Are we really becoming less generous? According to the World Giving Index, generosity in Australia is declining, but our latest Giving Trends data seems to disagree. Nearly two thirds of organisations surveyed reported a growth in fundraising income over the last financial year. So why the discrepancy and what does it mean for this future of giving in this country?
The World Giving Index, an annual study produced by the Charities Aid Foundation, records the number of people who helped a stranger in the past month, volunteered their time or gave money to a good cause. This year 146,000 people in 139 countries were surveyed as part of the Gallup World Poll.
The 2017 World Giving Index report, released in early September, revealed that Australia has dropped out of the top five most generous countries for the first time. We have fallen three places to 6th position behind Myanmar, Indonesia, Kenya, New Zealand and the USA. It also reported that the number of people giving money in Australia has fallen by 10% in the last year, seeing us only just scrape into the top 10 countries in that category.
However, data collected for the soon to be released 2017 Giving Trends and Predictions, revealed that 61% of organisations experienced a growth in fundraising income during the 2016/2017 financial year.
There are several possible reasons for the discrepancy in findings, the most obvious being that there are less people giving more money. While in some respects this is good news for Australian charities and not for profits, it should also be a warning. Fundraising growth cannot be sustained where the donor pool is drying up. At some point, existing donors will reach their maxim capacity to give. Organisations must focus on growing their profile and reaching out to new donors in order to grow their donor base and combat natural attrition.
The Global Giving Index results also highlights how important it is to foster a culture of giving. For the third year in a row, Myanmar was named the world’s most generous country, despite being one of its poorest. While the people of Myanmar have very little money, they have a strong culture of giving driven by their Buddhist beliefs. Over 90% of the population reported having donated money in the month before the World Giving Index survey.
While we have made great progress in building a culture of giving in Australia. There is still a lot that can be done, particularly among the younger generations, to make our nation more socially conscious. The third sector as a whole needs to accept responsibility for helping make regular charitable giving a natural and commonplace action among all age groups.
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