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This Australian Charities Report is the annual analysis of the information we receive from charities in their Annual Information Statements. This is the 10th edition.

Foreword

Image of Sue Woodward

I am pleased to present the Australian Charities Report 10th edition – our annual analysis that helps quantify the contribution of charities to the community and Australian economy.

Charities work across multiple sectors, but the Australian Charities Report is of strategic importance as it aggregates charity data (from 51,536 charities) to provide a holistic picture or ‘sector-wide’ view.

Cost of living increases impact charities

Our data shows that cost of living issues had an impact on charities in 2022, with increases in expenses and liabilities outpacing increases in revenue and assets (in percentage terms).

Total revenue in the sector increased by $11 billion to a record high of just over $200 billion, but expenses increased by $22 billion in the same period.

Employee expenses also rose dramatically. The amount charities spent on employees in 2022 increased nearly 10% when compared to 2021 – the highest annual percentage increase recorded.

Donations grew by 4.4% in 2022. This was lower than the 5.3% increase in donations reported in 2021. For this reporting period, donations and bequests totalled $13.9 billion, an increase of more than $584 million over 2021 figures.

Philanthropy in the form of grant making continues to be important. Charities reported spending $11.7 billion on grants and donations to others, an increase of 21% on the previous reporting period, with most of that increase concentrated on grants within Australia.

Charity people

The report indicates charities remain a major employer, accounting for 10.5% of the Australian workforce. Still, the sector continued to depend on volunteers, with more than half of all charities reporting they operate with no paid staff.

Pleasingly, volunteer numbers increased to 3.5 million, although still below 2018 when the sector had 3.77 million volunteers.

Size analysis provides nuance

We base our analysis on charity size. The charity size thresholds changed in 2022. Data we have gathered since the change to charity size thresholds shows 74% of charities now report as small, compared to the 65% that did so before the shift. This was a proposal that arose from the ACNC legislation review.

This change more appropriately reflects a charity’s size as average annual revenue levels have risen since those set at the ACNC’s inception in 2013.

It is not compulsory for Basic Religious Charities to provide financial information to the ACNC. However, 7% did so in the 2022 reporting period and the information they provided is included.

Focus on extra small charities

Extra small charities – those with annual revenue of $50,000 or less – are a focus for this report because they comprise nearly a third of all Australian charities.

As part of this focus, we look at how extra small charities fared in 2022 in comparison to 2017.

And although extra small charities make up around 31% of the sector, they account for just 0.1% of the sector’s income. In contrast, extra large charities (those with more than $100 million in annual revenue) account for more than 54% of aggregate revenue, even though they only make up 0.5% of Australia’s charity sector.

Nearly 90% of extra small charities operate without paid staff.

The five-year figures show there was a significant drop in the number of volunteers (-17%) and paid staff (-18%) for extra small charities.

The data shows the cost of operating and delivering services has increased but extra small charities haven’t received sufficient revenue or donations to keep pace with these increases.

The differences between the smallest and largest charities could not be starker. When we talk about charities, set obligations or when policy is made, we must be mindful of the difference in resources and capacity. We don’t set policy, but we can highlight that most of the sector operates on low revenue with no paid staff.

In this edition, we have gathered a decade of data, providing both a snapshot and trends over time. And for the first time, using our Charity Data Explorer, people can interrogate the data further by using a new postcode filter.

The report is packed with valuable data that helps us understand some of the challenges affecting charity operations. It demonstrates charities make an enormous contribution to Australia’s social fabric, its economy and employment.

The report also highlights the enormous diversity amongst Australia’s charities. By publishing this report we meet one of our strategic priorities to share data back to the sector.

I invite you to read the report.

Warm regards,

Sue Woodward AM
Commissioner
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The Australian Charities Report contains comprehensive information on Australia’s registered charities.

This report demonstrates our commitment to maximising the use of our data to assist the public, charities, researchers and policy makers to better understand the diversity of the charity sector.

This is the tenth edition of this report. Previous editions can be found on our website.

Charity size changes that affect this report

A charity’s size for ACNC purposes is based on its total annual revenue for a reporting period. Although charity size revenue thresholds changed in 2022, we have continued to use the pre-2022 thresholds in this report so that we can track trends over time.

Charity size revenue thresholds

SizePre-2022 thresholdsPost-2022 thresholds
SmallAnnual revenue under $250,000Annual revenue under $500,000
MediumAnnual revenue of $250,000 or more, but under $1 millionAnnual revenue of $500,000 or more, but under $3 million
LargeAnnual revenue of $1 million or moreAnnual revenue of $3 million or more

To provide a more detailed overview of the charity sector in this report, we use six different size categories based on revenue:

Charity sizeTotal revenue
Extra smallLess than $50,000
Small$50,000 or more but less than $250,000
Medium$250,000 or more but less than $1 million
Large$1 million or more but less than $10 million
Very large$10 million or more but less than $100 million
Extra large$100 million or more

Analysis‌‌‌

There are three key sections in this report:

  1. The size of Australia’s charities uses data submitted by 51,536 charities in the 2022 Annual Information Statement. This in an increase from 49,402 charities analysed as part of the 9th edition.
  2. Charitable purposes provides charity data by charity subtypes (subtypes reflect a charity’s purpose) using data from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.
  3. Profile of the charity sector primarily uses data from the 2022–23 financial year and provides information on obligations to other regulators in addition to analysis of newly registered charities and revoked entities.

Detailed information is available in Data sources and methodology.

Our focus areas

Last year we included a focus on giving and philanthropy. This helped to inform our response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into philanthropy.

10 years of data

For the 10th edition of this report we have analysed ten years of data to highlight key changes across the charity sector in ten graphs.

Extra small charity focus

This report also focuses on extra small charities (those with revenue less than $50,000) because they comprise nearly a third of all Australian charities. We look at how extra small charities fared in 2022 compared with 2017.

Our Charity Data Explorer

Our interactive Charity Data Explorer allows you to interrogate the data by using filters to run custom searches. This year, we have updated the explorer to allow you to filter by postcode.

For the 10th edition of the Australian Charities Report, we have included some key figures that show trends across the Australian charity sector.

1. Charity registrations and revocations

Since 2021, the number of registered charities has remained relatively stable.

Charity registrations and revocations
Graph shows the number of registered charities by year. In 2023, there were 59,929 registered charities.

Annual charity registrations vs revocations by financial year

Annual charity registrations vs revocations by financial year
Graph shows the number of charities registered and revoked in each year.

Annual charity revocations by type by financial year

Annual charity revocations by type by financial year
Graph shows the number of charities revoked due to ACNC action and revoked voluntarily each year.

Notes: Reasons that the ACNC may revoke a charity’s status include compliance issues, having a cancelled ABN, or being what is known as a ‘double defaulter’. A double defaulter is a charity that has failed to submit its Annual Information Statement for two years.

A charity can request the ACNC revoke its registration as a charity. This is known as voluntary revocation. The ACNC requires a charity to provide reasons for requesting voluntary revocation. These reasons could be if a charity is no longer operating, has merged, no longer wants to be a charity or is no longer entitled to be a charity.

Annual compliance revocations by financial year

In the most serious cases where a charity does not comply with their obligations, we may revoke a charity’s registration.

Annual compliance revocations by financial year
Graph shows the number of charities revoked for compliance issues each year. In 2023, there were 7 compliance revocations.

2. Charity subtypes

The percentage of charities registered with the subtype of social welfare has increased significantly since 2014.

