Australian charities have a strong history of helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our society. Charities and other not-for-profits provided most social services in Australia up until the Second World War, not government. These organisations were mainly religious institutions that worked towards relieving poverty and suffering.

Today, Australia's charity sector is large and diverse. It ranges from small religious charities to large international humanitarian agencies. Charities address a wide variety of needs in our society, including health, education and protecting the natural environment:

  • nearly half of registered charities have social and community welfare as their main purpose, with religious charities making up about 22% of these
  • approximately 17% of charities identify their main purpose as education.

Charities focus their activities on a range of groups in society, including:

  • young people
  • the elderly
  • people living with disabilities
  • those experiencing poverty.

In 2016, Australian charities made $142.8 billion in revenue, including $10.5 billion in donations. The sector employs more than 1.3 million paid staff and has even more volunteers.

The Australian Charities Report

Each year we publish the Australian Charities Report, which is a comprehensive record of the charity sector.

alert icon Due to work on our information technology upgrade, the website with the full suite of Australian Charities Report information and interactive data is temporarily unavailable.

Links to previous years' Australian Charities Reports are available below, and you can still explore the ACNC's full datasets on the data.gov.au website (the central repository for Australian Government datasets).