With the ongoing economic downturn, many of us are experiencing some form of financial hardship. As a result, we have less disposable income to be generous with. However, some new research has just been released that sheds some light on how Australians are engaging with charities and not-for-profits. Sophie Renton is a social researcher, trends analyst and Managing Director at the internationally recognised McCrindle Research. She is also the author of this latest report, and recently shared her key findings with listeners of Vision Radio across Australia. Sophie says that what encouraged her the most was the continued generosity of Australians, despite the challenging economic times. ‘We found that 80% of Australians are giving financial aid to charities not-for-profits in some way. Almost three in four have given at least annually, and that has remained consistent over a number of years.’
Researchers found that 90% of donors felt a sense of responsibility to support charities and non-profit organisations that make a positive impact on people’s lives. Sophie believes that is a great testament to the character of Australians and their sentiment and attitudes towards giving. ‘Charities have traditionally had a high place of trust in Australian society,’ says Sophie, ‘and it continues to stay that way. It’s encouraging but it also means not-for-profit organisations need to continue to be transparent with their reporting. They need to be communicating their outcomes to maintain that place of trust.’ While people who come from a Christian faith foundation are usually financial supporters of their local church and other Christian charities, there are some particular causes that motivate ordinary Australians to be generous.
‘Typically, it’s a sense of vulnerability that motivates Aussies to action,’ says Sophie. ‘Animals and children or those who aren’t in a position to help themselves are the causes that Australians look to support. We do see some generational differences though, in terms of younger donors being more likely to support things like domestic violence and mental health.’ ‘I think it’s really important to be sensitive to donors right now. We need to be empathetic in the ask and recognise that it is maybe a little bit more of a challenge on people’s personal spending at the moment.’
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