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Mice Net : October 2009
mice.net 123 The Australian not-for-profit sector is sometimes called the third sector as it is neither a commercial nor or government sector. Examples of not-for-profit entities include: hospitals, community services, universities, sports clubs, religious groups, day care centres, recreation clubs, environmental groups, job training centres, and family counselling agencies. Examples of not-for-profit companies include: Opera Australia, Australian Football League, Meetings & Events Australia; the ACTU; Sydney Road Association, the Business Council of Australia; the Australian Jockey Club; the Surf Live Saving Association; the Returned Services League; the Salvation Army; the Australian Medical Association; and many more. The number of Australian third sector organisations has been estimated at 700,000 (Mark Lyons, Year Book Australia 1999). Some 380,000 of these are incorporated in some form, and of those 35,000 are large enough to employ staff. Relative to the economy Not-for-profits dominate several sectors of the Australian economy. The community services sector, for example, assists and supports individuals, families and communities in need, and in 2000 94 per cent of the 9300 organisations operating in this sector were not-for- profits. The sector is growing rapidly. Philanthropy The strength of the not-for-profit sector rests eventually on the Australians who donate money and volunteer their time. Total giving to non-profit organisations by individuals and businesses was $11 billion in 2006, made up of: • $7.7 billion from individuals - 13.4 million people, or 87 per cent of adult Australians, in the year to January 2005 • $3.2 billion from 525,900 businesses, or 67 per cent of all businesses, in the 2003-04 financial year Only 20,000 of the nation's 700,000 not-for-profits can receive tax- deductible gifts. Some other interesting information about not-for-profits include: • In 2004 Australians donated $5.7 billion to not-for-profit entities, an increase of a staggering 88 per cent since 1997 • 13.4 million people, or 87 per cent of adult Australians, made at least one donation • The median total donation was $100 and the average amount was $424 • Melbourne and Sydney were responsible for nearly half of all individual donations (47.5 per cent) • Adelaide had the highest giving rate (with donations from more than 90 per cent of adults) • About 50 per cent of Australians provided another $2 billion by way of participating in events This represented a total of $7.7 billion going to support the third sector. Business giving has more than doubled since 2000-01, with more than 525,900 businesses, or 67 per cent of all businesses giving a total of $3.3 billion: • 68 per cent in money ($2.21 billion) • 16 per cent in goods ($0.52 billion) • 16 per cent in services ($0.52 billion) Where are the donations being given? • Over one-third of $5.7 billion went to religious organisations such as churches, mosques, and temples. • Organisations providing community and welfare services, international aid and development, and medical research received slightly more than 10 per cent each. Community The majority of Australian not-for-profits, however, operate below the radar at the local level. Local community groups play many roles in society: • They give voice to communities of place and of interest and contribute to a more involved Australian democracy • They improve the quality of life through groups, events and celebrations • They provide a place for people to participate and engage with each other in community life • They break down isolation and enable people from a diversity of backgrounds to join up and join in • They provide the opportunity for people to join together to share responsibility • They provide services that are responsive, relevant, and accountable to their communities Part II of this article - Dealing with the Australian not-for-profit sector - will appear in the December 2009 edition of mice.net magazine. understanding NOT-FOR-PROFIT THIS IS THE first article in a series of two on understanding the not-for- profit sector. ArTIcle prepAred fOr MEETINGS & EVENTS AUSTRALIA