Curiosity, case studies, corporates and COVID-19 dominated the interest in our articles in 2021. Here we look back at the year that was.

We thought 2021 might be easier than 2020 didn’t we? Well, this year had other plans, but that didn’t stop you from accessing all the latest fundraising news and keeping yourselves across the happenings and research from the nonprofit sector.

Here we share the 12 most-read articles from this year – by month – as we ponder what will dominate fundraising news in 2022.


Many of us emerged into the new year wondering what toll 2020’s events (bushfires, COVID-19 and all) had taken on fundraising and philanthropy.

Many of you turned to Equity Trustee’s Annual Giving Review for insights, and what their report revealed was that philanthropy had stepped up to the challenge.

For the 2019/20 financial year, Equity Trustees oversaw a distribution of $83.4 million in philanthropic grants – up from $78.8 million in the previous financial year. This included over 3000 grants, with 204 of those over $100,000. Bequests made up $7.6 million in giving.


Choosing not to linger on the pandemic for too long, you turned your attention to corporate partnerships in the second month of the year.

A new initiative from crowdfunding platform (of the investor, not fundraising kind), VentureCrowd, caught your eye, with the business announcing they would provide investors with the option to donate to The Smith Family when investing in any financial products, such as start-ups or property development projects.

The partnership is an example of the rise in innovative funding models supporting the nonprofit sector.


This one is a no-brainer. Everyone wants to know who the top givers in the country are and hundreds of you flocked to read our Australia’s Top 25 Philanthropists article.

The list, provided by The Australian, revealed Andrew Forrest as our top philanthropist. Andrew also happens to be Australia’s second richest person.

Also featuring at the top end of the list was the new guard   community-minded leaders from young and innovative companies. Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar were runners up in philanthropic giving and third on the Rich List.


Next was our summary from the F&P Generosity Forum, which delivered six key findings:

  1. A spotlight on mega-wealth. While billionaires were quick to respond to the pandemic, what was given, at least in the US, was a drop in the ocean compared to what some billionaires have made during the past 18 months. In fact, it has been institutional funders and community-based foundations have been at the forefront of COVID-19 recovery.
  2. We need to change the way we look at grants, according to Liz Gillies from the Menzies Foundation: more responsibility on funders to create measurable impact, understanding of what needs to be done outside the constraints of resources, and grant-makers stepping up to create holistic solutions.
  3. Sub-funds are a great introduction to giving – minimising the responsibility of a full Private Ancillary Fund.
  4. We need to correct the balance of First-Nations funding – by taking an Indigenous-led approach.
  5. Great relationships are a winner every time – as proven by The Melbourne Digital Concert Hall and The Torch in 2021.
  6. Women’s philanthropy is making waves in Australia – but their motivators are different from men.  


The AMP Tomorrow Fund is an increasingly popular acknowledgement of amazing Australians doing great things and with it comes funding of $5000 – $100,000, so it won’t come as a surprise that many of you read our announcement of the fund’s launch in 2021.

Every year the fund distributes $1 million in grants to the nonprofit sector and you can learn more about the 2021 winners here.


A June 2021 McNair yellowSquares report delivered the good news that average donations had increased significantly, and you wanted to read about it!

Angela Brooks, author of the survey at McNair yellowSquares, said: “The average donation of $603 is the highest in a decade. Given the impact of the economic environment during 2020, the rise in average donations can be seen as good news for Australia’s major charities.”

The report also delivered the cheery news that the overwhelming majority of adults (75%) claim their regular donations will stay the same over the next 12 months.


The start of a new financial year brought interest in a charity case study.

In this article, we shared how St John Ambulance WA launched a fundraising arm called St John Giving to raise vital funds and overcome the misconception that the organisation is government-funded (only the ambulance service is).

St John WA underpinned their new initiative with some very clear and tangible goals that include training every WA child in first-aid once a year by 2025 and the development of an app to improve the survival rate of cardiac arrest (currently 35%).


If March delivered news of Andrew Forrest as Australia’s most generous philanthropist, then August brought you up to speed on his impact, with news of his charitable entity, the Minderoo Foundation’s, ground-breaking work to address plastic pollution coming top in our articles list for the month.

This year the Minderoo Foundation granted the University of Queensland $4.5 million to help researchers develop techniques to measure nano plastics and understand if they, and the chemicals that leach out of plastic products, are found in the human body.

The article explores the ethos and granting strategy of a foundation that does not accept unsolicited grant applications, but instead establishes granting relationships as part of international networks that have the combined strength to address some of the world’s greatest issues.


It’s a reality that some nonprofits, more than others, have to take exceptional care when seeking funding support.

Not-for-profit legal service, the National Justice Project, are an example of one such organisation. NJP is particularly careful not to accept government funding given they act on behalf of clients in cases against government agencies.

You read about how the organisation use media coverage as a powerful fundraising tool, how their Board are leading by example when it comes to giving, and how they are committed to ensuring their client voice is always front and centre of their fundraising.  


Nonprofit newsletters should be a powerful fundraising tool, because if they’re not helping you further your cause then they are costing you time and money you don’t have.

That was the premise of this popular article, which shared tips and tricks about how to deliver a newsletter that your donors enjoy and that raises you money.


It’s not necessarily true that all publicity is good publicity, but when we shared which charities and philanthropists had received the most media coverage from November 20 to October 21, you were certainly interested to learn more.

Lifeline was the most mentioned charity, while Andrew Forrest (there he is again!) was the nation’s most recognised philanthropist, according to research by media monitoring provider, Streem.

Many Lifeline mentions came from publishers who included the charity’s contact details at the bottom of sensitive stories about issues such as suicide, one of many growing issues related to the pandemic.


Gloomy predictions swirled around corporate giving in early 2020, but the 2021 GivingLarge report showed that, actually, corporate giving has increased in the face of the pandemic.

$1.2 billion was invested into philanthropic efforts by Australia’s top 50 corporate givers, a $42 million increase on the 2020 total.

However, the percentage of pre-tax profit given by the top 50 companies in 2021 was an overall 0.97%, compared to 1.11% in 2020.

Ten of the top 50 companies increased their community investment by more than 20%, with the increase from the top four biggest movers adding $63 million to the overall tally of $1.2 billion. Add this to the fact that over a quarter of the total came from BHP and Coles, and you can see a similar trend to individual giving – a smaller pool giving the majority of gifts.


So, a mixed bag indeed and testament to the fact that you, our readers, have a broad range of interest and research needs in your fundraising roles. As we look ahead to 2022, we look forward to sharing stories of recovery and fundraising growth in light of the incredible innovation that has been implemented over the past two years.

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