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Health

5.2

5.5

6.1

6.5

6.7

7.1

7.2

7.3

7.4

7.6

Education

18.7

18.5

17.8

16.3

16.1

16.0

15.9

15.6

15.2

15.0

Social welfare

9.9

10.6

11.8

12.7

13.2

13.9

14.2

14.5

15.0

15.3

Religion

27.8

27.1

25.4

24.8

24.1

23.4

22.9

22.4

21.6

21.2

Culture

4

4.2

4.6

4.9

5

5.1

5.3

5.5

5.7

6

Reconciliation

1.4

1.4

1.5

1.6

1.6

1.6

1.7

1.7

1.7

1.8

Human rights

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

1

Security

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.3

Animals

0.8

0.9

1

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.4

Environment

1.6

1.7

1.8

1.9

2

2

2.2

2.2

2.4

2.5

Other

9.1

9.0

9.4

9.5

9.5

9.3

9.1

9.0

9.0

8.8

Law

0.6

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

PBI1

16.0

15.5

14.8

14.8

14.7

14.3

14.2

14.3

14.4

14.4

HPC2

2.5

2.6

2.5

2.5

2.6

2.7

2.8

2.9

3

3

1. Public Benevolent Institution. 2. Health Promotion Charities

Note: Since 2014, the ACNC has registered charities with one or more of the 14 charity subtypes listed in the table above.

3. Charity activities

Religion remains the most common activity across the sector, but from 2021 Human Services now exceeds Education as the second-most common activity.

Charity activities
Most common activity – 2014-2019: 1. Religion, 2. Education. From 2021: 1. Religion, 2. Human services.

Note: Between 2014 and 2019, charities classified their activities based on the International Classification of Not-for-profit Organisations. Since 2020, charities have classified their activities based on the CLASSIE taxonomy developed by Our Community. Further information is available in What charities do.

4. Charity size‌

The percentage of charities in each size category has remained fairly stable, with the exception of ‘size unknown Basic Religious Charities’ which has decreased over time.

Charity sizeTotal revenue
Extra smallLess than $50,000
Small$50,000 or more but less than $250,000
Medium$250,000 or more but less than $1 million
Large$1 million or more but less than $10 million
Very large$10 million or more but less than $100 million
Extra large$100 million or more
Size unknown (Basic Religious Charity)No financial information provided (exempt from providing)
Charity size
Graph shows the percentage of charities in each size category, from 2018 to 2022.

5. Growth in charity revenue

Growth in charity revenue has been in excess of GDP since 2018, which is largely due to strong revenue growth among very large and extra large charities. Between 2018 and 2021, the revenue of these charities grew at more than twice the rate of GDP.

Growth in charity revenue
Graph shows percentage growth of charity revenue by charity size, from 2018 to 2022.

Note: The information above was not published in the 2013 to 2017 versions of the Australian Charities Report.

6. The importance of donations to charity operations

Smaller charities are more reliant on donations and bequests to generate revenue than charities of other sizes.

Percentage of donations and bequests to charities as a share of their total revenue

The importance of donations to charity operations
Graph shows percentage of donations and bequests as a share of total charity revenue.

Note: The information above was not published in the 2013 to 2016 editions of the Australian Charities Report.

7. Percentage of Australians that work for charities‌‌

Employee numbers have increased over time, which largely mirrors changes in Australia’s employment rate (that is, the proportion of Australians employed by charities has remained constant).

Charities percentage of total workforce

Percentage of Australians that work for charities
Graph shows charity employees as a percentage of total workforce. In 2022, charity employees made up 10.5% of Australian workers.

8. Percentage of Australians that volunteer with charities

The percentage of Australians that volunteer with charities has yet to fully recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are signs that volunteering is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Percentage of population that volunteer

Percentage of Australians that volunteer with charities
Graph shows the percentage of Australians who volunteer.

Note: The information above was not published in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Australian Charities Report.

9. Percentage of charities operated entirely by volunteers

Charities continue to rely heavily on volunteers to deliver their charitable purposes.

Percentage of charities with paid staff

Percentage of charities operated entirely by volunteers
Graph shows the percentage of charities with and without employees. In 2022, approximately 51% of charities operated with no paid staff.

10. Charity locations

When comparing 2022 data with that of 2013, the ACT, NSW and Victoria are the only states and territories to record an increase in the percentage of charities based in them (according to the physical address provided by charities). QLD reported the largest decrease.

Physical locations of charities in Australia

Charity locations
Graph shows the state and territory distribution of charity physical addresses.

Note: Information on the physical locations of charities was not published in the 2017 to 2019 versions of the Australian Charities Report.

Charity numbers

  • 60,572 registered charities as of 1 February 2024
  • Approximately one charity for every 439 Australians

Charity locations based on postcode of physical address

  • Major cities – 69.7%
  • Inner regional – 18.3%
  • Outer regional – 8.8%
  • Remote – 2.0%
  • Very remote – 1.2%

Charity locations by state or territory

  • ACT – 1.6%
  • NSW – 31%
  • NT – 1.4%
  • QLD – 15.5%
  • SA – 7.1%
  • TAS – 2.6%
  • VIC – 22.9%
  • WA – 9.9%
  • More than one location – 7.9%
  • 6% of charities operated overseas
  • The five most common countries of overseas operation were the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and India.

Charities by size

  • Extra small (less than $50,000) – 30.9%
  • Small ($50,000 or more but less than $250,000) – 21%
  • Medium ($250,000 or more but less than $1 million) – 14.6%
  • Large ($1 million or more but less than $10 million) – 13.5%
  • Very large ($10 million or more but less than $100 million) – 4.4%
  • Extra large ($100 million or more) – 0.5%
  • Size unknown (Basic Religious Charity, no financial information provided) – 15%

Most-common activities

  • Religion and faith based spirituality – 20.8%
  • Human Services – 15.9%
  • Education – 15.4%

Most-common beneficiaries

  • Adults (25 to under 65) – 8.1%
  • Families – 6.9%
  • Youth (15 to under 25) – 8.0%

Charity revenue sources

  • Government (including grants) – 51.2% ($103 billion)
  • Donations and bequests – 6.9% ($14 billion)
  • Goods or services – 32.8% ($66 billion)
  • Investments – 2.6% ($5 billion)
  • Other revenue – 6.4% ($13 billion)

Charity expenditure

  • Employees – 55.2% ($108 billion)
  • Grants and donations within Australia – 4.8% ($9 billion)
  • Grants and donations outside Australia – 1.2% ($2 billion)
  • Interest – 0.9% ($2 billion)
  • Other expenses – 38% ($74 billion)

Volunteers

  • Australia’s registered charities drew on the efforts of 3.5 million volunteers
  • Charity volunteer numbers have increased by 320,000 since 2021
  • The number of charity volunteers in 2022 (3.5 million) remains lower than the pre-pandemic figure recorded in 2018 (3.77 million)
  • Clean Up Australia had the most volunteers – more than 908,000 (an increase of 160,000)
  • About 51% of operating charities employed no paid staff, relying entirely on volunteer efforts

Charity money

  • Revenue – $200 billion (+5.6%, $11 billion)
  • Expenses – $196 billion (+12.6%, $22 billion)
  • Assets – $457 billion (+8.3%, $35 billion)
  • Liabilities – $158 billion (+11.5%, $16 billion)

Donations

  • Charities received $13.9 billion in donations and bequests, an increase of $584 million on the previous year
  • Top 30 charities and groups received 20% of all the donations and bequests to the sector

Charity employees

  • Charities employed 1.47 million people
  • The sector employs 10.5% of Australian workers
  • Employee numbers increased by 47,000 since 2021

Australia’s charity sector contains organisations of many sizes – from tiny local community groups to large international aid organisations.

This section of the Australian Charities Report examines charity data from 51,536 charities that submitted a 2022 Annual Information Statement.

A charity’s size for ACNC purposes is based on its total annual revenue for a reporting period. Analysing charity size helps us understand the scale on which charities operate and provides an insight into the composition of the sector over time.

