JBWere report shows Australians giving more

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Australians have embraced giving through tax effective Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs), with new donations rising to $354 million (up 16%), the highest level since the Global Financial Crisis, according to the annual JBWere Giving Trends Report.

Distributions from PAFs to charitable causes reached a record $252 million in the year to 30 June 2012. Welfare continued to be the best supported cause, receiving 28% of donations from PAFs, while health and research saw the strongest gains each receiving 13% of distributions.

Looking at ATO data on a personal donation level, the annual gift size per donor has increased from $31 to $494 since data collection began in 1979, rising by 8.8% per year.

New South Wales residents are the most generous, donating an average of $575 per donor, followed by Western Australians $507 and Victorians $498, with Queenslanders the least generous donating $367 in the year to 30 June 2012.

Author of the report, John McLeod of JBWere’s Philanthropic Services Team said, “The story is becoming a tale of two taxpayers. One enjoys philanthropy and is encouraged to continue to grow their giving while the other, for a variety of reasons, doesn’t give.

It is an observation mirrored by the results of two relatively new forms of giving, Workplace Giving and Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs). The workplace giving program started well but has only seen slow growth over the past decade, while PAFs continue their strong growth in donations,” said Mr McLeod.

Highlights

  • Overall giving appears to have plateaued following the GFC, despite growth in larger donations
  • There are currently 1246 PAFs, a rise of 13.5% in the year to June 2014, with approximately $4 billion in total assets. The average PAF has assets of $3 million
  • The proportion of people earning between $50,000 and $1 million who claim donations was at its lowest level since records became available in 2000
  • However, the number of public $1million plus gifts continues to rise with new gifts also creating or enhancing substantial foundations and cause-specific endowments
  • More females give and give a higher percentage of income at all ages up to 75 compared to men (37.2% versus 34.2%)
  • There is a significant increase in donation size after the age of 60, despite income levels falling
  • Workplace giving is attracting just 4.5% of employees at companies offering the program with an average donation size of $301
  • The number of tax concession charities continues to grow across all sectors with a further 1,451 added in 2012 taking the total to 57,730.

Mr McLeod said, “Those who are giving, are giving more generously, as seen by the popularity of Private Ancillary Funds and the number of donations over $1 million.

Philanthropy has come a long way in Australia since 1979 and even in the last decade we have seen dramatic changes. However more needs to be done, including some co-ordinated activity between recipient charities which simplifies giving decisions rather than just adding to the widening choice already available.”

The JBWere Giving Trends Report is an annual survey which uses a variety of sources including Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Tax Office data plus more current information from individual charity appeals and the NAB Charitable Giving Index.

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