Australia has just been named one of the world’s most generous nations. The World Giving Index released on Tuesday by the UK-based Charities Aid Fund ranked Australia fourth behind the US, Myanmar and New Zealand, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The special report drew on a decade’s worth of surveys that asked people across 128 countries if they had helped a stranger, given money or volunteered for a good cause during the previous month.
Australia performed especially well for its share of financial donors. Over the decade an average of 68 per cent of Australians reported making a donation to a charity or non-profit organisation during the previous month, the 8th highest share among the nations surveyed (Australia ranked 11th for helping a stranger and 12th for volunteering).
But we shouldn’t be too complacent. Australia is less open-handed on some other measures.
Each year Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Studies conducts a revealing appraisal of Australia’s generosity.
It uses Tax Office figures to evaluate the deductions individual taxpayers claim for charitable donations. The analysis doesn’t cover every contribution made to a good cause – giving by corporates and trusts along with non-deductible donations, such as raffle tickets, sponsorships and volunteering are not covered.
Even so, it provides unique insights on the nation’s giving.
While the Charities Aid Fund research highlighted Australia’s relatively high proportion of charitable donors, the analysis of tax return data reveals the amount of income we give away is much less impressive.
The latest figures – for 2016-17 – show individual taxpayers who made tax-deductible donations gave away an average of just 0.42 per cent of their taxable incomes, up from 0.35 per cent the year before.
‘Extraordinarily high’: Two postcodes stand out for charitable giving (Sydney Morning Herald)