I recently discussed Australia’s attitudes to charitable giving with Tom Elliot on 3AW. It’s a conversation I have often, and passionately! Tom questioned why Australia’s ATO reported generosity has dropped, and what that means for the future of giving.
Why should Australians give more to charity?
My discussion with Tom was inspired by the CAF 2019 World Giving Index report, and Australia’s slide from number one to fourth place on the generosity scale. While we still rank highly as a nation, I believe there’s an opportunity for us to adjust our attitudes to generosity and charitable giving. Our generosity rating is more than an interesting statistic, it’s an insight into a trend that needs to be reversed.
While charitable giving has been declining overall, when disaster strikes, Australians, and our international supporters, are capable of astonishing things. The outpouring of generosity following the 2019/20 Bushfires Crisis is a great example of this. One in every two Australians made a donation. It’s an astounding and encouraging statistic. Charities need external funding to provide services and support. Ordinarily, because that function is either not available or limited through government agencies alone. One-off donations are fantastic but continued giving is one of the most powerful ways we can support charities. Regular donations give charities the freedom to focus on their work in the community. Without it, they are on a constant loop of donor acquisition, which takes time, and money.
How do we need to challenge our thinking about charitable giving?
We’ve all heard the old saying ‘charity begins at home’. Today’s employers also have a unique leadership opportunity to influence the role giving has in our daily lives. Working takes a huge amount of our time and attention. Employers have a powerful opportunity to set a positive mindset about giving. If it’s part of work culture to give, then it becomes part of our lives outside the office. It’s a fundamental rethink. If we encourage all employees to become donors, we build a new normal. Whether they donate money or time, employees create a new habitual behaviour for themselves.
What steps are we taking to change our attitude to giving?
Philanthropy Australia’s has just launched their Blueprint to Grow Structured Giving in Australia. I was delighted to contribute towards this important project. The Blueprint sets a roadmap to double giving by 2030, for both individuals and businesses. It’s an ambitious target, and I applaud the Philanthropy Australia team for this bold plan, which has been developed in consultation with leaders from the philanthropic community. The result is a comprehensive review as well as a way forward. The plan protects what is working well and uses those elements as a foundation for the future. One of the goals of the report is a drive to create a supply of new givers in Australia. No surprise that the workplace is called out as an important place to encourage long lasting giving.
I’m excited to see this work move forward, and the impact it will have on changing the culture of charitable giving in our workplaces and homes.