Changes to charity size thresholds

Table 1: Charity size revenue thresholds

SizePre-2022 thresholdsPost-2022 thresholds
SmallAnnual revenue under $250,000Annual revenue under $500,000
MediumAnnual revenue of $250,000 or more, but under $1 millionAnnual revenue of $500,000 or more, but under $3 million
LargeAnnual revenue of $1 million or moreAnnual revenue of $3 million or more
Charity sizes before and after

As a result of changes to charity size thresholds, the proportion of small charities increased from 64.3% to 73.6%. The proportion of large charities dropped to 10.8%.

Size

Pre-2022 thresholds

Post-2022 thresholds

Small

64.3%

73.6%

Medium

16.7%

15.7%

Large

19%

10.8%

Basic Religious Charities

More than 7,700 Basic Religious Charities did not provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement.

A Basic Religious Charity (BRC) is a type of religious charity that meets specific requirements. BRCs are not required to:

  • answer the financial questions in the Annual Information Statement
  • submit annual financial reports
  • comply with ACNC Governance Standards.

BRCs are required to nominate whether they are a small, medium or large charity. Using post-2022 thresholds, 90.1% of BRCs reported being small, 8.2% reported being medium and 1.7% reported being large.

Charity sizes used in this report

In this report, we have continued to use pre-2022 size thresholds to allow meaningful comparisons to previous years’ data.

BRCs that voluntarily provided financial information have been categorised to the corresponding charity size based on their revenue. BRCs that did not provide financial information are noted as ‘Size Unknown (BRC)’ where relevant.

Table 2: Charity size thresholds used in this report

Charity sizeTotal revenue
Extra smallLess than $50,000
Small$50,000 or more but less than $250,000
Medium$250,000 or more but less than $1 million
Large$1 million or more but less than $10 million
Very large$10 million or more but less than $100 million
Extra large$100 million or more
Size unknown (BRC)No financial information provided

While 31% of Australia’s charities were extra small (with annual revenue of less than $50,000) in 2022, the proportion of extra small charities decreased by 0.6% compared to the previous year. In turn, there was a 0.7% increase in the proportion of small charities – from 20.3% to 21% - compared to the previous year.

Table 3: Australian charities by size, with changes from the previous reporting period.

Charity size

% of charities (2022)

% change from 2021

% change over past three years

Extra small

30.9

-0.6

0.9

Small

21.0

0.7

-0.3

Medium

14.6

0.5

0.6

Large

13.5

0.1

-0.2

Very large

4.4

-0.1

0.2

Extra large

0.5

Unchanged

0.1

Size unknown (BRC)

15

-0.7

-1.3

Charities that were not operating

The number of charities that reported as ‘not operating’ in the 2022 Annual Information Statement decreased. About 4% of charities (just over 1,900 in total) reported that they did not conduct activities during the period.

COVID-19 continued to affect charity operations.

In the 2022 Annual Information Statement, 25% of charities that did not conduct activities cited COVID-19 as the reason why. This, however, represented a decrease from the 43% figure recorded in 2021.

Other non-operational charities reported that they:

  • were winding up
  • were conducting activities in the name of another charity
  • had yet to receive funding
  • had insufficient staff or volunteers available, or
  • were still in a planning or establishment phase and had yet to begin activities.

Extra small charities represent approximately 31% of the sector, but they generate just 0.1% of the sector’s income.

We compared the latest figures with data from the 2017 Australian Charities Report to provide further context on how extra small charities have fared over the past five years.

Paid staff vs volunteers
Paid staff numbers have decreased by 18%, volunteers by 17%.

The figures showed that since 2017, the number of paid staff at extra small charities had decreased by 18%, while volunteer numbers have fallen by 17%.

Donations and bequests to extra small charities increased by $10 million in the five-year period. However, Australia’s extra small charities attracted only a small percentage of the charity sector’s total reported donations.

Extra small charities total revenue increased slightly but average revenue contracted slightly during the five-year period. The cost of operating and delivering services has increased, but extra small charities are not seeing an increase in revenue or donations to help them keep up with these demands.

Extra small charities
88% operate with no staff; More than 220,000 volunteers; Revenue: $224 million; Donations and bequests: $90 million; 6% operate internationally; Most-common activity: Education

Volunteers

Volunteers
Graph shows the percentage of extra small charities operating with no paid staff, and the number of volunteers, in 2017 and 2022. The number of charities with no staff has increased by 2% in 2022, and number of volunteers has decreased by 2,594.

Extra small charities by revenue

Extra small charities by revenue
Graph shows the revenue breakdown for extra small charities, and the average and total revenue, in 2017 and 2022. Average revenue decreased by $384 in 2022, and total revenue increased by $6 million.

Note: A significant number of extra small charities reporting zero revenue did not operate during the reporting period.

Sources of revenue

Sources of revenue
Graph shows the sources of revenue, in 2017 and 2022. Largest source is other revenue (decreased by 5.4% in 2022), followed by donations and bequests (3.2% increase), and government (2.2% increase).

Donations and bequests

Donations and bequests
Graph shows the average and total donations and bequests, in 2017 and 2022. In 2022, the average for donations and bequests rose by $405, and the total increased by $10 million.

Operations

Operations
Graph shows the percentage of charities operating in one state or territory, and internationally, in 2017 and 2022. In 2022, extra small charities operating in one state or territory increased by 8.2%, and operating internationally decreased by 3%.

Physical address

Physical Address
Graph shows the percentage of extra small charities with a physical address in major cities, regional, or rural and remote areas, and the breakdown by state, in 2017 and 2022. The majority of extra small charities have a physical address in a major city (2.7% increase in 2022).

Note: This analysis includes 49,425 charities that have provided the ACNC with a physical address.

We base a charity’s location on its physical address. A charity’s physical address is most commonly the physical base for the charity – for example, a head office – and may be distinct from where it conducts its activities.

Based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 – Remoteness Structure, most charities (nearly 70%) continue to be located in Australia’s major cities.

Our analysis also saw no change in the percentage of charities that are located in the major cities compared to the regions (inner and outer regional areas) compared to the previous year.

Table 4: Charity location (based on postcode of physical address)

Location in Australia

% of charities

Major cities

69.7

Inner regional

18.3

Outer regional

8.8

Remote

2.0

Very remote

1.2

Operations in Australia

The Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia were the only locations where the proportion of charities based there exceeded the proportion of Australia’s population that lived there.

Table 5: Operating locations of registered charities

State or territory

% of charities

% of Australia’s population at 30 June 2023

ACT

1.6

1.8

NSW

31.0

31.2

NT

1.4

0.9

QLD

15.5

20.5

SA

7.1

7.0

TAS

2.6

2.2

VIC

22.9

25.6

WA

9.9

10.8

More than one

7.9

To find out more about charities’ locations, visit our Charity Data Explorer.

‌State and territory breakdown‌‌

The state and territory breakdown uses a charity’s physical address (where provided) along with data from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

About 8% of charities operate in multiple jurisdictions, but this may not be reflected by a charity’s physical address. This is relevant for the analysis of volunteers; although volunteers are attributed to a state based on a charity’s street address, the figures include volunteers across Australia.

  • ACT –Total revenue rose by $1.3 billion, with revenue from donations and bequests increasing by 45% from $154 million in 2021 to $223 million in 2022.
  • NSW – The number of charities with a physical address in NSW increased by more than 700. Revenue from donations grew by $293 million to $5.4 billion. While the number of volunteers rose by more than 246,000 people, much of this can be attributed to one charity. Clean Up Australia Limited, which has a physical address in NSW but operates throughout Australia, reported an increase of more than 160,000 volunteers in 2022.
  • NT – While the number of charities with a physical address in the Northern Territory increased by 21 in 2022, total revenue for these charities decreased by $125 million compared to the previous year.
  • QLD – Revenue from donations and bequests decreased by $270 million (16.5%) to $1.4 billion in 2022. However this drop can be explained by a large one-off donation of $590 million that had been made in 2021. Despite the drop in donations and bequests revenue, overall revenue grew by $1.2 billion.
  • SA – Although an extra 130 charities were based in SA in 2022 compared to 2021, total revenue fell by $38 million in the same period.
  • TAS – Tasmanian charities experienced growth in total revenue, although this growth can be attributed to an increase in both government funding, and goods and services. Revenue derived from donations and bequests fell by more than 3% compared to the previous year.
  • VIC – The number of charities based in Victoria grew by more than 500, with these charities reporting the biggest increase in donations and bequests across all of Australia.
  • WA – Donations and bequests to charities based in Western Australia increased by nearly 20% to $787 million. Volunteer numbers also increased by more than 25,000.

