2017 Australian Communities Forum Recap

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Last Friday, McCrindle and AlphaSys were proud to present the Australian Communities Forum (ACF) at Customs House in Sydney. The ACF featured 14 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed sessions. We began the day with tea and coffee on arrival before kicking off our first session, which focused on the research results from the Australian Communities Trends Report into Australia's not-for-profit sector. Before we launched into the findings we received a warm welcome from Councillor Jess Miller on behalf of our event sponsor, the City of Sydney.


Eliane Miles opened Session 1 with a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Eliane provided an overview of giving in Australia, indicating that 4 in 5 Australians give financially to charities / not-for-profits, the top 8 causes Australians are supporting and the 5 charity essentials.

Mark McCrindle continued the theme of presenting results by exploring some of the key insights from the 2016 Census results. Australia’s population is growing, ageing and changing. Mark also explored how not-for-profit organisations can respond to our changing nation.

Each of our delegates also received a copy of The Australian Communities Trends Infographic which contains the top line findings from the national study into Australian giving and how charities can engage.


After a networking break over morning tea Lalita Stables, head of strategic business at Google shared an engaging keynote presentation on strategy essentials that can be applied in local communities. Lalita spoke to leadership in an organisation, how Google have both a culture of innovation and information, and encouraged organisations to have a mission, transparency and a voice.

Our next keynote, Justin Yoon – founder and director at AlphaSys who was our event partner this year, delivered an engaging keynote address on how when building authentic communities, technology isn’t always the answer. Justin encouraged us to get ‘SLOSH-ed’ – or in other words, to ensure organisations Strategise, Listen, Orchestrate, Start simple and value Human experience.

Our final keynote was delivered by Jonnie Farrell, founder of start-up Adventure Squad and previously a product designer at Airtasker. Jonnie inspired and challenged us to think like a start-up and to trust our instincts, work hard and have a pure intent. From his experience in start-ups and entrepreneurism, Jonnie encouraged delegates to build, measure and learn.



In this stream, Richenda Vermeulen, CEO at ntegirty, began the session by challenging our audience with research-based insights on the four keys to achieving digital success. Ben Littlejohn from Act for Peace then spoke about promoting a start-up campaign using social and mainstream media, from Act for Peace’s Ration Challenge. Our final speaker for tis stream, Andrew Hill who is the community and fundraising director at The Salvation Army, shared how The Red Shield Appeal recently incorporated electronic giving into its appeal.


Graham Catt, CEO of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) began our second stream on community trends by sharing how the AVA uses environmental scanning to identify the trends taking place in the external environment and how to respond to them. Tony Holland, the CEO of OzHelp, then shared the inspiring story of how OzHelp’s tune-up program is reaching people where they live and work. Josh Crowther then concluded our second stream by sharing valuable insights from research conducted by Dunham+Company into donor trends and Australians giving behaviours.


Following afternoon tea and some great networking, we gathered back together to hear from our last two speakers, Andy Meier from Strategic Minds Communication and Sam RefShauge from batyr.

Andy Meier, director of Strategic Minds Communications kicked off our afternoon session by giving us some key insights into the power of video storytelling. Andy shared how a good story has a narrative, and that stories inspire us towards action.

Our last speaker of the day was Sam Refshauge, the CEO and executive director at batyr. Sam shared the inspiring story of how batyr came to be, and how to engage and communicate with Generation Z, we need to be innovative, create communities, encourage and empower, and utulise peer-to-peer interaction for this emerging generation.


We would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates for making the 2017 Australian Communities Forum a fantastic event. A big thank you to our primary sponsors Database Consultants Australia and the City of Sydney for your support in making this happen.

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 australiancommunities.com.au

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 kim@mccrindle.com.au, 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 australiancommunities.com.au

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

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.

Insights into our School based Career Practitioners

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

There are set to be almost 800,000 school graduates in the next three years, and equipping them to make well-informed decisions about their next chapter of life is front of mind for school based career practitioners.

We were delighted to partner with the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) to find out what is happening in our schools. The research shows that whilst parents are still the number one influencers on their children’s career planning, career practitioners come in second. More than half of students identify their career teachers/advisors in their top two people they are most comfortable to approach about career advice.

