Average donations over the past two years have decreased to $488 per person, down from $603 in 2021 and $523 in 2020, according to data gleaned from interviews with 3,435 Australian adults about their awareness of, and donations to, more than 50 leading charities. 

At the same time, the average number of charities that Australians donate to has consistently fallen and the number of Australians who do not donate at all has increased from 35% in 2021 to 39% in 2022 — a figure similar to five years ago. Donation amounts have understandably been impacted by COVID-19 with 28% of respondents saying that the pandemic had negatively affected their donations to charities. 

FIGURE 1: Trends in average donations

Angela Brooks, author of the survey at McNair yellowSquares says, “The average donation decreasing at the same time as the average number of charities donated to is a reminder that the fundraising environment is becoming more competitive. Charities need to continue to maintain their profile amongst potential donors or risk a decreasing fundraising pool.”

To increase donations, charities need to understand who is likely to give the most and the survey data is designed to assist fundraisers to effectively target their audience.

FIGURE 2: Trends in average number of charities donated to
FIGURE 3: Location Profile: Metro $552; Regional $371

Australians are likely to donate to three charities or less. Groups who tend to give to an above average number of charities are women and people aged over 55. The McNair survey shows that Australians living in metro areas are more likely to give higher amounts compared to those in regional areas ($552 compared to $371). People living in New South Wales were likely to give the highest amount, giving $655 on average.

The data has consistently shown that Australians with higher incomes, those who are professionals and in managerial occupations, and those aged 25-54 years are more likely to give higher donations on average. In 2022, men and women gave similar average amounts.

Figure 4: Prompted awareness trends

Maintaining general awareness levels is also paramount to achieving donations. Prompted awareness (when a respondent is given a list of charities and asked if they are aware of any of those organisations) is not as accurate a predictor of donor numbers as unprompted awareness. Data shows that prompted donor recall of your charity must be 70% or higher to achieve donations from at least 10% of those respondents. In this study, 80% prompted awareness achieved a donor level of 15% for Australian Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Cancer Council Australia.

“The data shows that the last few years have been volatile for donations to charities,” says Angela, “and indications show that this volatility may remain a feature of the market.” 

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.