Operations overseas

In the 2022 Annual Information Statement, 6% of charities reported that they operated overseas.

Australia’s registered charities reported operations in 214 different countries or regions outside Australia. For charities operating overseas:

  • 65% operated in just one country or region
  • 14% operated in five or more countries or regions
  • 5% operated in 10 or more countries or regions

The five most common countries in which charities operated overseas were the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and India.

‌Table 6: Charity revenue sources, volunteers and employees by state or territory

State or territory

Number of charities

Revenue from government ($ million)

Revenue from donations and bequests ($ million)

Revenue from goods or services ($ million)

Total revenue ($ million)

Volunteers

Employees

ACT

1,126

2,461

223

1,582

4,847

49,375

30,533

NSW

16,445

26,243

5,442

15,323

53,547

1,733,612

349,585

NT

457

1,131

35

604

1,901

11,732

13,636

QLD

7,225

12,368

1,375

8,301

23,681

398,293

185,514

SA

3,503

5,323

409

3,541

10,276

144,006

97,434

TAS

1,145

2,253

103

855

3,396

51,272

29,624

VIC

12,008

24,253

3,299

13,460

44,330

530,016

290,485

WA

4,454

8,295

787

7,783

18,328

226,371

146,001

Note: Charities that report as part of a group have been excluded from this analysis.

Table 7: Charity donations and bequests received, by state and territory with changes from previous reporting periods

State or territory

$ million

Change compared to previous period ($ million)

% change from previous period

ACT

223

69

44.9

NSW

5,442

293

5.7

NT

35

8

28.1

QLD

1,375

-264

-16.1

SA

409

18

4.6

TAS

103

-4

-3.4

VIC

3,299

320

10.7

WA

787

130

19.8

Note: Charities that report as part of a group have been excluded from this analysis

When the ACNC registers an organisation as a charity, we register it with one or more charity ‘subtypes’.

These subtypes are categories that reflect the charity’s charitable purpose – for example ‘advancing education’ or ‘advancing health’. A charity’s purpose is the reason it has been set up, or what its activities work towards achieving.

Charities may have more than one charitable purpose, and charities may conduct a range of activities and services (programs) to achieve their purpose or purposes.

Our activity classification system is based on CLASSIE (Classification system of Australian Social Sector Initiatives and Entities), which was specifically developed by Our Community for the social sector.

By removing some non-charitable classifications, we refined the CLASSIE system to include a taxonomy suitable for the work of charities.

All charities that submitted an Annual Information Statement (and were operating) had the option to provide information on between one and ten programs.

Our analysis is limited to the approximately 91,000 programs that charities detailed in their AISs. This figure will not represent the full number of programs that charities conduct, as some charities may not have provided details on all their programs or may have more than 10 programs (the maximum permitted on the AIS).

Number of programs reported

Charities can select from 864 program classifications when completing their AISs. This is how we obtain information about charities’ activities.

Charities reported 91,450 programs in 2022.

Activity categories

CLASSIE is a nested taxonomy to classify social sector initiatives using four levels of granularity, with Level 1 being the highest or most overall level (for example, arts and culture) and Level 4 being the most granular level (for example, musical theatre).

The following analysis is based on CLASSIE’s level one activity classifications. All classifications can be attributed to a level one classification.

Consistent with the previous year, the most common program classifications were Religion and faith-based spirituality, Human services, and Education.

This corresponds with the second and third most common charities by subtype category being Advancing religion and Advancing education (see the ‘charity subtypes’ section).

There were minor changes in the most common activities by charity size.

For extra small charities, Religion and faith-based spirituality overtook Community development to become the second most common classification. For extra large charities, Health overtook Education as the second most common classification.

Similar to the previous year, the least common categories were Social sciences, Science, and International relations.

‌Table 8: CLASSIE Level 1 classifications reported by charities

CLASSIE classification

Number of activities

%

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry

755

0.8

Animal welfare

1,671

1.8

Arts and culture

6,975

7.6

Community development

8,652

9.5

Economic development

2,258

2.5

Education

14,112

15.4

Environment

2,751

3

Health

10,340

11.3

Human rights

1,470

1.6

Human services

14,518

15.9

Information and communications

739

0.8

International relations

373

0.4

Public affairs

1,044

1.1

Public safety

2,173

2.4

Religion and faith-based spirituality

19,021

20.8

Science

309

0.3

Social sciences

152

0.2

Sport and recreation

1,459

1.6

Unknown or not classified

2,678

2.9

Total

91,450

100.0

Table 9: Common classification by charity size

Charity sizeMost common classificationSecond most common classificationThird most common classification
Extra smallEducation (17.0%)Religion and faith-based spirituality (13.7%)Community development (13.5%)
SmallReligion and faith-based spirituality (20.4%)Education (15.3%)Human services (14.2%)
MediumEducation (17.7%)Human services (17.3%)Religion and faith-based spirituality (13.3%)
LargeHuman services (23.8%)Education (19.7%)Health (15.4%)
Very largeHuman services (31.1%)Education (23.0%)Health (20.6%)
Extra largeHuman services (41.3%)Health (21.3%)Education (20.4%)

Charities were able to select multiple beneficiaries for each program they reported. Overall, the most common beneficiaries remain unchanged in 2022:

Most common beneficiaries
Most common beneficiaries – Adults (aged 25 to under 65): 8.1%; Families: 6.9%; Youth (aged 15 to under 25): 8.0%

Across all charity sizes, the most common beneficiaries remained the same – the only exception being extra large charities. For extra large charities, Adults aged 65 and over became the second most common beneficiary group.

Table 10: Common beneficiaries by charity size

Charity sizeMost common beneficiarySecond most common beneficiaryThird most common beneficiary
Extra smallAdults – aged 25 to under 65 (8.8%)Youth – aged 15 to under 25 (8%)Families (7.6%)
SmallAdults – aged 25 to under 65 (8.4%)Youth – aged 15 to under 25 (8.1%)Families (7.6%)
MediumAdults – aged 25 to under 65 (8.1%)Youth – aged 15 to under 25 (8%)Families (6.9%)
LargeYouth – aged 15 to under 25 (7.7%)Adults – aged 25 to under 65 (7.5%)Females (6.4%)
Very largeYouth – aged 15 to under 25 (9.3%)Adults – aged 25 to under 65 (7.1%)Adults – aged 65 and over and Children – aged 6 to under 15 (6.5%)
Extra largeYouth – 15 to under 25 (9.4%)Adults - aged 65 and over (8.7%)Adults – aged 25 to under 65 (8.6%)

Note: Basic Religious Charities were excluded from the table because their sizes are unknown. To meet the requirements of a Basic Religious Charity, a charity must have the sole purpose of ‘Advancing religion’. Charities select from a list of potential beneficiaries.

To find out more about what charities do and who they help, visit our Charity Data Explorer or search the Charity Register.

Volunteers

Volunteers play a vital part in the charity sector. In 2022, charities reported drawing on the efforts of nearly 3.5 million volunteers.

More than half (51%) of all operating charities reported having no paid staff. This was a 1% increase on the previous year.

While volunteer numbers increased by more than 320,000 compared to 2021, half of this increase can be attributed to one charity – Clean Up Australia Limited, which operates nationally.

