Australian Charities Report 2014 – summary of key findings

The Australian Charities Report 2014 is the first analysis of its kind, revealing previously unknown facts about the finances and sustainability of Australia’s charity sector.

Produced by the Centre for Social Impact in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, the report analyses data submitted through the 2014 Annual Information Statement from almost 38 000 charities registered with the ACNC.

Key findings

  • Charities have a combined total income of over $103 billion
  • The larges 5% of charities receive 80% of the sector’s income
  • Charities spent $95 billion pursuing their charitable purpose
  • 44% of charities operate with no paid staff
  • 4 out of 5 charities engage volunteers
  • 6% are over 100 years old
  • On average charities are 33 years old
  • Around 40% of charities have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. 30% of small charities, 51% of medium charities, and 66% of large charities have DGR status.
  • Charities are financially healthy
  • Most charities operate a balanced budget. They have a surplus or deficit of no more than 20% of their total income and were more likely to have a surplus.
  • Charities employ over 1 million staff.
  • Charities in the education and health sector are larger.

Income sources:

  • $54.5 billion is from other income and revenue
  • $42 billion is from government grants
  • $6.8 billion is from other donations and bequests*

* Donations contribute to: 13% of total income for large charities, 23% for medium charities and 32% for small charities.

Charities by sector

  • Culture and recreation (6%)
  • Development and housing (8%)
  • Education and research (18%)
  • Environment (3%)
  • Health (9%)
  • International (1%)
  • Law, advocacy and politics (1%)
  • Other/unknown (11%)
  • Philanthropy (6%)
  • Religion (30%)
  • Social services (7%)

Operating location

Australian charities operate throughout Australia and overseas:

  • 85% operate within only one state or territory
  • 13% operate in several states and nationally
  • 64% are based in urban areas
  • 31% are based in inner or outer regional areas
  • 4% are based in remote or very remote areas
  • 17% are involved overseas

Activities

Top activities by income are:

  • Education and research 36%
  • Health 29%
  • Development and housing 8%

Note: There are about 54,000 charities currently registered with the ACNC. About 16,000 had not completed an Annual Information Statement for the 2014 year by July 31 2015. Of the 37,398 that had completed an Annual Information Statement, nearly 10,000 did not provide financial data (mostly because an exemption applies in their case). See the full report for more details.