That’s the finding of the Australia Giving 2019 report, which also found that connection to cause is the biggest factor determining donations to charities.
A new report, Australia Giving 2019: An overview of charitable giving in Australia, gives a positive view of the generosity of Australians, finding that two thirds (68%) of our population have given money in the past 12 months.
But it is the younger generation that has emerged as the most generous from this report, with 74% of 25-34 year olds making a donation in the past 12 months and 18-24 year olds more likely to volunteer than their older counterparts.
“What’s very encouraging is the fact that the younger generation is coming through. The millennials and now the Gen Zs do appear to be more generous in their giving,” says Lisa Grinham, CEO of Good2Give, which released the report today.
“I think it is a really positive trend because there are a lot of charities that are reliant on older demographics but the new generation coming through, it is ingrained into them to give back.”
This is very positive says Grinham, but will affect how charities interact with younger people. “We need to think about how those groups want to be communicated to. It is using technology; it’s not some of the traditional methods that some charities use. I think we need to embrace technology as a sector.”
Why we give and who we give to
The Australia Giving 2019 report found that connection and purpose was a key theme, with caring about the cause the most common reason given by donors (54%) as to why they give.
Supporting children (orphans, seriously ill children, children with disabilities) is the most popular cause, with 30% of donors having given to charities that support orphans, seriously ill children, and children with disabilities. Helping the poor (25%) and medical research (21%) come in second and third, followed by supporting homeless people and supporting disabled people (both 20%).
Younger donors aged 18-34 are more likely than average to support a range of causes including children (40% vs 30% on average), disaster relief (18% vs 10% on average), mental healthcare (14% vs 8% on average), and human rights protection, including LGBTQ+ rights (11% vs 5% on average).
One stat that jumped out at Grinham is that Gen Z and millennials are more likely to support human rights protection. “It shows to me that the younger generation, I think, is quite worried about the state of our nation and they are feeling that the role that not-for-profits can play in human rights protection is absolutely vital.”
Giving using cash is the most common method of donation (43%), closely followed by giving online with a bank/credit card (40%), with donation boxes in shops/other public places (23%) coming in third. Giving via a payment terminal is the least popular way to donate (3%).
The youngest donors, aged 18-24, are more likely than average to have given at a fundraising event (29% vs 15% average), by purchasing goods (32% vs 20% average), by using a contactless card (12% vs 5% average) and through workplace giving programs (14% vs 6% average). Older donors aged 55 and over are more likely to have bought a raffle ticket (33% vs 18% average).
The role of corporates
The report found that businesses are have a central role to play as social leaders.
“The younger generation really want to feel connected to the companies that they are working with; they want the purpose of the company to go beyond just making money. The opportunity for businesses to lead the way in educating and supporting people in their giving is so vital,” says Grinham, pointing to the recent Edelman Trust Barometer which found that people look to their employer to be the drivers of the change they want to see and they trust their employer to do the right thing.
“I feel like it’s a conversation we’ve been having for a while that is now gaining traction – to be in business you’ve got to be engaged and supporting communities. I’m encouraged because we are having companies come to us saying, ‘We actually want to be more strategic in our giving, we want to understand how we can align our giving to our business objectives and our brand, we want to understand what is meaningful to our people and how we can engage with our people. So they are making that leap from doing a few nice ad hoc things to saying let’s be more strategic in our giving, let’s put some budget behind this, and let’s really understand the difference we can make by getting behind a more strategic program.”
Individuals will always have causes they are passionate about but corporates have the opportunity to shape and nurture the giving culture.
“Time and time again, and this research also supports this, people give to causes they are connected to. While you can’t force that connection to a charity, what a corporate can do is educate and highlight the needs and why a particular charity exists,” says Grinham.
Charities and transparency
Once statistic uncovered by the report was that 41% of people would donate more if they understood how their money was being spent.
“That comes back to demonstrating your impact, being transparent in how you’re spending the money and the challenge around that is that there are a lot of smaller nonprofits who don’t have or struggle with the resources [to do that],” says Grinham.
“For me, there needs to be an appreciation from donors that charities should be able to invest in their infrastructure so that then they can actually generate more funds. That’s one of the challenges our sector has, that obsession of running on the smell of an oily rag.
“Most charities are very lean in terms of their operational costs but I think in the increasing complexity of the world we live in and the fact that donors are becoming more savvy and want to know more, I think we need to allow charities to invest in their infrastructure. Donors are demanding more so how can you actually deliver that if you are not investing in the right people and in the right technology tools to enable that.”
But there is flipside to this conundrum, says Grinham.
“In terms of building a sustainable transparent sector, I believe that charities need to own what their true operational costs are.”
Key findings for individual giving in Australia
- Two thirds have given money in the past 12 months (68%), either by giving money directly to a charity, by giving to a church/religious organisation, or by sponsoring someone.
- Supporting children is the most popular cause for Australians to have donated to (30%).
- The typical (median) amount donated or sponsored in the past 4 weeks is $80.
- Giving cash is the most popular method of donation for Australians (43%).
- Those aged 25-34 are the most likely to have made a donation in the past 12 months (74%).
- A third (35%) have volunteered in the past 12 months, and, as with donating money, supporting children is the most popular cause (21%).
- Younger Australians (18-24 year olds) are more likely to volunteer than their older counterparts.
- The majority of Australians (73%) feel that charities have had a positive impact, with women in particular thinking that charities have had a positive impact on their local communities and on Australia as a whole.
Other research from Pareto and Blackbaud shows that Boomers and Gens X are more generous.
To read the full report, go here.
Good2Give is a not-for-profit that makes it easy for businesses and their employees to support the communities and causes they care about. Good2Give is an affiliate to the CAF Global Alliance of organisations that work to grow giving and strengthen civil society.
Australia Giving 2019: An overview of charitable giving in Australia is one of an international series, produced across the CAF Global Alliance. The report is based on 1,023 interviews completed online between 2nd and 31st August 2018.