Volunteer numbers remain lower than in 2018; the year in which charity volunteer numbers peaked at 3.77 million.

It should also be noted that the figure of 3.5 million does not reflect the total number of individual volunteers across Australia. This is because people may volunteer for more than one charity, and many more people volunteer for not-profits that are not charities – for example, local sporting clubs.

Employees

The Annual Information Statement asks each charity to provide a snapshot of its employment figures based on its most recent pay period. These figures showed that the charity sector remained a significant employer in Australia.

Charities reported having 1.47 million paid employees in the 2022 reporting period. Similar to the previous year, charities employed 10.5% of Australia’s workforce (based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data as at 30 June 2023).

In the 2022 reporting period, charities reported an increase of more than 47,000 employees. This compared to an increase of 40,000 in the previous year. About 90% of this increase related to full-time or part-time employment.

Table 11: Number of employees by charity size

Charity size

Full-time

Part-time

Casual

Number

Change from previous period

Number

Change from previous period

Number

Change from previous period

Extra small

3,915

666

3,746

330

4,349

-29

Small

2,734

256

5,405

-74

6,272

-436

Medium

8,216

-223

18,342

490

16,205

1,637

Large

65,554

-7,241

83,304

-602

58,908

-5,430

Very large

194,019

5,982

172,264

-502

114,618

3,935

Extra large

281,724

26,125

253,405

17,529

160,214

5,441

Unknown – BRC

5,448

-17

7,316

-286

3,011

-458

All charities

561,610

25,548

543,782

16,885

363,577

4,660

Table 12: Type of employment by charity size

Charity size

Full-time

Part-time

Casual

% of total staff

% change

% of total staff

% change

% of total staff

% change

Extra small

32.6

3.2

31.2

0.3

36.2

-3.4

Small

19

2.1

37.5

0.1

43.5

-2.2

Medium

19.2

-1.4

42.9

-0.8

37.9

2.2

Large

31.6

-1.4

40.1

2.1

28.4

-0.8

Very large

40.3

0.5

35.8

-0.8

23.8

0.4

Extra large

40.5

1

36.4

-0.1

23

-0.9

BRC size unknown

34.5

1.5

46.4

0.4

19

-1.9

All charities

38.2

0.5

37.0

0

24.8

-0.5

Employee and volunteer breakdown

Smaller charities and Basic Religious Charities remain more reliant on volunteers, while larger charities were more likely to engage employees to deliver their services.

Only small and large charities reported an increase in volunteer numbers. Very large charities reported the biggest drop in volunteer numbers, with about 30,000 fewer volunteers compared to 2021.

Extra small, medium, very large and extra large charities reported an increase in employees.

Extra large charities continued to add the most employees – in 2021, these charities reported an additional 43,000 employees, and in 2022 they reported a further increase of 49,000.

In comparison, large charities reported a decrease of more than 13,000 employees.

Table 13: Employee and volunteer numbers by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods

Charity size

Volunteers

Employees

Volunteers per employee

Number

% change from previous year

% change over 3 years

Number

% change from previous year

% change over 3 years

Ratio

% change

% change over 3 years

Extra small

227,661

-0.4

-6.4

12,010

8.8

29

19

-8.4

-27.4

Small

386,895

11.5

9.9

14,411

-1.7

-2.5

26.8

13.4

12.8

Medium

421,186

5.6

-15.6

42,763

4.7

-0.9

9.8

0.9

-15.1

Large

1,510,117

23.2

10.2

207,766

-6

-11

7.3

31

23.2

Very large

516,794

-5.6

-15

480,901

2

5.8

1.1

-7.4

-17.3

Extra large

155,648

1.8

-19.8

695,343

7.6

15.1

0.2

-5.4

-25.4

Unknown – BRC

278,816

1

-11

15,775

-4.6

-12.2

17.7

5.9

1.6

All charities

3,497,117

10.1

-2.3

1,468,969

3.3

6.6

2.4

6.6

-8.4

Note: Charities report employee numbers based on their last pay period before submitting the Annual Information Statement. Volunteer numbers are based on the entire reporting period.

‌Table 14: Operating charities with no employees by charity size‌‌‌

Extra small charities, small charities, and Basic Religious Charities were the most likely to operate without any paid staff. The proportion of entirely volunteer-operated charities decreased as charity size increased.

Charity size

% of operating charities with no employees

% Change

Extra Small

88

-0.3

Small

57.8

3.9

Medium

25.1

2.2

Large

12.2

1

Very large

5.6

0.9

Extra large

3.1

-0.6

Size unknown – BRC

48.5

1.4

Total

51

1

Largest employee totals

Depending on the circumstances, the ACNC can allow a group of registered charities to submit one Annual Information Statement and financial report.

The Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd Group reported the largest number of employees of 18,608. This includes information for 294 schools based on their financial report.

Table 15: Australian charities with the most employees

Charity nameRegistered stateSubtypes

Staff – full time

Staff – part time

Staff – casual

Total employees

Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd GroupVIC
  • Education
  • Religion

8,497

8,458

1,653

18,608

Little Company of Mary Health Care Limited GroupNSW
  • PBI
  • Social welfare

3,963

10,192

3,697

17,852

UnitingCare QLD GroupQLD
  • Health
  • PBI
  • Reconciliation
  • Social welfare
  • Other

3,790

9,193

2,981

15,964

Goodstart Early Learning GroupQLD
  • Social welfare
  • PBI
  • Education
  • Other

8,274

4,915

2,049

15,238

St John Of God Health Care IncWA
  • Health
  • HPC
  • Social Welfare
  • Other

2,481

7,494

3,205

13,180

Catholic Education Western Australia LimitedWA
  • Education
  • Religion

5,484

4,343

2,860

12,687

University of Melbourne GroupVIC
  • Education
  • HPC
  • Other

6,754

3,148

2,530

12,432

The Corporation of The Trustees of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of BrisbaneQLD
  • Education

5,856

4,254

2,277

12,387

University of NSW GroupNSW
  • Culture
  • Law
  • HPC
  • Education
  • Other

6,104

1,378

4,368

11,850

Queensland University of TechnologyQLD
  • Education

3,114

1,561

6,711

11,386

Note: Some charities have permission from the ACNC to report as part of a group. For these groups, we have included the subtypes of the charities involved in the group.

Largest volunteer totals

Table 16: Australian charities with the most volunteers

Charity nameRegistered stateSubtype categories

Total volunteers

Clean Up Australia LimitedNSW
  • Environment

908,437

Surf Life Saving New South Wales GroupNSW
  • PBI

76,000

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – AustraliaNSW
  • Education
  • Social welfare

59,501

Surf Life Saving Australia LimitedNSW
  • PBI
  • Security

44,272

Surf Life Saving QueenslandQLD
  • PBI
  • Security

36,267

Padi Aware GroupNSW
  • Environment
  • Animals

28,000

MATES in Construction (Aust) LimitedQLD
  • Health
  • HPC
  • Social welfare

26,026

Life Saving Victoria LimitedVIC
  • PBI

25,000

Surf Life Saving Western Australia IncWA
  • PBI

24,000

Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches IncNSW
  • PBI
  • Security
  • Health
  • Social welfare
  • Other

19,000

Cost of living issues that affected the broader Australian economy during 2022 also impacted charity finances.

Total revenue increased by $11 billion to a record $200 billion, but at the same time expenses increased by $21 billion.

Charities’ net income remained positive, showing that income exceeded expenses. However, the net income figure recorded across the sector – $5.7 billion – was the lowest figure the ACNC has ever reported.

While the sector’s assets grew by 8.3% to $457 billion during 2022, total liabilities increased by 11.5% to reach $158 billion.

Key financial terms

The following sections of the Australian Charities Report use a number of financial terms with specific meanings as detailed below.

