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Australians are richer but giving less

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The study also indicates that the rising level of donation by affluent Australians has not kept pace with wealth trends and that the percentage of the affluent who give to charitable causes has risen only modestly over the past ten years despite a substantially higher level of personal wealth.

“Overall, evidence suggests that Australia’s affluent are, on average, giving at a lower level than their counterparts in comparable countries such as the UK, Canada and the US, despite comparable wealth levels,” says the CPNS. “Of course, outstanding examples of generosity are being seen in growing numbers of wealthy Australians; at issue is their relatively small number.”

The study also suggests that wealth in Australia will increase in the coming years, so it is important to foster a culture of philanthropy among the affluent.

“The next four decades are also expected to pour continued wealth into this segment as the oldest generation passes and accumulated assets shift to grown children. This intergenerational transfer of wealth is widely projected to surpass that of any previous era,” the report says.

Some of the key recommendations to come out of the report include:

  • Increasing visibility of philanthropy amongst the affluent (including via the media)
  • Increasing awareness of different types of involvement to suit varying levels of wealth and personal circumstances
  • Improving understanding and responsiveness by the NFP sector of the needs and interests of the affluent
  • Offering more guidelines for giving, promote affluent giving norms and build the practice of ‘planned’ versus spontaneous giving
  • Getting the highest echelons of government, business, the professions and the community personally inviting Australia’s wealthy opinion leaders to join in visionary philanthropic projects.

To view the full report visit www.bus.qut.edu.au/research/cpns/publications/currentissue.jsp

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