The latest charity data is now available

Did you know that in 2018, the charity sector employed approximately 10% of Australia’s paid workforce and grew at more than 3 times the rate of the national economy?

Every year, registered charities are required to submit an Annual Information Statement (AIS) to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) reporting on their activities and providing key data for the previous year.

The data collection and the publishing of the report occurs each year, but due to the nature of the reporting cycles and the time taken to prepare the report, there is a lag of 18 months or so, which is why the 2018 data has just been released. It is still useful though and gives us some interesting insights into the charity sector.

Based on the information compiled from the 2018 AISs, the ACNC has produced a report detailing their findings. This report provides an excellent “snapshot” of the charity sector. We have extracted some of the key findings for your perusal below.

Interestingly, the report found:

  • Revenue in 2018 was up 6.4% annually to $155.4 billion demonstrating growth at more than 3 times the rate of the Australian economy (1.9% for the 2018-19 financial year). However, not unexpectedly, expenses also grew, up $11.6 billion to $148.5 billion.
  • Almost half of the revenue of registered charities was from government grants (47%) and over one third (34%) was generated by providing goods and services with less than 10% of the sector’s funding ($10.5 billion) coming from donations. This challenges stereotypical views that charities are primarily or significantly funded by donations and bequests.
  • 66% or two thirds of charities are listed as “small” charities meaning that they have turnover of less than $250,000 per annum. The proportion of charities in this size category has remained stable since the first charity report in 2013.
  • The 10 largest charities (by revenue) generated 13.6% of the sector’s revenue and the 50 largest charities accounted for over a third (34%) of the sector’s revenue.
  • Registered charities employed 1.31 million staff, up from 1.26 million in 2017. They expended $81.1 billion on employee expenses which is up 8% on the previous year’s figure. Based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, charities employ approximately 10% of all employees in Australia which demonstrates the significance of the sector.
  • 3.7 million volunteers are engaged with registered charities (up from 3.3 million in 2017). It is important to note that people may volunteer with not-for-profit organisations such as sporting clubs. As these organisations are not registered charities, those numbers are not included in this report and the total number of volunteers in the not-for-profit sector is likely much higher.

If you found these facts interesting, we’d recommend taking a look at the complete report which provides an easy to read overview. The ACNC also provides a free, publicly available searchable interactive dataset, allowing you to conduct your own searches.

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