“There’s no reason for people not to step forward from the get-go… the problems [of the world] can’t wait for us to be old enough and have accumulated all that we’re going to accumulate.”
-Young high net worth individual, VIC

Giving Australia 2016 is the largest research ever undertaken in Australia into giving and volunteering.

Younger voices were heard in this study particularly in the Household Survey, focus groups, interviews and the survey of Philanthropy and Philanthropists.

Common themes included:

– being personally involved in the process of philanthropic decision-making and choice of recipient was strongly valued

– the value of the ‘younger’ dollar coming from new industries

– moving causes versus lifelong commitment: a serial view

– often a family heritage of giving and an intentional passing on of values around generosity

– going on the board of a family Prescribed Ancillary Fund (PAF) as an early involvement

– a view that PAFs can be hard to navigate for those new to them

– still accumulating wealth so not commonly looking at structured giving such as a PAF yet, but not waiting to give, a ‘giving while accumulating’ approach: a belief that giving should be a lifelong habit, started young

– optimism about new models such as impact investing and trying to solve problems differently but recognition of the need for traditional philanthropy as well

– a sense that the professional adviser community needs to upskill in new forms of giving


Statistics about younger givers:

75.2% of Household Survey respondents aged 18–34 gave at least one money donation in the previous 12 months.

Their average total amount donated annually was $486.72, compared to $764.08 for all donors.

37.6% of 18–34 year old respondents gave an average of 101 hours during the year, compared to 134 hours for all volunteers.

The highest total annual donations from the 18–34 age group were to Religion (average $705.56, with a median of $100).The two causes receiving the highest average donations from younger givers (Religion and International) were also the highest for all respondents.

When donating using direct debit, credit card, PayPal or BPay younger givers were more likely to donate via the charity website (67.8%) than all givers (57.8%).

Some 20.3% of younger givers consulted the organisation’s website prior to making their donation.

Younger givers aged 18–34 also preferred an online request to donate: through a friend on social media (61.2% compared to 57.7% of all respondents).

Only 29.1% of 18–24 year olds and 48.8% of 25–34 year olds lodging tax returns claimed deductions for their donations, compared with at least 55% for older respondents.


Giving Australia 2016 was funded by the Department of Social Services as an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership. Many reports are already available free here and you can sign up for updates at https://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/giving-australia-2016.


Wendy Scaife, Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, QUT and Christopher Baker, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne.