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

Media Contact

For any media enquiries please contact Kimberley Linco at, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422.

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

Why storytelling is so powerful in this digital era

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ashley Fell is a social researcher, keynote speaker and head of Communications at McCrindle. In her recent TED talk on The Visual Mind; Why storytelling is so powerful in this digital era, Ashley elaborates on the power of stories on our mind, and how to use them to communicate data-rich stories.

Communication has never been as important as it is today, because so much of our world is changing. We live in a world where our learning has changed. Where our interaction and how we ‘share’ has changed. Where even the concept of a story, has changed.

We are living in an age of digital disruption, in what we call 'the great screenage'. Where we now spend more time on our devices, than we ever have before. 

We live in technologically integrated times, where our attention spans are short. In times of message saturation and information overload, if you have important data to communicate, it is harder than ever to cut through the noise. 

The key to unlocking effective cut-through, is in an understanding of how the brain works.

For we know the brain is wired to processes visual imagery. When we look at how the brain retains information, words are processed by our short term memory, whereas visuals go directly into our long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.

And so the key is to present information in a way that appeals to the visual mind.

When we communicate data, our job is to move from the complex to the simple. Because the brain is more naturally wired to engage with the human, with the relatable, with a story than with just data, information and complexity alone. 

And when we think about engaging stories, whether they be novels, infographics or songs, they always have the four I’s.

Great stories create interest and capture our attention. Great stories instruct and communicate meaning. Great stories involve us. And importantly, a great story inspires. It connects not just with the eyes of the head but with the eyes of the heart.

We know the mind looks for direction and coherency. It doesn’t respond to ambiguity. And so as researchers, we navigate spreadsheets and find the intrigue and interest in the data. We fill in the blanks and communicate through the use of infographics and visualised presentations. We believe research is at its best, when it tells a story. 

When we think about visuals that create interest and engage our minds, there are three key elements.

The first is colour. Our eyes and our minds are drawn to colour. The second is picture. The content of the visual. And the third is movement. Motion and movement attract and retain our attention. That is why YouTube is so popular. For why would we read it, when we can watch it?

And so when you next have a story to tell, remember that the mind responds to visuals. That we are wired to engage and retain information visually. And that creating interest ad intrigue, especially when you are communicating data, has never been more important than in the great screenage we are living in today. 


Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences.

From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms and content creation, Ashley advises on how to achieve cut through in message-saturated times. She is an expert in how to communicate across generational barriers.

Download Ashley's Professional Speakers Pack here and see the McCrindle Speakers professional presenter showreel here

Contact us today to book Ashley for your next event. 

McCrindle Speakers professional presenter showreel

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our McCrindle Speakers are experienced researchers and engaging presenters, delivering over 150 keynotes, strategy workshops and executive briefings to a range of audiences each year. 


Find out more about their most requested topics, past clients and testimonials in the below speakers pack.

The McCrindle Speakers team

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here. 

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. She is a global trends analyst who not only studies the megatrends, but has herself been shaped as a global citizen. Download Eliane's full speakers pack here. 

Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences. Download Ashley's full speakers pack here. 

Screentime: Making Sense of the iWorld

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Twenty years ago we became subjects of a new world order. A world order in which we started spending more time looking at screens than spending in face to face interaction. Today, each one of us spends, on average, 10 hours and 19 minutes each day looking at digital devices.


When we asked Australians how they spend their time, we found that the top activities Australians do on a weekly basis are indoor activities. Watching television or movies at home (90%) and spending time on social media (78%) top the list.

When asked what Australians would like to be doing less of, we find that we have an aversion towards the things we find ourselves doing. One in five of us would like to decrease the amount of time we spend on social media or the internet, and one in eight of us would like to decrease our television or movie consumption time. 

Regardless of our age or other demographics, we have become the iGen, and a group of global citizens part of a new experiment. A global experiment of digital connectivity that has transformed us to be post-linear, post-structural and post-literate. 

  • Post-linear: We no longer see life in a clear sequence, but rather a series of events that somehow come together in a new order. We don’t go to university or TAFE and end up with a trade or profession, but are entrepreneurial to the core. We up-skill, re-train, re-skill – most of us having 15 jobs across 5 careers in a lifetime.
  • Post-structural: We are post-structural, not needing our life organised in 9-5 modes. We telework, work from home, work from the train, really, we work all the time. We are a truly switched on generation, with more than half of us (54%, among Gen Y workers), admitting that we are always on and never quite feel like we can shut off.
  • Post-literate: Technology has made us post-literate and changed our lexicon and language. New words have entered our vocabulary, whether it be the emoji 'face with tears of joy' or words that aren't words at all, like #hashtag.

