27 September 2023

Significant drop in charitable giving

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Elizabeth McArthur* says Australian’s have closed their wallets to charities during the pandemic.

According to the inaugural JBWere NAB Charitable Giving Index, Australians are giving less – possibly due to the pandemic.

The dramatic fall in giving led to an overall decrease in donations by 16 per cent in the six months to December 2020, taking giving back five years to levels last reported in 2016.

Giving peaked in February 2020 with bushfire support and before COVID-19 prevented many fundraising activities.

The fall in giving to December 2020 was by four per cent when compared to the previous corresponding period to FY 2019/20 and a 16 per cent fall when compared to the previous half year to December 2020.

JBWere noted cause areas performed differently with health and international aid performing well during the overall decline while smaller falls were seen in environment/animals (post bushfires) and religion.

The largest falls were in arts, education, social services and development/housing.

“The last 18 months has been extraordinary for charitable organisations.

“The significant drop in giving has been especially devastating for those who rely on fundraising events and volunteers,” JBWere Philanthropic Services co-founder John McLeod said.

“There is hope though that giving is on the rise.

“Evidence suggests that late 2020 may have marked the turning point for a recovery in giving with strong donations toward the Good Friday Appeal in Victoria this year.”

Sarah Patterson, chief executive of not-for-profit community legal centre Midlas, shared how the drop in giving has impacted her organisation.

“The decrease in giving has been tough for those we assist who are affected by family violence.

“Typically, we have relied on philanthropic donations to ensure people are safe – without these transferable funds, many families will miss out,” she said.

“We are, however looking forward with optimism, donations have begun to increase, and we are able to begin creating new solutions such as our Mobile Midlas Truck, that will bring services to people when they need them.”

*Elizabeth McArthur is a Senior Journalist at Financial Standard.

This article first appeared at financialstandard.com.au.

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