December 5, 2017

Media Release: Australian charity revenue jumps to $142.8 billion

Australian charities have reported $142.8 billion in annual revenue in the last year, according to new research launched today in Canberra by the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP.

The Australian Charities Report 2016 examined the 2016 annual reports of over 52,000 charities submitted to the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The report was produced by the Centre for Social Impact and the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, in partnership with the ACNC.

Acting ACNC Commissioner, Murray Baird, said the Australian Charity Report 2016 found that charities had increased their revenue not through donations but through other income sources.

“The Australian charity sector is vibrant and innovative, which has allowed them to diversify the way they raise the funds necessary to deliver vital services to the community,” Commissioner Baird said. 

“The Australian Charity Report 2016 found that nearly half of all charity revenue in 2016 was generated through membership fees, user-pays services, and other income sources. 

“By not relying on one income source, charities have ensured they can deliver services to the community in a more sustainable and robust manner.”

While charities have reported an overall increase in revenue, they also reported a fall in donations.

“Australian are still incredibly generous – the 2017 World Giving Index ranked us as the 6th most generous nation in the world,” Commissioner Baird said.

“But while revenue was up, we did see donations and bequests fall from 11.2 billion to 10.5 billion over the last year.

“We hope to see this bounce back this year and we encourage Australians to consider donating to a registered charity during the traditional Christmas giving period.

“Pleasingly, the report found that charities have 2.9 million volunteers, and this number has remained high compared to last year. 

“Members of the public and donors can find registered charities to donate to or volunteer for this Christmas by searching the ACNC’s Charity Register, and by keeping an eye out for the Registered Charity Tick."


Key findings from Australian Charity Report 2016:

  • Registered charities had a total revenue of $142.82 billion.
  • Charities that provide education services, such as universities and non-government schools had the largest annual revenue. This group makes up 18.6% of the total number of charities, but accounted for 45% of the sector’s total revenue.
  • Charity revenue was generated through:
    • Membership fees, user-pays services, and other income sources – 49.7%
    • Government grants and contract payments – 43%
    • Donations and bequests – 7.3%
    • The most common type of charity is religious groups (31%). However, this group of charities only takes in 6.6% of the sector’s total revenue.
    • Most registered charities are small (67%) with annual revenues under $250,000.
    • Breakdown of charities by size:
      • Large charities (revenue of $1 million plus) – 17%
      • Medium charities ($250,000 – $1 million) – 16%
      • Small charities (revenue of $50,000 – $250,000) – 67%
      • 10.6% of all Australian employees are employed by charities.
      • 49.6% of charities have no paid staff.
      • On average, each charity has 58 volunteers. In total, there are 2.9 million volunteers.
      • Over half of all charities operate in either New South Wales (39.7%) or Victoria (31.1%).
      • Only a small number of charities help communities overseas (8.4%).
      • The top ten countries that charities assist overseas are:
        • India
        • Philippines
        • New Zealand
        • Indonesia
        • Papua New Guinea
        • Cambodia
        • United States
        • Thailand
        • Fiji
        • Nepal

The full Australian Charities Report 2016 and interactive data cube can be found at


ACNC Media Contact: or 0466 089 108.

CSI Media Contact: or 0407 075 307

Back to
Download Printable File

Comments (0)

Make Change Matter



Sign In or Register