Screentime: Who is in control and what happens next?

Our data shows that nearly nine in ten of us have become consumers of social media, rather than contributors. Just 12% are active, sharing our life and engaging with others across social media platforms. There is no doubt that our digital times are changing our communication, our behaviour, and our learning styles. Social media has become the show-reel of our lives, breeding isolation, distraction, and a lesser ability to focus. 

Yet global connection has allowed us to gain insight into areas we never thought possible. Most of the world is now connected with a smart device. Our phones have become our 'third brain', challenging us and expanding our worldviews. In the future, new mediums will enable us to connect with the information currently available to us behind screens, in a way that is truly a part of our normal daily routine and less behind glass.

This global experiment that we find ourselves in presents a new set of challenges for us to grapple with. We have to think about how we navigate this new reality with both our cerebral capacity to think but also the deeper eyes of our heart, responding intuitively to how screens are shaping us and changing us. What future do we envision for the next generation to come, Generation Alpha? 

More than anything, it is about learning quickly from our recent past. We have the ability to create a future for the next generations that we can be proud of by maximising the best technology has to offer while leaving the 'not-so-good' bits behind.   

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the megatrends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth to social trends such as changing household structures, to generational change and the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

To have Eliane Miles present to your organisation on the screenage, Generation Z or the future world of work, please contact Kimberley Linco at or call 02 8824 3422



A Census snapshot of the Hills LGA (NSW)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The results from the national Census give a fascinating snapshot of life in The Hills LGA. The boundaries of The Hills local government area have changed only slightly since the 2011 Census allowing interesting comparisons of how we have changed over half a decade.

Changing households

Homes in The Hills contain slightly more people now (3.2 on average compared to 3.1 in 2011), and two in three have four or more bedrooms compared to just one in three nationally. However they are less likely to be a detached house than 5 years ago (82.4% compared to 84.1% in 2011) and less likely to be owned outright (34.5%, down from 36% in 2011). The costs of housing have been outstripping earnings with rents up 25% since 2011 but average household incomes only up 16%.

Culturally diverse

When compared to the national findings, local households are 35% more likely to be couple families with children, 34% more likely to have at least two cars, and 33% more likely to have at least one parent born overseas. Interestingly more Hills residents report their ancestry as English than Australian, even though only 3.3% of locals were born in England. In fact more people in the Hills were born in China (5.1%) and India (3.6%) than England, with South Korea and South Africa rounding out the top 5 for those born overseas. One in three residents speaks a language other than English at home, with that now most likely to be Mandarin, which has just overtaken Cantonese, showing the more recent migration patterns from mainland China.

Religious affiliations

While locals most commonly identify their religion as Christianity (64.8%), it has declined, while Hinduism has seen the biggest increase, from 3.1% in 2011 to 4.5% now. Of the 650 suburbs in Sydney, Castle Hill has the most number of Anglicans at 5,748 which places it 4th largest nationally for Anglicans.

Age of residents 

The Shire continues to have a younger profile than the rest of Australia with more people under 20 and less people over 65 than the national average. However while 2011 showed a deficit of 30-34 year olds locally compared to the state and national average, this latest data shows a surplus of 35-39 year olds indicating that while those in their twenties and early thirties do leave the Hills, it seems as if they also boomerang on back.

Recap from the 2016 Census Results

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Rolling around only every 5 years, the Australian Census provides us all with vital information about our nation’s population growth, infrastructure and future-planning needs. The Census has been conducted every 5 years since 1911, and is the biggest democratic activity in Australia.

Last week, the results of the 2016 Census results were released and revealed a picture of our changing nation. Australia is larger, older, more culturally diverse and less religious than at any other time in history.

At McCrindle, our social researchers are passionate about communicating the insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

Census media activity

Here is a recap of our media activity from last week’s census release:


Australia Street Infographic

If you lived on an average sized street in Australia comprised of 100 households, and these households were exactly representative of the Australian population, did you know that in a year, your street would see 1.2 marriages, 1.7 deaths and 3.3 births? These 100 households comprise 260 people, 49 dogs and 39 cats! There are 180 cars owned on the street, which each drive, on average, 14,000 kilometres each year.

We are delighted to present the brand new Australia Street infographic based on the just-released census data.

Click here for a summary of the findings from the Census data.

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