Australia’s generosity is declining. A lack of spending recorded in recent months leaves us thinking about the impact this may have on the social change sector during the festive season.
The Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2017, released in September, ranked Australia sixth across the globe. That’s a drop of three places, knocking Australia out of the top five. We’ve been overtaken by Myanmar, Indonesia, Kenya, New Zealand and the USA.
The outcomes of the 2017 CAF Giving Index, and low consumer spending, highlight the need to challenge thinking on how we frame giving for Australians who aren’t in a position to give money to charity. There are many opportunities to encourage Australians to participate in alternate ways and continue the dialogue about how Australians can make an impact at this time of year.
For many not-for-profits, volunteers form the foundations of their organisations. The Australian Charities report 2016 found that 1.3 million Australians are employed by charities and 2.9 million Australians volunteer. Volunteers and their donation of time already add value and build the impact of organisations, so why not call for them as we do donations?
The results from the Giving Australia Report still ring true a year later, where volunteering shone through as a significant part of non-profits with results showing that 94% of them have volunteers, with 63% actively recruiting. Volunteers are becoming more integrated into social impact organisations that need the skills of passionate volunteers.
So should fundraising communications also offer the opportunity to volunteer? For those who read a compelling case for support, and wish to help but find they cannot – should an equally weighted and welcoming message for a donation of time not be present?
A focus should also extend to people who can be newly engaged through non-traditional formats of giving. Interestingly, the Giving Australia report found that young people are engaged more efficiently through virtual volunteering opportunities and forms of crowd funding, as these are perceived to allow them to see the direct impact of their giving. This could be realised in integrated digital campaigns – connecting donors with VR experiences, or web solution that gamify the act of donating. It could also, however, be as simple as a series of videos from people who will benefit from donations – of time or money.
This holiday season, a time traditionally associated with giving, is an opportunity to discuss giving and consider how we can contribute throughout the coming year – knowing that we needn’t be limited to giving money, but in fact can make a positive impact with our time.