Australian philanthropy and LGBTIQ+ giving

The state of giving to LGBTIQ+ causes in Australia

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This page is a snapshot of the state of philanthropy and LGBTIQ+ giving in Australia. spur: additionally provides bespoke strategic advice for LGBTIQ+ projects through 123+.

Philanthropy in General

  • Philanthropy efforts based around major events or topics of public focus (eg; bushfires) elicit disproportionately larger funds.
  • 94% of all donations in Australia go to just 10% of charities.<superscript>1<superscript>
  • Most individual donations go to religion, international, and health causes (though LGBTIQ+ people are far less likely to donate to religiously affiliated projects).
    Funding for LGBTIQ+ issues is vastly underrepresented. Marginalised groups within the LGBTIQ+ even more so.
  • The top reasons that Australians donate are:

Individual Philanthropy

  • Despite scoring 2nd in the world for 'giving', the rate of Individual philanthropy in Australia is decreasing.<superscript>2<superscript>
  • Approximately 14.9 million Australians donate to a cause each year.<superscript>3<superscript>
  • This makes up yearly total donations of between $12-$15 billion.<superscript>4<superscript>
  • Tax deductible donations average c. $181 per person per annum, with workplace giving averaging $75pa.<superscript>5<superscript>
  • Only half of individual donors claim to be “tapped out”, with 47% of Australians reporting they would give more if they could.<superscript>6<superscript>
  • 48% of people give to causes their friends champion on social media.<superscript>1<superscript>

The Typical Donor

  • Women are generally more likely to donate time and money to a cause. They are also more likely to take part in Workplace Giving, and give a higher proportion of income.
  • The typical donor in Australia is a 46 year old female, born in Australia, earning between $52–65,000pa, works full time, and has dependent children. This profile overlaps with a standard archetype of a marriage equality supporter.

Business Philanthropy

  • Business and corporate philanthropy is increasing in Australia despite remaining some of the lowest rates lowest in the world.
  • In 2018, Australian businesses donated $6.2billion to various causes, with small businesses averaging donations of $5,800, medium businesses $600,000 and large businesses $5 million.<superscript>1<superscript>
  • The banking industry has seen the largest increase in donations in recent years.<superscript>7<superscript>
  • The 50 companies contributing the most to corporate philanthropy spread their donations in the following ways:

Individual, non-LGBTIQ+ support for LGBTIQ+ causes

  • While most Australians care about and support LGBTIQ+ issues, this does not translate to supporting financially.
  • 63% of Australians are allies, friends or supporters of the LGBTIQ+ community, but only 2% take action, including donating.<superscript>8<superscript>
  • Less than 1% of donations made by non-LGBTIQ+ people go to LGBTIQ+ causes.<superscript>9<superscript>
  • Only 1-in-4 people have asked the LGBTIQ+ people in their lives how they can better support the community.
  • The typical 'Yes' voters in the 2017 same-sex marriage plebiscite were women, non-heterosexual people, young people, people with Year 12 or degree level education, non-religious, had relatively high incomes and lived in major cities.<superscript>10<superscript>
  • Donations are more likely if someone has previously signed a petition in support of an issue.<superscript>11<superscript>
  • Despite the same-sex marriage result in Australia, this support did not translate to financial support.
  • Australian Marriage Equality published a list of 2,229 organisations that had signed an open letter supporting the 'Yes' campaign, including 600 corporates, however did not receive any donations.
  • In contrast, on the other side of the ballot box, the 'No' campaign spent 5x as much as the 'Yes' camp. <superscript>12<superscript>

Government support for LGBTIQ+ causes

Of the $80 billion given in grants to community organisations across Australia every year, the following number of grants were given to LGBTIQ+ causes <superscript>13<superscript>

  • 165 Local Government grants (0.37%)
  • 24  State Government grants (all states) were given to LGBTIQ+ causes (0.10%)
  • 18 philanthropic organisation grants were given to LGBTIQ+ causes (0.22%)
  • 2  Federal Government grants were given to LGBTIQ+ causes (0.07%).

LGBTIQ+ support for LGBTIQ+ causes

  • LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to donate to causes they can associate with or have experienced themselves.<superscript>14<superscript>
  • 25% of donations made by LGBTIQ+ people go to LGBTIQ+ causes.<superscript>9<superscript>
  • LGBTIQ+ donors are far less likely to donate to religiously affiliated causes.<superscript>15<superscript>

LGBTIQ+ causes most supported

  • Under the rainbow LGBTIQ+ umbrella, some causes have a greater history of support than others. Causes aligning with gay men (4.4%)and lesbians (4%) garner greater financial support under this banner.
  • Across broader intersections of other identities and situations, youth (16.8%) and people of colour (8.8%) have garnered the most financial support.
  • People with disabilities have received the least support (0.1%), alongside women (0.1%) and sex workers (0.1%).
  • The full breakdown of funds distribution across LGBTIQ+ causes:<superscript>16<superscript>

Crowdfunding platforms and representation

  • The existence of LGBTIQ+ causes on popular Australian crowdfunding platforms is severely lacking.
  • Less than 0.38% of all campaigns represented any LGBTIQ+ causes:<superscript>17<superscript>

Rallied giving

  • There is a strong tendency for LGBTIQ+ causes to rally donations around specific events.
  • After the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida, USA, where 49 people murdered in an LGBTIQ+ club, over $7.8 million was raised.<superscript>18<superscript>
  • During Australia's same-sex marriage plebiscite, the 'Yes' campaign crowdfunded $106,000 to play an ad during The Bachelor.<superscript>19<superscript>


NB: This research was compiled and accurate as of April, 2020.

1. A Snapshot of Australian Giving, Koda Capital.

2. World Giving Index 2018. Charities Aid Foundation.

3. Giving in Australia: the fast facts. Philanthropy Australia.

4. Individual Giving Fact Sheet. Giving Australia.

5. An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2016–17. QUT.

6. Australia Giving, Good2Give. Charities Aid Foundation.

7. Giving Large 2019 Report. Giving Large.

8. Make Love Louder Report. Absolut Vodka.

9. Giving among same-sex couples: The role of engagement in Philanthropic Giving. Seattle University.  

10. Who supports marriage equality in Australia – and who doesn’t. The Conversation.

11. It shows that people care: LGBTI Organisations fundraising  from individuals in Europe and Central Asia. International Lesbian and Gay Association.  

12. Marriage equality opponents have spent five times more on TV ads. The Guardian, 2017.

13. Funding to LGBTIQ+ causes in Australia, GiveOUT, 2018.

14. Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. Oyserman 2007.

15. Building a new tradition of LGBTIQ+ Philanthropy. Horizons Foundation.

16. Forty years of LGBT Philanthropy 1970–2010, Funders for LGBTIQ+ Issues.

17. spur: qualitative research.

18. One Year After the Pulse Shooting, Equality Florida Calls on Supporters. Florida Equality.

19. Get the YES ad back on air!. Chuffed.