The landscape of charitable giving in Australia has seen a noteworthy shift in recent years, with insights from interviews revealing intriguing trends. In a survey encompassing 3200 Australian adults and spanning over 50 prominent charities, a compelling narrative of generosity and change emerges. Since 2021, the average donation amount from Australians had been on a downward trajectory. However, breaking this pattern, the latest data unveils a heartening development: the average donation amount has experienced a modest upturn for the first time in four years. Delving into the numbers, the average donation per person has risen from $423 in 2023 to $427 in 2024. This upward trend signals a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to philanthropy among Australians.

Further analysis reveals an interesting gender disparity in donation patterns. Men, on average, have shown a greater propensity for giving, with an average donation of $509 over the past two years. In comparison, women’s average donations stand at $349 during the same period.

Trends in average donations. 

Encouragingly, a greater number of individuals have expressed their commitment to maintaining their donation amounts, signaling a sense of stability and dedication to charitable causes. 

Compared to the previous year, a notable increase is observed in the percentage of people who intend to keep their donation amounts unchanged for the upcoming period. This shift reflects a strong resolve among donors to continue supporting their chosen charities at consistent levels. 

Furthermore, the data reveals a decline in the number of individuals planning to reduce their donation amounts. This decrease underscores a positive sentiment towards sustained giving, indicating a resilience and belief in the impact of charitable contributions. 

Charitable giving in the next twelve months. 

While there are positive shifts in donation amounts and commitments, a concerning trend emerges in the realm of donation participation rates. The number of individuals engaging in charitable giving has steadily declined, reaching an unprecedented low in recent times. The data reveals a worrisome statistic: the proportion of Australians who do not donate at all has surged from 35% in 2021 to 42% in 2024. This increase underscores a growing challenge in encouraging widespread participation in philanthropic endeavours. 

Trends in proportion of people who have donated to charities in the past 2 years.

Key strategies to address declining donor numbers

These figures indicate that whilst the struggling economy has directly affected the capacity of charities to raise funds since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is hope that there will be improvements over the coming year. These promising trends not only bode well for the financial stability of charitable organisations but also speak to the enduring generosity and altruism of donors. As fundraising efforts continue to evolve, these insights serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring confidence in the ongoing support for philanthropic endeavours. However, the declining pool of donors to all charities presents a challenge — particularly for charities that are not well known. As people donate to approximately three charities each, it is crucial for charities to keep their visibility high among potential donors, or else they may face a shrinking fundraising pool. 

These findings not only shed light on the evolving dynamics of charitable giving in Australia but also offer valuable insights for fundraising initiatives. Understanding these trends can empower organisations to tailor their strategies effectively, engaging diverse demographics and maximising contributions towards meaningful causes. This decline in donation participation levels calls for concerted efforts to reinvigorate and expand the culture of giving within the community. 

Initiatives aimed at raising awareness, fostering empathy and highlighting the transformative impact of donations can play a pivotal role in reversing this trend. Engaging with diverse demographics and leveraging innovative fundraising strategies can help bridge the gap and inspire greater involvement in charitable activities. McNair recommends focusing on three key strategies: 

1 Use multiple channels and offer different options for giving 

2 Develop top-of-mind awareness by frequently approaching potential donors 

3 Target your highest-giving donors 

The significance of charity awareness

Decades of comprehensive monitoring have unveiled a compelling correlation between charity awareness and donation levels, shedding light on key factors that drive philanthropic support. The data underscores the pivotal role of top-of-mind awareness in shaping donation behaviours, with direct implications for fundraising strategies. 

Analysis of long-term trends reveals a strong association between the quantity and size of donations and the top-of-mind awareness of major charities. The connection can be strengthened through the frequency of approaches made by charities to potential donors, highlighting the importance of proactive engagement efforts. Moreover, the significance of maintaining high levels of general awareness cannot be understated in the quest for securing donations. While prompted awareness serves as an additional metric, the data underscores that a minimum of 70% prompted awareness is necessary to achieve a donor level of at least 10%. 

The table below showcases organisations that consistently excel in achieving high levels of top-of-mind awareness, offering valuable benchmarks for charitable entities aiming to optimise their outreach and impact. 

Prompted awareness trends. 

What it all means

These findings serve as a roadmap  for enhancing fundraising strategies, emphasising the critical role of  awareness-building initiatives in fostering  a supportive ecosystem for charitable  contributions. By leveraging these insights, organisations can maximise  their efforts and foster stronger  donor relationships. 

McNair yellowSquares (and before it, McNair Ingenuity Research and Quadrant  Research) has been monitoring public awareness and support of charitable organisations since 1987. This national survey aims to assist charitable and aid organisations in their marketing and  public relations activities by providing reference data for planning and  performance review.