  • Revenue = funds a charity receives when undertaking its ordinary activities (for example, donations and bequests).
  • Other income = income (or loss) from transactions that, while not part of a charity’s ordinary activities, affect the charity’s bottom line. They can include a realised gain or loss on the sale of assets (for example, the sale of a building) or a change in the value of the charity’s investments.
  • Total income = total revenue + other income
  • Expenses = costs incurred by the charity (for example, employee expenses)
  • Net income = total income – total expenses
  • Assets = resources controlled by a charity such as cash, shares, property, equipment and trademarks.
  • Liabilities = amounts that a charity owes such as bank overdrafts, amounts owed to suppliers or creditors, loans and employee entitlements.
  • Net assets = total assets – total liabilities

Understanding the financial information of charities

The key terms listed are a good starting point for understanding the charity sector and its diversity. There is so much variety in the charity sector that it can be difficult and misleading to try to compare or evaluate charities based on their revenue and expenses.

The asset ratio can help to assess financial sustainability: Asset ratio = total assets/total liabilities

A ratio of more than one indicates that a charity’s assets exceed its liabilities. A higher asset ratio can indicate that a charity has set aside funds – known as reserves – to help ensure its financial stability and sustainability.

Income and expenses‌‌

Revenue and income

A charity’s total income is made up of its total revenue and what is known as other income.

Total income = total revenue + other income
Total income = total revenue + other income

Revenue relates to the funds a charity receives when undertaking its ordinary activities. Other income comprises income (or loss) from transactions that, while not part of a charity’s ordinary activities, affect the charity’s bottom line.

For the first time, the charity sector’s total revenue exceeded $200 billion. This was an increase of nearly $11 billion (5.6%) when compared to the previous year.

This 5.6% growth outpaced the wider Australian economy, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that the Australian economy grew by 3.0% in the 2022–23 financial year.

Unlike 2021, all charity sizes experienced revenue growth in 2022. Extra small charities reported the smallest growth (3.8%), with medium charities showing the largest growth (7.3%).

The largest charities continue to account for most of the sector’s total revenue.

Only 0.5% of Australia’s charities are classed as extra large (with total revenue of $100 million or more), yet these charities accounted for more than 54% of the sector’s aggregate revenue.

Extra small charities, despite making up about one-third of the sector, contributed only 0.1% of the sector’s aggregate revenue.

The 30 largest charities by revenue (which includes charities that report collectively to the ACNC as part of reporting groups) accounted for 24% of the sector’s revenue, and the 50 largest charities accounted for 32%.

A list of Australia’s 30 largest charities by revenue can be found in Appendix 1.

Table 17: Total revenue by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods

Size

Total revenue ($ million)

Contribution to the sector’s total revenue (%)

Change from previous period ($ million)

% change from previous period

Change over three years ($ million)

% change over 3 years

Extra small

224

0.1

8

3.8

3

1.4

Small

1,348

0.7

67

5.2

38

2.9

Medium

3,898

1.9

264

7.3

325

9.1

Large

23,147

11.5

1,264

5.8

579

2.6

Very large

63,117

31.5

2,949

4.9

8,497

15.6

Extra large

108,948

54.3

6,150

6

25,280

30.2

All charities

200,682

100

10,702

5.6

34,721

20.9

‌Total income in the 2022 reporting period increased by more than $5 billion – or 2.8% – on the previous year, and now stands at $201 billion.‌‌

However, this increase in income was not felt by all charities in the sector. Charities across the extra small, small, medium and large categories reported decreases in total income.

The increase in the sector’s total income was predominately driven by very large and extra large charities.

Table 18: Total income by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods

Size

Total income ($ million)

Change from previous period ($ million)

Change over three years ($ million)

% change from previous period

% change over 3 years

Extra small

283

-15

25

-5

-9.6

Small

1,322

-149

-43

-10.1

-3.1

Medium

3,761

-331

77

-8.1

2.1

Large

23,028

-152

-419

-0.7

-1.8

Very large

63,884

1,806

8,437

2.9

15.2

Extra large

109,167

4,326

24,850

4.1

29.1

All charities

201,445

5,485

32,657

2.8

19.3

Expenses

Charities must use their funds to further their charitable purpose or purposes. For some charities, part of their income and/or assets may need to be applied to specific charitable outcomes (such as a particular bequest, for example).

In 2022, the charity sector’s total expenses increased by $22 billion (12.6%) to $195.8 billion.

The increase of 12.6% was twice the rate of inflation. The cost of running a charity was also impacted by inflation, with the Consumer Price Index rising 6.0% over the 12 months to the June 2023 quarter.

Only extra small charities reported a decrease (4.5%) in total expenses. Extra large charities reported a 15% increase in total expenses.

Table 19: Total expenses by charity size with changes from the previous reporting period

Size

Total expenses ($ million)

Change from previous period ($ million)

Change from previous period (%)

Change over 3 years ($ million)

Change over 3 years (%)

Extra small

368

-17

-4.5

50

15.6

Small

1,319

90

7.3

36

2.8

Medium

3,715

439*

13.4

357

10.6

Large

21,992

2,117

10.7

688

3.2

Very large

60,038

5,090

9.3

8,604

16.7

Extra large

108,348

14,134

15

28,403

35.5

All charities

195,780

21,853

+12.6

38,138

24.2

* As part of our quality assurance when analysing data for this edition of the Charities Report, we identified a reporting error made by a charity. We have removed this outlier when comparing 2022 data with 2021.

‌Net income‌‌‌

Net income is measured by subtracting a charity’s total expenses from its total income (not total revenue).

The sector reported positive net income of $5.7 billion in 2022. This means that income (revenue plus transactions not a part of a charity’s ordinary activities) continued to exceed expenses. There was a 74% decrease in net income when comparing 2022 to 2021 due to a significant increase in total expenses.

Table 20: Net income by charity size with changes from the previous reporting period

Size

Net income ($ million)

Change from previous period ($ million)

Change from previous period (%)

Change over 3 years ($ million)

Change from over 3 years (%)

Extra small

-85

2

-2.6

-25

41.4

Small

3

-239

-98.9

-79

-96.7

Medium

46

-771*

-94.4

-279

-85.9

Large

1,036

-2,269

-68.7

-1,106

-51.6

Very large

3,846

-3,284

-46.1

-168

-4.2

Extra large

819

-9,701

-92.2

-3,823

-82.4

All charities

5,701

-16,261

-74.2

-5,445

-48.9

* As part of our quality assurance when analysing data for this edition of the Charities Report, we identified a reporting error made by a charity. We have removed this outlier when comparing 2022 data with 2021.

Assets and liabilities

Total assets

Assets are any resources controlled by a charity – for example: cash, shares, property, equipment and trademarks.

Charity assets continue to grow, with the sector’s total assets at approximately $457 billion. This represented an increase of $35 billion (8.3%) compared to the previous year.

Medium charities reported a decrease in total assets (down by 4% to $17.3 billion). Charities across all other size categories reported an increase in assets, with extra large charities accounting for 80% of the total increase.

Table 21: Total assets by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods

Charity size

Total assets ($ million)

Change from previous period ($ million)

Change from previous period (%)

Change over 3 years ($ million)

Change over 3 years (%)

Extra small

4,300

34

0.8

1,498

53.5

Small

9,446

1,145

13.8

1,678

21.6

Medium

17,261

-712

-4

2,626

17.9

Large

61,310

2,535

4.3

2,327

3.9

Very large

135,080

3,662

2.8

21,622

19.1

Extra large

229,608

28,219

14

73,465

47.1

All charities

457,003

34,884

8.3

103,216

29.2

‌Total liabilities‌‌

Liabilities represent amounts that a charity owes such as amounts owed to suppliers or creditors and loans.

In 2022, total liabilities increased by 11.5% (or $16.3 billion) to $158 billion. This compared to a growth of 3% in 2021.

