Pre-pandemic Australians increased their giving but the analysis from QUT reveals a concerning trend.

Australians increased their charitable giving by $265 million between 2016 and 2018, according to a new report from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at QUT.

An increase countered by a worrying trend

The total amount donated and claimed as tax deductible donations in 2017–18 was $3.75 billion, compared to $3.48 billion in 2016-17. This represents an increase of 7.61% or $265 million. The average gift increased by nearly 10%, from $770 in 2016–17 to $845 in 2017–18.

Individual taxpayers who claimed tax-deductible donations to DGRs donated approximately 0.44% of their taxable income in 2017–18. This was slight increase from the previous income year, in which the average percentage of taxable income donated was 0.42%.

But the analysis revealed a concerning trend: the percentage of Australians making deductible gifts has fallen every year since 2011–12, and in 2017–18 year that figure had dropped to 31%.

Giving stats by gender

In 2017–18, 2.19 million males (29.79 per cent of Australian male taxpayers) claimed tax-deductible donations to DGRs, amounting to $2.15 billion. This represents 57.31% of the total value of tax-deductible donations claimed in 2017–18. A total of 2.24 million females (32.29% of Australian female taxpayers) claimed tax-deductible donations to DGRs in 2017–18, totalling $1.60 billion.

On average, however, female Australian taxpayers who claimed donations to DGRs gave a slightly higher percentage of their income – 0.46% to 0.41% for Australian males.

Unsurprisingly, wealthy Australian donated more. Donating taxpayers with a taxable income over $1 million in 2017–18 claimed average tax-deductible donations of $93,645 (up from $86,341.93 in 2016–17). This represents 2.06 per cent of their taxable income compared to the national average was 0.43 per cent. This group accounted for 19.09 per cent of the total amount donated in 2017–18.

Giving stats by state and postcode

New South Wales topped the charts for most generous state, where around 1.4 million taxpayers claimed tax deductible donations amounting to $1.34 billion and representing 35.86 per cent of the total amount donated in Australia.

Victoria came in second, with taxpayers claiming $1.03 billion in donations, and Western Australia rounded out the top three, claiming a total of $634 million in deductible gifts.

Western Australian taxpayers claimed the largest average tax-deductible donation:$1,469.61, compared to the national average of $845.73. New South Wales taxpayers had an average gift of $943.40, followed by taxpayers in Victoria with an average gift of $820.38.

Taxpayers in Western Australia donated an average of 0.65 per cent of their taxable income,an increase from 0.56 per cent in 2016–17. This was followed by taxpayers in Victoria and New South Wales (0.46 per cent).

These figures of course come before the impact of COVID-19, which some analysts have estimated will result in a drop in giving that will take us back to giving levels in 2012.


The information in the report is based on the amount and type of tax-deductible donations made to DGRs and claimed by Australian taxpayers for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 extracted from the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) publication Taxation Statistics 201718.

The analysis does not include giving by corporate and trust taxpayers, or “nontax contributions” such as raffles, sponsorships, fundraising purchases, volunteering or gifts to non-DGRs. Tax-deductible giving is therefore smaller than all giving which in 2016 was estimated to be $11.2 billion by over 80% of the Australian adult population.

Read the full report

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