Small business shows its charitable side

More Australians are giving their time but fewer are giving money to charity than a decade ago.

However, the amount of money those 81 per cent Australians who do donate to charity give has risen substantially, with $12.5 billion in donations made in 2016, government figures released on Monday show. And, despite their more meagre resources, small businesses are matching the contribution made by larger corporations at the top end of town.

Nearly four in nine adults volunteered their time in 2016, adding up to 932 million hours in 2016 – an increase of 96 million hours in a decade.

“These are incredible figures and show just how the generosity of spirit of Australians is well and truly alive,” Social Services Minister Christian Porter said.

The figures show that more women made donations than men but men generally gave more – on average $867 compared with $671.

As well, a higher proportion of women did volunteer work and they averaged more hours during the year than men.

People who made donations were most likely to do so because they believed they were giving to a good cause or charity.

More than half of those who didn’t donate to charity said it was because they couldn’t afford it.

The government figures also show business philanthropy increased to $17.5 billion in the 2015/16 financial year – a massive jump from the $3.3 billion given a decade earlier.

Almost half of this came from small and medium-sized businesses.

“Small businesses, in particular, are very much a part of their local communities, whether it’s contributing directly to the local sporting club or seniors group with financial contributions, in kind contributions, prizes for local raffles and contributions to bigger community-focused activities like a new community hall,” Mr Porter said.

Larger businesses were moving away from one-off donations to forming partnerships with not-for-profit organisations.

The generosity of Australians:

  • $12.5 billion total donations from individuals in 2016
  • 9 million people made donations (81 per cent of adults)
  • $764 average donation ($200 median)
  • 44 per cent of adults volunteered a total of 932 million hours
  • Average time volunteered was 134 hours
  • Businesses donated $17.5 billion in 2015/16
  • $9 billion was from large companies and $8.5 billion from small and medium business
  • Trend towards businesses forming partnerships with not-for-profit organisations.

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