The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has highlighted some interesting statistics on Australians’ charitable giving.
- In 2007-08 (the most recent year for their research), the average tax-deductible donation made and claimed by Australian taxpayers was $523.10. This average amount has nearly trebled in the last decade.
- In 2007-08, 4.48 million taxpayers (or 35.47% of the taxpaying population) made and claimed tax-deductible donations.
- On average, those individual taxpayers who make tax-deductible donations donate approximately 0.43% of their taxable income.
This report, based on Australian Tax Office data, does not include donations to organisations which are not deductible gift recipients, e.g. churches or charity events. So we do not have a complete picture here, as many individuals might also contribute to charity events, raffles or other fundraisers.
Even with that in mind, contrast Australians’ charitable giving to their spending on other items. In his book Promoting The Gospel (2005), Christian writer John Dickson observed:
On a weekly basis … Australian households spend on average $4.44 on charitable giving. The average Australian spends more each week on confectionary ($8.10 on chips, chocolate and ice-cream alone); quite a bit more on pets ($9.18); more again on cigarettes ($11.55); three and a half times more on beer and wine ($15.58); and nearly ten times more on restaurant and takeaway meals ($42.10).
Churches and Giving
- The first group with the highest rates of giving (tithing a tenth or more) include Seventh-day Adventist (66%) and Pentecostal attenders (62%).
- The second group, with around 30% to 46% of attenders who tithe, includes the Baptist, Churches of Christ, and Salvation Army denominations among others.
- The third group, which includes the Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting churches, has around 14% to 18% who give a tenth or more of their income.
- Thirty-three percent of the individuals surveyed said they give 10% or more of net income regularly.
- Thirty-six percent said they gave less than 5% of net income, or a small amount.
In a more detailed NCLS survey of 2500 participants:
- Fifty-one percent of the individuals gave between $11 and $60 per week to their church.
- Twenty-one percent gave over $60 per week, and 23 percent gave less than $10 per week.
Most Australians could give more money to charitable causes. As Christians, we too should evaluate our spending. Dickson asks some pointed questions:
Would I spend as much on the work of evangelism as I would on my CD collection, movie/theatre tickets, sporting events and other weekend outings? Do the missionaries I know get as big a slice of my income as my local restaurants, takeaway joints, bottle shop or cafe? If not, why not? What possible reason could there be for not matching my expenditure on ‘luxuries’ with expenditure on my ‘partnership in the gospel’?