The total percentage growth in liabilities (11.5%), outpaced the percentage growth in total assets (8.3%).

Large charities were the only size category to report a decrease in total liabilities. Smaller charities reported the highest percentage increase in total liabilities.

Table 22: Total liabilities by charity size

Size

Total liabilities ($ million)

Change from previous period ($ million)

Change from previous period (%)

Change over 3 years ($ million)

Change over 3 years (%)

Extra small

628

124

24.6

196

45.3

Small

1,281

301

30.8

309

31.8

Medium

2,497

341

15.8

577

30.1

Large

13,574

-314

-2.3

684

5.3

Very large

46,917

1,199

2.6

7,697

19.6

Extra large

93,125

14,672

18.7

34,804

59.7

All charities

158,022

16,323

11.5

44,268

38.9

Net assets/liabilities and the asset ratio

Australia’s charity sector reported net assets of approximately $299 billion, an increase of just under $18 billion (6.6%) when compared to the previous year.

The asset ratio is a useful tool to understand net assets: Asset ratio = total assets/total liabilities

A higher asset ratio can indicate that a charity has set aside funds – known as reserves – to help ensure its financial stability and sustainability.

On average, charities continued to hold more assets than liabilities in the 2022 reporting period based on the asset ratio. The Australian charity sector’s overall asset ratio decreased slightly from 3 in 2021 to 2.9 in 2022.

While smaller charities continued to maintain the highest asset ratios, these charities also reported a significant decrease in their asset ratios in comparison to the previous year due to increases in their total liabilities.

For example, the 24.6% increase in extra small charities’ total liabilities between 2021 and 2022 (outlined in Table 22) contributed to a 1.5 point decrease in these charities’ 2022 asset ratio (see Table 23).

Table 23: Net asset/liabilities by charity size

Charity size

Net assets/ liabilities ($ million)

Change from previous period (%)

Change over 3 years (%)

Asset ratio (average)

Change from previous period asset ratio

Change to asset ratio over 3 years

Extra small

3,671

-4

55

6.8

-1.5

0.4

Small

8,165

11.5

20.1

7.4

-1.1

-0.6

Medium

14,764

-6.7

16.1

6.9

-1.4

-0.7

Large

47,736

6.3

3.6

4.5

0.3

-0.1

Very large

88,162

2.9

18.8

2.9

Unchanged

Unchanged

Extra large

136,483

11

39.5

2.5

-0.1

-0.2

All charities

298,982

6.6

24.6

2.9

-0.1

-0.2

Charities generate revenue from a range of sources, with those sources varying based on charity size and purposes.

Revenue sources

A charity’s size determines the revenue sources it must report on in the Annual Information Statement.

Table 24: Revenue reporting requirements

Information on revenue sources charities must provide in the Annual Information Statement

Revenue sourceRevenue under $500,000Revenue of $500,000 or more
Revenue from government (including grants)YesYes
Revenue from donations and bequestsYesYes
Revenue from goods or servicesNot mandatory to provide – optionalYes
Revenue from investmentsNot mandatory to provide – optionalYes
Other revenueYesYes

Note: Revenue from government also includes revenue received under a contract with government to provide specified services.

Small charities had the option to provide information about revenue from investments, and from goods or services, in the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Some medium sized charities in 2021 may have become small in 2022 due to the revised thresholds that came into force in 2022. To ensure accuracy, some statistics in this section do not have comparative analysis.

Breakdown of charity revenue sources

For the first time since we started recording these figures, revenue from government to charities exceeded $100 billion, growing by 5.6% over the previous year and now totalling $103 billion.

However, the proportion of revenue from government to the sector’s total revenue remained unchanged. In 2022, revenue from government continued to represent 51% of the sector’s revenue.

Larger charities are more reliant than other charities on the government when it comes to funding their purposes.

Revenue from donations and bequests also increased in 2022, reaching $13.9 billion (an increase of $584 million from 2021). Except for extra large charities, charities of all sizes reported an increase in donations and bequests.

The 30 charities (including those that report collectively as groups) that attracted the largest donations and bequests amounts received nearly 20% of all the donations and bequests received by all Australian charities.

A list of these charities has been provided in Appendix 2.

Table 25: Revenue sources by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods‌‌

Charity size

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

All charities

Government (including grants) $ million

22

177

1,115

10,095

29,828

61,443

102,680

% change

-6.6

-16.5

-5.8

2.4

2

8.3

5.6

% change over 3 years

11.8

8.4

10.7

-3.7

16.7

50.3

31.5

Donations and bequests $ million

90

553

1,179

3,828

5,209

3,085

13,944

% change

6.4

7.8

15.3

17.2

12.6

-19.8

4.4

% change over 3 years

5.8

10

24

32.6

15.5

9.2

18.6

Goods or services $ million

50

317

972

6,717

23,287

34,578

65,920

% change

9

13.5

See note

8.1

9.5

13

11.3

% change over 3 years

2.9

0.7

See note

3.4

18.5

18.2

16.2

Investments $ million

32

153

326

1,138

1,654

1,940

5,243

% change

-0.8

22.8

See note

5.4

-8

-37

-18.1

% change over 3 years

-5.3

3.5

See note

-5.6

-1

22.7

-10.9

Other revenue $ million

30

149

306

1,369

3,140

7,902

12,896

% change

1.6

-2.8

See note

-6.7

-3.6

-7.3

-6.2

% change over 3 years

-11.6

-18.6

See note

-8.8

-2.6

-3.8

-4.4

Note: Due to changes in the charity size thresholds in 2022, accurate comparisons for goods or services, investments and other revenue for medium charities cannot be made.

Extra small charities continued to be least reliant on revenue from government. The percentage of charities’ total revenue that came from government generally increased with charity size.

Smaller charities remained most reliant on donations and bequests. For these charities, 40% of their revenue was generated from donations and bequests. In comparison, donations and bequests made up less 3% of extra large charities’ total revenue.

Table 26: Revenue sources as a percentage of total revenue by charity size with changes from previous reporting periods

Charity size

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

All charities

Government (including grants) % of total

10.0

13.1

28.6

43.6

47.3

56.4

51.2

% change

-1.1

-3.4

-3.9

-1.4

-1.3

1.2

Unchanged

% change over 3 years

0.9

0.7

0.4

-2.8

0.5

7.6

4.1

Donations and bequests % of total

40.1

41.1

30.2

16.5

8.3

2.8

6.9

% change

1

1

2.1

1.6

0.6

-0.9

-0.1

% change over 3 years

1.7

2.7

3.6

3.7

Unchanged

-0.5

-0.1

Goods or services % of total

22.3

23.5

24.9

29

36.9

31.7

32.8

% change

1.1

1.7

See note

0.6

1.6

2

1.7

% change over 3 years

0.3

-0.5

See note

0.2

0.9

-3.2

-1.3

Investments % of total

14.3

11.3

8.4

4.9

2.6

1.8

2.6

% change

-0.7

1.6

See note

Unchanged

-0.4

-1.2

-0.8

% change over 3 years

-1

0.1

See note

-0.4

-0.4

-1.2

-0.9

Other revenue % of total

13.3

11.0

7.9

5.9

5

7.3

6.4

% change

-0.3

-0.9

See note

-0.8

-0.4

-1

-0.8

% change over 3 years

-1.9

-2.9

See note

-0.7

-0.9

-2.6

-1.7

Note: Due to changes in the charity size thresholds in 2022, accurate comparisons for goods or services, investments and other revenue for medium charities cannot be made.

‌Charity revenue sources‌‌

In 2022, about 41% of charities reported receiving revenue from government, a decrease of 4.2% from the previous period.

More than 70% of charities reported receiving donations and bequests. Nearly 66% of extra small charities reported receiving this type of revenue – a near 11% increase on the previous year.

