GIFTED EFFORTS: Region's charities need to keep up with social media or lose out, philanthropy expert says.
GIFTED EFFORTS: Region's charities need to keep up with social media or lose out, philanthropy expert says. Eloise Handley

Gympie donates $1.8m in '15-16 - but less of us are giving

GYMPIE charities need to appeal on multiple levels, a philanthropy expert has said, with new research revealing the changing nature of our gift giving.

New research from QUT's Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies of ATO data has revealed that from 2005-06 to 2015-16, donations from Gympie are going up - but less people are giving them.

The data showed that in 2015-16 $1.82 million in tax-deductible gifts were claimed by residents in the 4570 postcode, with an average donation of $397.74.

This was double the amount given in 2005-06 of $922,000, when the average deduction was $201.70.

Elders held a sausage sizzle and raffles draw, raising money to help those in the Boyne Region.

Photo Christopher Chan / The Observer
Less of the region's residents are giving. Christopher Chan GLA270213ELDR

While this might make us seem more generous on the surface, the proportion of taxpayers claiming gifts has dropped from 33.16 per cent to 22.33 per cent in that same time.

Our rates were well below the Australian average in '15-16 where the average deduction was $633.72, given by about one third of the population.

With charities in regions like Gympie reliant on donations to continue support, ACPNS emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes said they had to stay on top of the technological shift.

"Fund-raising charities that are not with social media will be missing out,” he said.

Family Fun Day to celebrate the opening of the Charity House at Kakadu Way, Gladstone. 

Photo Christopher Chan / The Observer
Charities need to keep up with the shifting technological landscape. Christopher Chan GLA090213CHAR

"Charities have to keep up with the times. Local groups may be suffering.”

He said those that can appeal emotionally and economically were well placed to succeed with tax deductability more concerning to those who want to dig deep in their pockets.

"What we know is that giving is driven by an emotional impulse. People give because they have an affinity or are sympathetic to the cause.”

So what is at play in the changes?

The CEO of Ruralco has donated his cash bonus to charity.
Residents donated $1.8m in 2015-16. Barry Leddicoat

Prof McGregor-Lowndes said our ageing demographic (by 2036 Gympie's average age is expected to be 10 years older than the state's) might have an effect.

"We know that those in their later years will give more than those in their earlier years,” he said.

Income levels also played a part in dragging the average donation up Prof McGregor-Lowndes said, and the Wide Bay's historic socio-economic struggles could also have an impact.

"When you have a look at it, the major bulk of funds is given by those with over $1 million in income,” he said.

However he said part of the decline in tax return gift claims could be because people are donating in ways which they do not claim.