A higher proportion of young people today are entering university education than ever before (predicted to be 1 in 2 Generation Z—currently aged 8-22), however, one in three university students don’t complete their course within six years of enrolment. The fall of completion rates of university students, and increase of cancellations and withdrawals of apprentices and trainees, point towards a need for students to be better informed when making decisions about training or further study.

Our research shows that whilst the full time career practitioners have the greatest ability to fully implement the most effective career development strategies—such as one-on-one interviews and career action plan development—less than half (48%) of Australia’s school based career practitioners are fulltime. In fact, school career practitioners are 2 times more likely to have had their time allowance decreased than increased in the last three years.

Click here to download part one of the infographic

Click here to download part two of the infographic 

Research Launch Event at NSW Parliament House

Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Eliane Miles at the launch with (L to R) Bishop Peter Ingham, Education Minister Rob Stokes, The Hon Paul Green, Shadow Minister Jihad Dib and Murray Norman.

The NSW Government recently released the independent review of Special Religious Education (SRE). In response, McCrindle was commissioned to review the findings and summarise the key data into this SRE in Schools visual summary.

As part of this process, Research Director Eliane Miles was delighted to speak last Tuesday night at NSW Parliament House to launch these findings. The other speakers who addressed the attendees, who included representatives from most of the major providers of SRE across all faiths, were the Education Minister Rob Stokes, Shadow Minister Jihad Dib, and host of the event, The Hon Paul Green MLC.

Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles
Education Minister Rob Stokes
The Hon. Paul Green MP

The Review highlighted how SRE contributes to students’ understanding of their cultural heritage and is an avenue for their spiritual care. Further, it noted that the work of SRE teachers builds tolerance in schools, promotes multiculturalism, contributes to a well-rounded education, and connects schools with their local community.

In addressing the gathering, Mr Stokes, said, “It is wonderful that we have in our schools an understanding that humans are made up of three parts, mind, body and spirit, and we need to provide sustenance to each part of what makes us fully human. SRE has a very important role to fulfil in our schools.”

Mr Dib expressed strong bipartisan support for the value of SRE. Mr Dib said, “[The review] was not at any point in time thinking how to do away with it, but rather, how we actually improve it.” In thanking SRE teachers and providers, Mr Dib went on to articulate the importance of ensuring, “Every single student should have an opportunity – for at least one hour in a week – to reflect about the person that they are and the way that they can actually better themselves.”

Most striking amongst the research presented by Eliane Miles was the levels of satisfaction regarding SRE from schools and parents. The research showed that of the 780,600 students that attend the 2,152 government schools in NSW (with SRE taught in 87% of these schools), 84% of parents are satisfied or mostly satisfied with their student’s learning experiences in SRE and 96% of principals agree or mostly agree that their school has a good working relationship with SRE providers.

The Changing Face of Australia Event Recap

Friday, May 26, 2017

Australia is changing more rapidly than anytime in modern history. The Census provides us with a snapshot in time but also a perspective into our future.

To help not-for-profit leaders thrive in a changing environment, together with Clayton Utz, and 4community, we came together to host a breakfast this morning, called The Changing Face of Australia.

The changing face of Australia impacts how not-for-profit organisations hire talent, manage leadership succession, seek donations and deliver programs.

Thank you to Clayton Utz for hosting us at their picturesque office, where our guests could soak up the unobstructed view of our beautiful harbour. And of course, thank you to all of those in attendance. For those who missed the event, here is a quick recap.

With the Sydney skyline just behind him, Mark McCrindle opened the morning by unpacking the changing demographics, growing migration and emerging donor needs via our latest infographic, especially designed for the Not For Profit sector in Australia. You can download a copy by clicking here.

We then had an exclusive interview with 4Community CEO and RSPCA Queensland CEO, Mark Townend, detailing the use of research data to drive RSPCA’s mission, enable operational efficiencies and adapt to change.


We would like to extend a big thank you to those in attendance this morning. Be sure to look out for our future events taking place in Sydney, and if you're interested in having one our McCrindle Speakers present at your next event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

About Research Visualisation

In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. 

We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.

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