If not generous, Australians are spolit for choice.
How much of your salary do you give to those less fortunate than you?
If it’s more than half a per cent of your income, you are more generous than most, according to an article in The Age.
The latest publicly available taxation figures from 2007/2008 reveal that of the 12.6 million individual tax returns lodged in Australia more than 8 million did not claim a deduction for gifts to a charity. We can assume that two-thirds of Australians with a job didn’t give any money to charity that year – or at least not enough to make it worth declaring.
The real bugbear for philanthropy expert Peter Winneke, who is mounting the ‘Give’ advocacy campaign, is that the wealthy in Australia (the 7,905 people who earn more than $1 million per year) are the least open-handed.
I don’t think it will change though, until we consolidate the number of charities we have to choose from in Australia. No wonder Australians are reticent to give – who do you give to?
Recently my partner and I wanted to start giving money to the anti-whaling movement. It’s a very specific cause yet we were amazed at the number of programs operating – WhaleWatch, Act Now, Friends of the Earth, ACF, IFAW and Sea Shepherd all came up in our research. Try giving money to people affected by the tsunami in Japan – at a glance, Australians can pledge money to World Vision, the Red Cross, Save the Children and The Salvation Army.
I understand why so many organisations start: we are all different, with different interests and life experiences so the one size cancer foundation doesn’t work for everyone.
But, ultimately, the number of charities we now have is excessive and is leading to waste and uncertainty among potential donors about who is most capable of using their money effectively.
To stand out and get critical mass, these charities need to employ lots of staff, advertise and spend money on marketing materials, eroding the funds they have been given for relief.
I know most state openly that for every dollar they are given, 20 cents is used for administration and the rest for the cause, but I’d be interested to know if they are still achieving this.
Maybe if we saw more consolidation of effort as we did with the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Fund, more people would bother to give and more funds would reach those in need.
P.S. I don’t want to stop you from giving – I just want to make it easier to do.