50 Key Messages – Non-donors

Let’s talk about non-donors. A fifth of all Australians did not give money to an organisation. More than half of these non-givers (55.7%) reported they cannot afford to give. The next three reasons, however, all related to a lack of trust in the charity.

  • I don’t know where the money would be used (34.4%)
  • I think too much in every dollar is used in administration (32.8%), and
  • I don’t believe that the money would reach those in need (31.8%).

Some 48.1% of non-givers indicated that better information on how the money will be spent would influence their future giving. A quarter said they would give if they had more money. However, 22.3% said they would not be influenced by anything.

Other giving disincentives that came through strongly in interviews and focus groups were what participants termed intrusive fundraising: particularly evening phone calls and aggressive canvassers. This pressure presents a dilemma for participants as they generally believe in the cause or know it is important, yet are reluctant to give under perceived pressure. Furthermore, the ‘polished spiel’ of street fundraisers was considered widely to lack authenticity and pointed to the commercialisation of giving, something that some participants found abhorrent, and many felt uncomfortable about.

56% of the adult population were not volunteers. Just as with giving, social changes limiting personal spare time were a notable barrier to volunteering participation. It was reflected that in times past, many workers were able to maintain a more clearly compartmentalised work and home balance. Where work hours previously occurred between set hours (often 9 am–5 pm), participants perceived that employment is now more fluid. This lifestyle shift was noted to include irregular hours and/or scope to take work home and work off-site. Inconsistency and fluidity of paid employment commitments had influenced the scope to secure volunteers, who once might have been able to commit to regular weekly/monthly voluntary shift hours, but now required flexibility to engage in voluntary activities in conjunction with an unpredictable paid employment schedule.

Multiple participants noted that women are less likely to be full-time in their home, and are instead balancing work, life and family. This shift diminishes the amount of time that women could perhaps have devoted to charitable work. This was predicted to be a continuing trend.

A strong view emerged from the qualitative material that, although regulation was important to safeguard people and the industry, over-regulation worked against participation and progress, including the opportunities to be innovative and responsive to changes. There were also comments that some safety regulations were onerous and significant variations in state regulations concerning police checks were confusing and inefficient.

To read the full reports and factsheets, go to https://www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au/about/research-projects/giving-australia-2016/

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