The second Australia We Want report released this week offers some sobering insights into the state of giving in the country, with giving rates still stalled below pre-GFC levels.

The report, released by the Community Council for Australia, used data from the ATO as a reliable measure of individual giving. It found that Australian taxpayers donated on average 0.36% of their taxable income in 2015-16, down from 0.40% in 2014-15, while the actual value of gifts decreased from $3.1 billion to $2.9 billion over the same period.

While international comparisons are difficult, the report said the data available also suggested giving rates in Australia were well below the USA and comparable countries like the UK and Canada.

“The idea that Australia is a generous country is not borne out in the data about giving,” according to the report.

“Australians have been less generous since the Global Financial Crisis; however more recent data had suggested that levels of giving were slowly increasing. This is no longer the case. Australia is still not back to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels of individual giving as a percentage of our incomes, and the more recent trend appears negative. With a decrease in average giving between 2013-14 and 2015-16, Australia is scored negatively.”

On a more positive note, rates of volunteering were shown to be increasing since the last census.

The second Australia We Want report provides insights into several key community metrics including incarceration rates, feeling safe, inclusiveness, suicide rates, housing and employment access, environmental sustainability, giving, and consumer and business confidence, amongst others, and is worthwhile reading for anyone working in the NFP space. A copy of the full report is available on the Community Council for Australia’s website.

As overall giving levels appear to have stalled, the figures are also a pertinent reminder for charities about the increasing importance of fundraising efficiency, including reducing wasted costs associated with ineffective fundraising activities, which can be achieved using propensity modelling and advanced data science approaches.