Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 - Roy Morgan Research

Why are Australians donating less than they did five years ago? True, our attitudes to charity, overseas aid and helping others are changing -- but not always in ways that explain the decline, as the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.  


Last year, 66% of Australians aged 14+ donated to charity — down from 70% in the year to December 2008. During the same period, Australians’ attitudes to charity, overseas aid and helping others have also undergone some noticeable shifts, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

Most striking is the fact that fewer Australians believe the Government should increase overseas aid to help reduce global poverty than they did five years ago (43% in the year to December 2012, down from 51% in December 2008).

On the other hand, one in every four people believes a percentage of everyone’s income should go to charities, an increase from 22% in 2008; while the proportion of Aussies who agree that “Helping others is my duty as a global citizen” has grown from 38% five years ago to 40%.

In contrast, the proportion of those who believe everyday people can help raise living standards among the world’s poorest people has fallen from 55% to 53% in the same time period.

So who’s giving?

It’s well known that a larger proportion of high-income earners donate to charities than those on lower wages: for example, 80% of Australians earning $100,000+ donated in the year to December 2012 (down from 85% in December 2008), compared to 69% of those earning between $30,000 and $40,000 (down from 73%).

Traditionally, women outnumber men when it comes to charitable donations. In the year to December 2012, 69% of women and 63% of men donated to charity. Reflecting the broader downward trend, however, the incidence of donations by both genders has fallen, most noticeably in men (down from 68%).

But it’s not all bad news for the Not for Profit industry. Although our overall donation rate has decreased, the proportion of Australians making large donations ($200+) has increased slightly, from 19% to 21%.

Who’s not giving?

Australians who don’t give to charity are another story. Despite not making donations, many are concerned about helping others: since December 2008, the proportion of non-donors who believe that helping others is their duty as a global citizen has increased from 32% to 40%. The same proportion (40%, up from 37%) believe they have a responsibility to do what they can to help the world’s poorest people.

Interestingly, some non-donors may need a little help themselves: they are 33% likelier than the average Aussie to believe they get a raw deal out of life.

Source:Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 08 – December 2012 (n = 19,484)

Base: Australians 14+

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Asking people to part with their money on good faith is never going to be an easy exercise, and charities have their work cut out for them.

“In these economically unstable times, it’s tempting to conclude that fewer people are donating due to a sense of financial insecurity. However, the proportion of Australians who agree with the statement ‘I feel financially stable at the moment’ has grown from 55% to 58% over the last five years, so clearly other factors are also at play.

“Delving deeper into Australians’ attitudes towards giving to charity, foreign aid and helping the world’s poor, we’re met with mixed messages and conflicting emotions. This suggests that many Australians are unsure whether they can help, or confused about the issues. Charities need to articulate their cause clearly, and ensure their target donors understand exactly how their donations can help.”


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Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.
Alex Dalidakis
P: +61 3 9224 5209


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