The charity sector in Australia is large and diverse.  Starting here, you can explore the size and shape of the whole of the charity sector using the best/most recent data available for each charity.

There are three versions of the dataset available:

For the ACNC data you’ll be able to look at the same range of illustrations filtered with different options like organisation size or state/territory. The main difference between options 1) and 2) are that some illustrations in option 2) have been modified to make sense if only one or two sectors are selected. For option 3) ORIC data, there are no opportunities to filter the data due to the limited number of charities reporting to ORIC.

Click here to see an international map showing countries (besides Australia!) in which Australian charities operate.

Where does the data come from?

The datacubes profile 49,521 charities (including 958 charities that report as part of 170 groups). The report uses the best and most recent data available for each charity.

Figures in the online datacubes may be slightly different to those reported in the main report. This is because the datacubes exclude information from charities that have withheld data and data from charities reporting to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). Some charities are permitted to withhold certain information from the Register in limited circumstances. The ACNC explains more about withholding data here (note, this link will take you to an external website).

You can read more about the data that is included or excluded – and why –on the  methodology page.  If you’re looking for an older version of the data from 2015 or 2014 you can find it all on the  archive page.

How to explore the data

You can filter the data in a number of ways according to your interests. You can filter the data by:

  • State
  • Sub-sector or main activity
  • Beneficiary group (i.e. the people or groups the charity helps)

Sub-sector or main activity

In the AIS, charities are required to describe the scope of their main activities.  To view data relating to a main activity (e.g. aged care activities) look for the main activity filter which appears on each page in the interactive data (right hand side of the screen). There are a lot of main activities – to reduce the size of this list, you can also select a sub-sector.

From this question we have created the ‘sub-sector’ filter in the data, as a way to group main activities. Sub-sectors include health, social services, education and research and more. Most sub-sectors have more than one ‘main activity’ within them. For example:

  • Health includes aged care activities, hospital services and rehabilitation activities, mental health and crisis intervention and other health service delivery.
  • Education and research includes higher education, primary and secondary education, research and other education.

Beneficiary groups

In the AIS, charities are also asked to indicate what kinds of people they help. If you want to look at charities that help one of these groups of people, follow the instructions below.

To look at a subset of charities that indicate they help a certain group of people, such as ‘people with disabilities’, ‘people at risk of homelessness/the homeless’, ‘children aged under 13 years’ do the following:

  1. Go to the ‘explore sector detail’ data page
  2. The first “tab” you see has a heading “Your Data Selection”. In the middle box you should see “Show charities who help . . .” where you can select up to three of the Beneficiary Groups.
  3. Click the drop-down list for the first Beneficiary Group and select the beneficiary group(s) you are interested in.
  4. The dataset will update to include only charities who indicated they help the group(s) you have selected (it may take a moment or two). You can also make other selections on this page if you want.  The selections you make here will apply to the whole “workbook” (ie all the pages).  You can now look through the different pages – use the tabs near the top of your screen labelled “Geography”, “Size & Activities” etc – to view the data.

Note that many different types of charities will select a single beneficiary group, while others select multiple groups. We cannot tell from the data which types of charities have a particular beneficiary group. For example, if a charity has selected ‘homeless people’ as a beneficiary group we cannot tell if this charity is focused only on services for homeless people, or whether they help a range of groups, of which homeless people are one.


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