Why Australia Rates High in the World Giving Index

Beyond the Orphanage

The definition for philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generation of money for good causes.

The good news for Australia? We have philanthropists by the bucket loads.

According to the Charities Aid Foundation, from 2010 to 2012, Australia was deemed the most generous country on earth. In a typical month, more than two thirds of Australians donate money to help a stranger or cause and more than a third of people volunteer. Be it with their time or money, Australian’s prove year after year that they love to share.

The 2013 World Giving Index saw Australia drop slightly in its rankings (down to 7th place), but that’s not to say we are losing momentum for giving. With 67% of Australians donating to charity, it simply means that the rest of the world is lifting it’s game. In fact, in the last year, charitable giving in Australia has risen more than 8%. This comes in spite of below trend economic growth, increasing joblessness and raised anxiety surrounding the cost of living.

As well as more people donating, the annual donation size has also increased, rising by $13 to $315 per donor.


Humanitarian Services are by far the biggest receivers when it comes to charitable donations by Australians, with 32.7% of donations going to organisations such as the Red Cross. Other causes and services supported include:

  • Health and disabilities (12.1%)
  • Medical research (11.5%)
  • Community service & children/family charities (11%)
  • Cancer (9.6%)
  • Animals & Environment (8.1%)

Globally, helping a stranger is the most popular form of charitable giving. In a typical month, it is estimated 1.9 billion people will help a stranger.


In terms of age, it seems the older you get, the more you are willing to give to charity. This is an impressive statistic, when you consider that many older Australians relying on the pension struggle with day-to-day living costs.


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In terms of region, regional Australians give an average of $271, compared with $318 given by people in metropolitan areas. The country’s most charitable postcodes are:

  • NSW, 2088 – $204
  • VIC, 3186 – $178
  • ACT, 2600 – $176
  • QLD, 4069 – $171
  • SA, 5064 – $161
  • WA, 6009 – $158
  • TAS, 7005 – $101


With lack of mandatory reporting, putting an exact figure on how much money is donated each year is near impossible. It is estimated, however, that there are approximately 5,000 foundations in Australia giving more than half a billion per annum.

Word Giving Index | Why Australia rates high in the world giving index?








There is a strong link between people who donate and people who volunteer, with volunteers being much more likely to donate than those who don’t give up their time for others.

Extracted from the ABS 2010 Report Voluntary Work:

In the Australian population over 18 years, 6.1 million people volunteer their time, with women more likely to volunteer than men. With more youth taking on volunteering duties, however, it’s expected that this number has risen significantly since 2010. The number of annual hours volunteered has also expected to have risen, from 56 hours to 58 hours.

In terms of regions, those living outside of a capital city are more likely to give up their time and those aged between 45 and 54 years offered the highest number of volunteers. Employed people are more likely to volunteer than those who are unemployed.

The four most common types of organisations for volunteers are:

  • Sport and physical recreation
  • Community/welfare
  • Religious groups
  • Parenting, children, youth

Volunteering has massive economic value for the country’s organisations and as volunteering is considered a hereditary past time, if you’re not doing it already, it’s time to start.

Being a philanthropist can be a very rewarding thing. Choose a charity that is close to your heart and helping will come naturally. To be a philanthropist, you can donate money, become active in your community, form your own charity or volunteer. As a philanthropist in Australia, you’ll have plenty of company, which is great news for organisations.

November 25, 2015

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