The Australian Community Trends Report

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

There is no more important industry in Australia than the not-for profit sector. The charities, social enterprises and community organisations across this nation provide much of the social infrastructure that builds the capacity and function of communities Australia wide.

The importance of the sector is recognised by Australians and practically lived out by the 4 in 5 adults who give financially to such organisations and the 1 in 4 who give at least once a month. However, this data shows the long-term engagement challenge with Australians twice as likely to make a one off donation than a regular one, and to volunteer at a stand-alone event compared to an ongoing contribution. 

Amidst the message saturation, digital disruption, generational change and increasingly complex lives, communicating and connecting with donors will no doubt require a more sophisticated strategy than what worked in the past.

Along with the global trends, demographic shifts and technological transformation, leaders may face change fatigue and resilience fatigue. However, the future is best influenced by focussed commitment to a clear vision, while responding with relevance to the external environment and the emerging trends. 

Mother Teresa’s quote from half a century ago offers relevant encouragement today:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.

It is our hope that the 2016 Australian Communities Report builds on the results from the 2015 study and offers insights to help Australia’s not-for-profit leaders continue to create ripples of change that over time change local, national and indeed global communities.

Millennials are Generation Generous

While Australia’s 18 to 29 year old's are often derided as screen-obsessed and self-focused, the latest data on giving and volunteering shows the reverse is true. 

Although the net wealth of the average Generation Y household is just one fifth that of the average Baby Boomer household, members of the younger generation are more likely to give regularly to charities (35% of them give at least monthly compared to 29% of the Over 30’s). Almost half of the 18 to 29’s have volunteered in the last year (46%) compared to less than 1 in 3 of those aged over 30 (31%).

Generation Y are more likely to prefer charities that raise awareness (46%) to those that take direct action (23%) while for the older generations, the reverse is the case (34% prefer charities that take direct action over awareness raising, 29%).

The Report

For more insights and to download your free copy of the 88-page 2016 Australian Communities Trends Report, please visit

These insights alongside fresh 2017 research will be presented at The Australian Communities Forum in September 2017. Tickets are available here

Live the Dream: Research into Australians living a successful life

Monday, August 21, 2017

McCrindle has been delighted to partner with the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) again this year to conduct new research into the regrets, dreams, and attitudes to matters of money and life across generations, genders and geographies.

The new research shows almost one in four Australians (23%) believe they are ‘definitely’ or ‘mostly’ living the dream. These enviably content people are nearly three times more likely to seek the advice of a financial planner (24%) than those who describe themselves as not yet living the dream (9%).

Not everyone is 'living the dream'

Not everyone is content, however. The research also shows 80 per cent of working-age Australians are stressed about money and finances, with 1 in 4 indicating acute stress levels. 

Gen X and Gen Y are the most stressed about money and finance, and are the generation most likely to struggle with planning. Half of Gen Y (53%) finds planning their life very/somewhat hard. Two in five Gen X Australians feel the same way (44%), while Baby Boomers are the most likely to find planning easy to do (25%).

Owning a home is no longer a dominant Australian dream – slipping to a distant fourth place in the dream stakes. Most of the measures Australians attribute to “living the dream” in 2017 are linked to personal finance. While 57% believe living the dream means having the lifestyle of their choice, a similar proportion (54%) believe it means having financial freedom and independence. 

“The great Australian dream once meant home ownership, and the security which came from this, but these once-dominant goals have been replaced with lifestyle and financial freedom aspirations” stated Social Researcher, Mark McCrindle.

“Money is not the sole enabler to ‘living the dream” as Generation Y are much more likely than the wealthier Generation X to state that they are living the dream. However a lack of money and high debt are the biggest blockers for the 3 in 4 Australians who are not currently living their dreams.”

Australia’s four financial action personalities

Four distinct personality types are identified in the national data based on people’s ability to dream and act on their plans. The results are summarised in the infographic below:

About McCrindle 

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends.

Our expertise is analysing findings and effectively communicating insights and strategies. Our skills are in designing and deploying world class social and market research. Our purpose is advising organisations to respond strategically to the trends and so remain ever-relevant in changing times. As social researchers we help organisations, brands and communities know the times.

Feel free to Contact us to find out more about our research services.

A shift to volunteering in the NFP sector

Friday, August 18, 2017

Australia is a nation of volunteers. According to the latest Census results, almost one in five (19%) Australians volunteer through an organisation or group, which equates to 3.6 million Australians and is an increase of 2% since the 2011 Census. Our Australian Community Trends Report showed that this increases to 1 in 3 (34%) among Australians who give financially to charitable organisations.

There is an increasing desire of Australians to be involved in charitable organisations in an experiential way. This is particularly true among young people, who desire to go on a journey, have a tangible experience and develop a partnership, not just a transactional relationship of donating money and the charity does the work. The ability of an organisation to engage a donor on multiple levels and take them on a journey can increase loyalty and generosity towards the organisation. When Australians give of their time not just their money, there is an increasing sense of partnership and advocacy with the organisation they are engaging with.

Key motivators for volunteering

When it comes to volunteering, responsibility and satisfaction are the key motivators for volunteers with more than half (51%) indicating that they do so because of the feeling they get when they volunteer, or because they feel it is their responsibility to give back to the community (51%). Almost half (49%) are also motivated by their desire to make the world a better place.

Regular Vs. one-off

Australian charitable givers are volunteering more regularely than just a one-off. 61% of respondents indicated that they regularly give of their time, helping out once a month (24%) or at least a few times a year (37%). Two in five (39%) volunteer on a more sporadic basis with one-off activities such as Clean up Australia Day.

