Last year, 14.9 million Australians donated to charities and non-profit organisations, totalling an impressive $12.5 billion in much-needed funds. With tax time just around the corner, and with 60% of Australian donors giving in the spur of the moment, we thought we’d lend a helping hand for our readers looking to make a last minute donation, and highlight some of the wonderful charities that our interviewees have shared with us so far this year.
Chief Executive Officer at Madison Financial Group
Read Annick's Q&A here.
"Weave Youth & Community Services is a non-profit community organisation that works with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, women, children and families in the City of Sydney and South Sydney, many indigenous. We are about to celebrate 40 years of service to the community. I had spent time in Far North Queensland volunteering with two Indigenous organisations and it had a profound impact on me. When I came home, I wanted to do something locally. I felt compelled to help, so I offered my services for strategy, coaching and pretty much anything they wanted help with."
Chief Investment Officer at MIESF
Read Chris's Q&A here.
"I’m a supporter of Alzheimer Australia. They’re trying to find a cure for this disease that impacts hundreds and thousands of Australians and it’s just getting worse. "
Portfolio Manager and Co-Director of Municipal Investments at Eaton Vance
Read Cynthia's Q&A here.
"I am actively involved with a group called School the World, which raises money to build schools and fund sustainable education in rural Guatemala. I have travelled to Guatemala with groups of high school students to help build schools and to immerse the students in a different culture. I believe that all children should have access to education, and my goal is to help provide education for a population that has little chance of gaining education without programmes such as School the World."
It's not just about the money. An estimated 43.7% of Australians volunteered an average of 2.5 hours a week, and a median of 55 hours per year in 2015-16.
Portfolio Manager at Cbus
Read Morten's Q&A here.
"For the past few years, I have supported Giant Steps,, a special needs school focusing on teaching kids on the autism spectrum in Sydney and Melbourne. I have also supported the Smith Family Appeal, as I believe in supporting children’s access to education."
CEO at Pengana Capital
Read Russel's Q&A here.
"On a personal level, there is a wide range of charities that I am involved with. However, my key philanthropic efforts are focused on a charitable venture that is run by my wife Carole - the Orah Project. The venture is based upon an investment fund (the Orah Fund) where all funds management fees are donated to charities. The Orah fund is a fund-of-funds with 10 excellent underlying funds where the fund managers are very kindly donating all of their fees to charity. Pengana also operates the entire Orah Fund structure free of charge. The charities that receive donations from the Orah Project are predominantly associated with Jewish community backed charities that focus on disadvantaged people. The Orah Project concept was copied from Chris Cuffe’s Thirdlink fund venture. The Orah Fund was launched 6 months ago and is growing rapidly – and now has in excess of $10 million under management."
Experienced Non-Executive Director and Founder of Compliance and Risk Executive Women (CREW)
Read Penni's Q&A here.
"I am a keen hiker, so I enjoy doing sponsored charity walks. In March I did the 60km Fred Hollows Foundation Coastrek which was very challenging given the wet and windy weather conditions on the day. For the past few years I have done the Spring Trek which is a wonderful, but very steep, 30km walk for Room to Read which supports literacy programs for girls in Asia and Africa."
On average, people who plan their donations contribute six times more than 'impulse' donors.
Head of Client Service and Administration at Vanguard
Read Colleen's Q&A here.
"I believe that with an education, you can do anything, and I think that literacy for young children is a big part of having a well-rounded education. I support the Smith Family, along with many colleagues through Vanguard’s community giving and volunteering program. Smith Family run important Let’s Read and Let’s Count programs, which I think are fantastic initiatives in helping parents and teachers set children up for success at school."
Manager of Investments at VanEck
Read Brett's Q&A here.
"My wife is currently doing her PhD in Animal Welfare at the University of Sydney. We are both very passionate about animal welfare causes and she has worked for a number of animal welfare charities in the UK, US and Australia. We have a rescue dog at home and are big supporters of the RSPCA."
CEO at WorkCover Queensland
Read Bruce's Q&A here.
"I am a big supporter of the ADARA Group. Adara work side by side with communities and children in remote areas to improve their lives. My family and friends have raised substantial funds for a most important cause of educating the young girls in the slums of Kathmandu, Nepal. 100% of every dollar donated goes to the cause as the overheads are covered by other business activities. You can donate here."
In 2015-16, Australian businesses gave a total of $17.5 billion.
Executive Manager of Compliance at legalsuper
Read Kaye's Q&A here.
"I have sponsored World Vision and various children for over 30 years."
Head of Employer Engagement at REST Super
Read Matt's Q&A here.
Head of Investment Sales at Colonial First State
Read Laird's Q&A here.
"I sponsor two children through Plan International. Ala is six and lives in Sudan and Sequelin is eight and lives in the Dominican Republic. It’s not by coincidence that I have two daughters the same age and place the onus on them to own the communication responsibilities with Ala and Sequelin. My wife and I have found this approach helps with educating our kids on how privileged we are to live in a country like Australia and not take what we have for granted."
Private Client Adviser at UniSuper
Read Jade's Q&A here.
"I am sponsoring 2 children from underdeveloped countries through Plan International to provide them with the resources for clean water and living and education. Having children of my own, I particularly feel the responsibility to ensure our next generation have a better future."
Head of the Consumer Sector at Watermark Funds Management
Read Ian's Q&A here.
"Humanitix is a new ticketing platform which donates the profits from booking fees to a charity of the event organisers choice. It’s been founded by a small group of philanthropists in Sydney and is purely charitable in purpose."
Technologically, the charitable sector runs the risk of being left behind. Nearly one-quarter of charities (23%) still do not have a website.
Head of Marketing at Legg Mason.
Read Felicity's Q&A here.
"I tend to support friends and families in their fund raising activities. Since I arrived at Legg Mason many of my colleagues have already asked me to sponsor them, as half of the office are undertaking FebFast. I would prefer to be a donor as I'm not sure I could pass up sugar and/or champagne for four weeks."
Sales Director at Henderson Global Investors
Read Tom's Q&A here.
Portfolio Manager at Cbus
Read Anthony's Q&A here.
"For the last two years our family have actively supported Finnan’s Gift , a charity that provides funding for the Cardiac Care Unit at the Royal Childrens’ Hospital in Melbourne."
CEO at Equip
Read Nicholas' Q&A here.
"I don’t support a specific charity or cause but try to support them on a case by case basis. I have participated in Movember and will support colleagues and friends seeking to raise funds. Having lived all my life in Melbourne I am disturbed by the increasing number of rough sleepers in the city and strongly applaud the work of organisations like St Vincent de Paul."
You can also head to ChangePath, an independent service that helps to find the right charity for you.
All of the statistics in this article were collected from Swinburne University of Technology: How Australians are giving to charity, March 2017.