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Over 3 million Australians volunteered for a registered charity in 2017, and $10 billion was donated, according to the latest Australian Charities Report, published today by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).

The ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, explained that the report analyses information the ACNC receives directly from charities.

“Each year charities submit an Annual Information Statement,” Dr Johns said.

“The data provided in the Annual Information Statement forms the basis of the Australian Charities Report. The report’s key findings include the total combined income and expenses of charities, a summary of what they do, who they help and where they operate.

“The Australian Charities Report 2017 has been months in the making. Our team has worked tirelessly to analyse the data, and write, design and publish the report.

“We’ve redesigned it to make it more succinct and reader-friendly.

“As the premier data collection agency for charities, we are committed to publishing information in a way that is accessible to both the sector and the public."

The Australian Charities Report 2017, the fifth edition published by the ACNC, provides fascinating insights into the charity sector.

“For the second consecutive year, charities reported an increase in combined revenue,” Dr Johns said.

“This increase is likely attributable to additional government funding. Compared to 2016, government grants as a revenue source increased by $7 billion.

“And while donations and bequests decreased slightly compared to the 2016, Australians are still incredibly generous. Nearly $10 billion was donated or bequeathed in 2017.”

The Commissioner highlighted the number of volunteers as another major finding of the latest Australian Charities Report.

“The 2017 edition of the Australian Charities Report identified a significant increase in the number of people volunteering for a registered charity,” Dr Johns said.

“The number of volunteers increased to 3.3 million, up from 2.9 million in 2016.

“This week is National Volunteer Week. Volunteers are vital to the charity sector. Nearly half of all charities are operated solely by volunteers – another key finding of the report.

“Volunteer-run charities are also likely to be small. This year’s report found that the majority, or 38%, of charities are ‘extra small’, with annual revenue of $50,000 or less.

“Many of these extra small charities are likely to be religious groups. Religion is the again the most common charitable activity. Thirty per cent of charities reported their main activity was religious activities, while education and social services activities were also common.”

The full Australian Charities Report 2017, and previous editions, are available on the ACNC website at

Key findings from Australian Charities Report 2017:

  • Total revenue of $146 billion

  • Government grants as a revenue source increased by $7 billion
  • Donations and bequests as a revenue source totalled $9.9 billion
  • 3.3 million volunteers across Australia’s charities
  • Most registered charities (36%) are ‘extra small’, a subset of small
  • Breakdown of charities by size:
    • Large charities (revenue of $1 million plus) – 19%
    • Medium charities ($250,000 – $1 million) – 16%
    • Small charities (revenue up to $250,000) – 65%
  • 30% of charities reported their main activity was religious activities
  • 4,567 charities operate overseas
  • The five most common overseas operating locations are:
    • India
    • Philippines
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Indonesia
    • New Zealand

ACNC media contact: or 0466 089 108