Time-poor students and young workers are more commonly participating in once-off activities while the older generations in retirement are more likely to volunteer very regularly for one or more charities. 35% of the Baby Boomers and 40% of Australians from the Builder generation who are charitable givers volunteer regularly for one or more charities. This compares to just 13% of Gen Y and 21% of Gen X. These young generations are more likely to participate in on-off activities instead of regularly volunteering (47% Gen Y and 41% Gen X).

How charities can engage consistent volunteers

The below mind-map shows some of the key strategies not-for-profits can use to engage consistent volunteers.


The challenge recognised by charitable organisations is the time and administration costs incurred with the management of volunteers. Some charities find it challenging to accommodate volunteers within their operations while others rely heavily on volunteers for the execution of their services or programs. Overall, the sector recognises that if it can navigate the challenges, there the countless opportunities for everyday Australians to both give back and have their own lives enriched through voluntary engagement with the not-for-profit sector.


Results are from a nationally representative survey of 1,510 Australians who give financially to charitable organisations at least once per year (80% of the total Australian population), as well as six focus groups and 14 expert interviews. Research conducted in September 2016.

Happy working in the Gig Economy? Depends whether it's a choice or forced

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The gig economy is growing at exceptional speed, with the casual workforce now representing a fifth of Australia’s workforce. We're delighted to partner with Care Support Network to produce The Australia Casual Workforce Report, which shows satisfaction with work is the highest for workers who can choose their employment status, the hours they work and their clients.


More than half (57%) of casual or contract workers choose to work this way, and it isn’t just for the emerging generations either. Baby Boomers (63%) are the most likely to choose to be a casual or contract worker, more-so than Gen Y (50%) or Gen X (52%).

We often think that it is the technology-savvy younger generation driving the gig economy. But this research shows that the older Generation X and Baby Boomers are the most likely to choose the flexibility offered by the gig-economy. It not only allows them to choose their hours, but they can choose the work times that will best suit, but also increase or decrease their workload depending on their financial needs. – Mark McCrindle.


Of the 1,007 Australian casual and contract workers surveyed, work-life balance was the biggest driver of those who work casually, with 87% considering it to be extremely or very important to them.

The report also shows that most workers employed in a casual or contract role are choosing this option for their own lifestyle, rather than being forced into it by their employer. Almost three in five casual workers choose such a work arrangement because of the flexibility it affords them.

Those who have control over their work-life balance have a 90% satisfaction rate, while those without control over this only have a 26% satisfaction rate.


Choosing who people work with also has a correlation with job satisfaction. Those who have control over it have an 85% satisfaction rate compared to 39% for those who don’t have control over this.

43% of respondents said they do not have control over who they provide services to and 56% have no control over their pay or the fees charged for their services.


Care Support Network Co-Founder and CEO Rob Evers said it isn’t surprising that healthcare, community and social assistance workers are most likely to choose to work casually because of the flexibility it affords.

“Healthcare workers choose to work casually as they generally have multiple jobs across several providers in order to increase their weekly earnings. But the rise of the sharing economy, particularly in the home care sector, now allows casual and contract workers control over who they work for, when they work and even their own hourly rate,” said Rob.

Care workers have an even greater desire for control and satisfaction, with 24% of respondents saying they experienced anxiety around unfamiliar clients and different environments in the last month, as opposed to 14% of casual workers in other industries.


Australians who choose to work casually have their ideal hours per week at 22.9 hours, which equates to three days per week. Further, the amount people work is also linked with satisfaction, where those who control how much they work are three times more likely to be satisfied.

Research findings from The Australia’s Casual Workforce Report by Care Support Network and McCrindle.

Click here to download the full infographic

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Four key takeaways from the Australian Community Trends Report

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The industry that does the most to support and develop our communities is the not-for-profit sector. This is recognised by Australians and practically lived out by the four in five adults who give financially to such organisations and the one in four who give at least once a month. However, McCrindle’s data on the sector shows that there is a long-term engagement challenge, with Australians twice as likely to make a one-off donation than a regular one, and volunteers most likely to participate in a stand-alone event rather than make an ongoing contribution.

Amidst the message saturation, digital disruption, generational change and increasingly complex lives, communicating and connecting with donors requires a more sophisticated strategy than what worked in the past.

Research Methodology

This report was compiled through findings received from a national survey, focus groups conducted in Sydney and Melbourne and interviews with expert leaders in the not-for-profit sector.

The key takeaways for charitable organisations are outlined below

1. Multi-tiered levels of engagement 

There is a desire from Australians to be involved in charities, however increasingly this is to be on their own terms. Charitable givers do not want to be locked into long-term contracts, but desire flexibility in donation amounts and involvement. Older generations suggest they are  time-poor, however younger generations state they don’t have as much money to give yet still want to be involved.

2. Community building 

Particularly in the younger generations there is a desire to be part of a community that brings about social change. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves with the knowledge that together they can make a difference. This gathering of community is not just in the online space but in the physical space as well and often achieved through events that bring people together.

3. Effective communication of results 

Donors state that they want to see the results of where their investment is going. They want to know how has it practically helped people in need. When participants they know their donation is being effective and making a material difference, there is a desire to continue engaging with the charity.

4. Create engaging and fun experiences 

Supporters, particularly in the younger generation, desire to be involved in experiences with charitable organisations. Rather than simply givingtheir money and movingon they want to feel some level of partnership with the cause. Their desire is for the donation experience to be convenient, meaningful and fun.

The Report

For more insights and to download your free copy of the 88-page 2016 Australian Communities Trends Report, please visit

These insights alongside fresh 2017 research will be presented at The Australian Communities Forum in September 2017. Tickets are available here

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