tax-deductible giving and this time the spotlight’s on 2018/19. 

The report shared the following statistics related to individual tax-deductible gifts in 2018/19:  

  • Giving was up – the total amount donated and claimed by individuals as tax-deductible donations in 2018/19 was $3.93 billion (compared to $3.75 billion for the previous income year), and the average tax-deductible gift for all taxpayers was $933.20, compared to $845.73 in 2017/18. 
  • But the number of people giving was down  a total of 4.21 million Australian taxpayers (or 28.69% of the Australian taxpaying population) made and claimed tax-deductible donations in 2018/19. This was a decrease from the previous year when 31.01% of taxpayers made and claimed a gift. The percentage was the lowest since 1978/79, and the first time it had fallen below 30% in 40 years.    
  • More women gave, but men gave more  more women made taxable donations (30.06% of female taxpayers versus 27.37% of men) and gave a higher proportion of taxable income (0.48% of their taxable income for women, 0.39% for men), but the average donation claimed by men was greater ($1,047.45 for men, $824.32 for women).
  • Probably not a surprise, but… chief executives and managing directors retained the highest average amount donated, although the amount decreased by 13.76% on the previous year. 
  • There is much untapped potential, with 55% of high net-worth taxpayers (those with $1M+ earnings), donating in 2018/19. 
  • The average tax-deductible donation in 2018/19 was $933.20, but for donating taxpayers with a taxable income over $1 million the average tax-deductible donations claim was $138,612, and this wealthy group accounted for 27.92% of the total amount donated.  
  • WA is the most generous state or territory, with the highest total and average donations claimed in 2018/19, as well as the Australian postcode with the highest percentage of taxpayers claiming a donation – Joondalup DC.   
  • But the largest proportion of donations came from NSWwhere 1,352,581 taxpayers claimed tax-deductible donations amounting to $1.36 billion.

What does this tell us?  

  • Wealthy people give generously and account for a high percentage of charitable donations in Australia, but there are many who do not give at all. Not-for-profits have an important role in encouraging Australia’s high-net-worth individuals to start giving, keep giving and give more! 
  • Women are eager to give, but why do they give less? Our guess would sit squarely with the gender pay gap and the myriad reasons women experience financial inequality. NFPs must keep nurturing the engaged and generous female population and keep up their good work on narrowing the economic gap for women because increasing women’s capacity to give clearly benefits everyone across the community. 
  • That it doesn’t necessarily take a major crisis to negatively impact giving. In 2018/19 the number of people giving went down, despite a growing population. We can’t blame it on the bushfires or pandemic either, which were six months away. Whilst we will always be at the mercy of economic, social, environmental and technological factors out of our control, these figures should act as a reminder that all NFPs need to dedicate time and resources to retaining their donors if we want to ensure Australia’s donor numbers don’t fall year-on-year. 


You can read the report summary here and the full report here 

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