Philanthropy is an act of giving, by individuals and businesses, for community benefit involving money, property, expertise or time.

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Philanthropy in the ACT

Many charities and non government organisations rely on philanthropy from individuals and businesses in order to function effectively and provide a range of valuable, diverse and often essential services to the community.

In 2007 the Community Services Directorate (formerly Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services - DHCS) commissioned Urbis to conduct a review of the nature and extent of philanthropic giving in the ACT, by both individuals and businesses, with the aim of indentifying its adequacy, trends, impediments and opportunities for growth.

The Report, Review of Philanthropy in the Australian Capital Territory outlined a number of issues and nominates strategies for change.

The ACT Government has developed an action plan in response to the report that identifies strategies to progress philanthropy in the ACT and better equip non government organisations to take up philanthropic opportunities.

This website has been developed in response to the report.


Giving in Australia

Philanthropy in Australia takes many forms, for example, corporate and business donations, foundations and trusts, prescribed private funds, individual givers, responsible investment, bequests/wills, donations/pay roll deductions (workplace giving), volunteering, donating skills, donating assets, corporate linked foundations, awards, scholarships, sponsorships, cultural gifts, property and fundraising.

In Australia in 2006, personal donations of money to organisations were made by 11.8 million people. Concerns for people’s basic welfare needs, be they at home or abroad, still appears to be the greatest incentive for people to give money donations.

In 2005 the Federal Government commissioned the Giving Australia Report which found that 51% of donations made during the study period were one-off donations, other forms of donations are more central to sustaining organisations in the longer term. This includes donations in the form of: regular and generous giving built on a long-term relationship with individual or corporate givers; large grants or sponsorship; and partnership with business. A copy of the Giving Australia Report External Web site can be found on Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website External Web site.

It appears that the key to increasing philanthropy in Australia is to increase the capacity of the non-profit sector to access philanthropic funds.


Giving in the ACT

In 2006 the ACT had the highest proportion of volunteers, with 38% of the population volunteering (ABS 2006).

The Giving Australia Report found that the amount of business giving in each Australian state was in close proportion to the number of businesses. Given that the ACT has the smallest number of businesses based in the region compared to larger cities, non government organisations in the ACT may be disadvantaged in terms of accessing funds from businesses. It is not uncommon for businesses to give preference to organisations based in their local areas. This may be seen as a challenge for the ACT Government and the non-profit sector in terms of increasing private sector philanthropy in the region.

As part of the Report a survey was used that concluded that ACT non government organisations are very interested in increasing income through philanthropy but under invest in the pursuit of philanthropic giving both in terms of financial and human resources.


Key Findings on Philanthropy in the ACT

The Report found that there is great interest in philanthropy in the ACT but a general lack of the opportunities available for giving, and limited knowledge of how to go about it. There are also limited marketing campaigns in the ACT and limited mechanisms available to access information on philanthropy. Many non government organisations are not aware of how to approach potential donors, and cannot access information on who to approach.

Nevertheless the majority of non government organisations have received or are receiving philanthropic giving. This is mostly in the form of volunteers, donations, grants and pro bono work. The majority of non government organisations utilise volunteers, on average between 1 - 5 hours per week. About half the survey respondents had received less than $5000 in philanthropic income in the last twelve months.

There is a wide variety of approaches, resources, tools and people that are available to assist the work of non government organisations and increase philanthropy. The Report provides useful tools and information to assist organisations to overcome these barriers to philanthropy. In addition the following links provide information to assist those individuals or organisations who wish to participate in philanthropic giving and for those individuals or organisations who are seeking philanthropic resources.

More information on philanthropic giving can be found on the Giving Donations page.

More information on attracting philanthropic resources can be found on the Attracting and Receiving Donations page.



Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR)

A Deductible Gift Recipient is a fund or organisation which is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. There are many categories of DGR, and separate DGR registers for cultural and environmental organisations as well as overseas aid funds and harm prevention charities. Some kinds of philanthropic trusts are also DGRs. Organisations have to apply for DGR status through the Australian Tax Office External Web site

Net Worth Individual

A net worth individual or high net worth individual is a classification used to denote an individual or a family with high net worth. Although there is no precise definition of how rich somebody must be to fit into this category, high net worth is generally quoted in terms of liquid assets over a certain figure. The exact amount differs by financial institution and region.

Non government organisation

Non government organisation is a service based, non-profit organisation whose members are persons not employed by a government. These organisations are often engaged in humanitarian and development work.


Philanthropy is an act of giving, by individuals and businesses, for community benefit involving money, property, expertise or time.

Prescribed Private Funds

A prescribed private fund is a trust to which businesses, families and individuals can make tax deductible donations. It is prescribed by law. The fund must make distributions only to other deductible gift recipients that have been either endorsed by the Australian Tax Office or are listed by name in the income tax law. To be prescribed the fund must comply with the Governments requirements set out in the Guidelines for Prescribed Private Funds External Web site.

Trust or Foundation

A trust or foundation is a legal categorisation of non-profit organisations. They often have charitable purposes. This type of non-profit organisation may either donate funds and support to other organisations or provide the sole source of funding for their own charitable activities.