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

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