In what is possibly Australia’s most wide-ranging investigation of philanthropy, a major research project will examine levels of giving by individuals, families and businesses, as well as their attitudes to, and motivations for giving.

Called Giving Australia: Research on Philanthropy in Australia, the project was commissioned by the Department of Family and Community Services on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.

The project is being undertaken by a consortium comprising the Australian Council of Social Service (as the lead agency); Queensland University of Technology Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies; University of Technology Sydney Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management; Roy Morgan Research; McNair Ingenuity Research Pty Ltd; and the Fundraising Institute of Australia. The project’s final report is due for release mid 2005.

The project includes a literature review, qualitative and quantitative research, and surveys of individuals and business. It will also explore the fundraising and development capacity of the not-for-profit sector.

The qualitative research will include 30 focus groups and 24 in-depth interviews. The quantitative survey work will be broadly comparable to the 1997 Survey of Individual Giving and the 2000/01 Business Generosity Survey, both conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The project will also benefit from an analysis of two other data sets on charitable giving in Australia.

Since 1999, The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership has been advising the federal government on initiatives to develop and promote a culture of corporate and individual social responsibility in Australia.

Members of The Partnership are prominent Australians drawn from the community and business sectors. Members include Fergus Ryan, a director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australian Foundation Investment Company; chairman of Investec Wentworth David Gonski; chief executive of Westpac David Morgan; Smith Family chief executive Elaine Henry; and Philanthropy Australia chief executive Elizabeth Cham.

The Partnership was established on the premise that communities are stronger and more cohesive when individuals, not-for-profit organisations, governments and business all work together – as a ‘social coalition’ – each offering its own set of unique skills.

The goals of The Partnership include identifying and addressing incentives and impediments to philanthropy and the creation of community and business partnerships.

Updates on the progress of the project will be published on the Partnership’s website at: http://www.partnerships.gov.au..

Story by Ruth Richardson, assistant director, Community Business Engagement, Department of Family and Community Services.

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