New research reveals critical role of grant-making charities


Australia’s Grant-making Charities in 2016, a sub-report of the Australian Charities Report 2016, was produced by the ACNC in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

The report assessed the activities of 10,398 grant-making charities in the 2016 reporting period.

ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, today launched the report, which offers insight into the diversity of the grant-making sector.

“This report provides data which illustrates the many forms philanthropy and giving can take in Australia,” Dr Johns said.

“More than 10,000 charities identified themselves as primarily focusing on grant-making activities in 2016.

“Grant-making charities distribute grants and donations to other charities and charitable causes.”

In addition to providing more than $4 billion in grants throughout 2016, grant-making charities employed more than 100,000 people.

“The charity sector is Australia’s second largest employer – of which grant-making charities are part,” Dr Johns said.

“However, 80 per cent of grant-making charities operated with no paid staff.”

“Our research showed that more than 37 per cent of funding was distributed to organisations through public or open processes, and 14 per cent of grants were issued to rural and regional recipients.

“Grants are predominantly used to build the capacity and capabilities of a charity, to provide support services or advocate for or against an issue.

“For example, some grants may support an existing long-term project to completion, while others may help that project to expand in another area in need.

“Funding from grants can be used as the starting point for a charity to commence new service offerings or to help more beneficiaries.”

Australia’s Grant-making Charities in 2016 is now available to download, along with the full Australian Charities Report 2016 and interactive data cube.

Key findings:

  • Grant-making charities provided $4 billion in grants and donations in 2016
  • Combined, they had total revenue of $16.5 billion in 2016
  • They also controlled $56.5 billion in total assets
  • Australia’s 10,398 grant-making charities employed 103,211 staff
  • 80.8% per cent of charities operated with no paid staff, and were supported by 337,288 volunteers
  • 20.9% distributed a major share of grant funds through multi-year grants