The proportion of charities that reported receiving revenue from goods or services increased in line with charity size – whereas 36% of extra small charities reported receiving this type of revenue, 88% of extra large charities reported receiving revenue from goods or services.

Table 27: Percentage of charities that reported revenue from different sources by size

Charity size

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

All charities

Government (including grants) % of total

17.2

31.3

54.6

71

87.4

93.8

41.2

% change

1.8

-11.1

-12.9

-9.1

-3.8

-0.5

-4.2

% change over 3 years

2.4

4.3

3.1

0.1

0.2

2.9

3.9

Donations and bequests % of total

65.7

74.9

74.2

69.9

67.9

78.7

70.6

% change

10.9

0.1

0.4

-0.7

-1.8

-0.4

4.4

% change over 3 years

9

1.1

2.3

-1.7

-2.0

-5.6

3.8

Goods or services % of total

36.3

49.1

63.7

76

86.1

88.4

54.4

% change

5.6

0.4

See note

-1.1

-0.7

1.5

3

% change over 3 years

5.3

0.7

See note

-2.1

0.1

0.1

2.5

Investments % of total

41.5

48.3

60.3

73.4

81.9

86.0

54.6

% change

1.4

-2

See note

-2.9

-3

-4.9

-0.4

% change over 3 years

0.7

-6.2

See note

-6.6

-4.9

-3.8

-3.4

Other revenue % of total

39.7

46.3

56.9

70.5

81.4

86.4

52.3

% change

3.9

-1.9

See note

-3.2

-2.8

-0.9

0.4

% change over 3 years

-0.4

-5.7

See note

-4.4

-2.4

-1.9

-2.2

Note: Due to changes in the charity size thresholds in 2022, accurate comparisons for goods or services, investments and other revenue for medium charities cannot be made.

Charities use funds to further their charitable purposes. Some assets held by charities may have additional conditions on how they can be used – for example, some grants or gifts must be used for specific purposes.

Charities are a significant employer in Australia. More than half the sector’s expenses are employee-related.

Charities also distributed nearly $12 billion in grants and donations in the 2022 reporting period.

Types of expenses

The type of expenses a charity must report to the ACNC are based on its size.

In the Annual Information Statement, all charities must report the following expenses:

  • employee
  • grants and donations within Australia
  • grants and donations outside Australia
  • other (for example, rental expenses, bank charges, utilities).

Charities with revenue in excess of $3 million must also report interest expenses (interest paid by charities on any money they have borrowed).

Employee expenses

In 2022, employee expenses increased by 9.8% to $108 billion. This compared to a 5.4% increase in the previous year. Larger charities experienced a bigger increase in employee expenses – for example, extra large charities reported a 12.7% increase in expenses.

This is likely due to the tight labour market and the 47,000 increase in total employees reported by charities in 2022.

Table 28: Employee expenses by charity size

Charity size

$ million

Change over previous year ($ million)

% change

Change over 3 years ($ million)

% change over 3 years

Extra small

34

2

4.8

2

6.1

Small

304

-1

-0.2

Unchanged

-0.2

Medium

1,536

78*

5.3

108

7.6

Large

11,545

694

6.4

77

0.7

Very large

34,140

2,021

6.3

4,918

16.8

Extra large

60,466

6,834

12.7

17,034

39.2

All charities

108,025

9,628

9.8

22,138

25.8

* As part of our quality assurance when analysing data for this edition of the Charities Report, we identified a reporting error made by a charity. We have removed this outlier when comparing 2022 data with 2021.

‌Grants and donations‌‌

Some charities, such as ancillary funds and trusts, are primarily established to deliver structured philanthropy and focus solely on distributing grants and donations to other charities and charitable causes. For other charities, distributing grants and donations is only one element of their operations.

In the 2022 reporting period, charities reported spending $11.7 billion on grants and donations, an increase of 21% on the previous reporting period.

The increase was largely driven by grants and donations within Australia. Grants and donations within Australia increased by about $2 billion (26%) to $9.5 billion. In comparison, grants and donations outside Australia increased by 2.8% to $2.3 billion.

While the overall sector reported an increase in total grants and donations within or outside Australia, extra small charities reported a decrease in grants and donations within Australia. Similarly, extra small, large and extra large charities reported a decrease in grants and donations outside Australia.

Charities reported spending an average of $217,000 on grants to others within Australia compared to an average of $51,000 for grants to others outside Australia.

Table 29: Expenses on grants and donations by charity size

Charity size

Within Australia

Outside Australia

Total

$ million

% change

% change over 3 years

$ million

% change

% change over 3 years

$ million

% change

% change over 3 years

Extra small

130

-11.3

37.0

16

-8.1

20

146

-11

34.8

Small

257

5.4

7.4

63

9.2

23.2

320

6.1

10.1

Medium

470

14

10

121

13

34.9

591

13.8

14.4

Large

1,711

17.1

20.6

538

-10.7

56.6

2,249

9

27.7

Very large

2,618

8.5

34.6

907

15.7

22.1

3,524

10.3

31.1

Extra large

4,303

51.3

41.3

607

-2.3

7.8

4,910

41.7

36

All charities

9,489

26.2

32.3

2,252

2.8

24.9

11,741

20.9

30.8

Table 30: Average expenses on grants and donations by charity size

Charity size

Within Australia

Outside Australia

Total

$

% change

% change over 3 years

$

% change

% change over 3 years

$

% change

% change over 3 years

Extra small

8,135

-13.3

25.9

1,024

-10.1

10.3

9,159

-11

34.8

Small

23,771

-2.4

3

5,784

1.1

18.1

29,555

-1.7

5.6

Medium

62,290

5.2

-0.2

16,078

4.3

22.4

78,368

13.8

14.4

Large

245,409

11.5

15.6

77,232

-15

50

322,641

9

27.7

Very large

1,143,659

4.5

20.5

396,093

11.5

9.4

1,539,752

10.3

31.1

Extra large

16,679,599

43.1

7.9

2,352,282

-7.6

17.7

19,031,811

41.7

36

All charities

216,533

19.9

23.2

51,394

-2.2

16.3

267,927

20.9

30.8

Interest and other expenses

‘Interest expenses’ details the interest paid by charities on any money they have borrowed. Charities with revenue in excess of $3 million (some large and all very large and extra large charities) are required to report on interest expenses. Extra small, small and medium charities do not report interest expenses in the Annual Information Statement.

‘Other expenses’ includes all expenses other than employee expenses, and grants and donations, made in and outside Australia. For extra small, small and medium charities, interest expenses are included within ‘other expenses’.

Other expenses includes expenses such as rent, insurance, bank charges, consultancy fees, cost of goods sold, equipment hire, depreciation, fundraising expenses, utilities and other administration.

In 2022, interest expenses soared by around 16% to $1.7 billion.

Table 31: Interest and other expenses by charity size

Charity size

Interest expenses

Other expenses

$ million

% change

% change over 3 years

$ million

% change

% change over 3 years

Extra small

188

-0.1

6.0

Small

695

11.7

1.1

Medium

1,589*

22.5

12.5

Large

90

See note

See note

8,184

19.6

3.3

Very large

494

9.1

2.3

21,879

14.1

14.9

Extra large

1,128

24.2

130.2

41,844

15.6

29.2

All charities

1,711

15.8

52.4

74,380

15.6

20.7

* As part of our quality assurance when analysing data for this edition of the Charities Report, we identified a reporting error made by a charity in 2021. We have removed this outlier when comparing 2022 data with 2021.

Note: Due to changes in the charity size thresholds in 2022, accurate comparisons for large charities cannot be made.

‌Breakdown of types of charity expenses‌‌

Extra small, small and medium charities do not report interest expenses separately in the Annual Information Statement. For these charities, interest expenses should be reported as part of other expenses.

Employee-related expenses were the largest charity expense reported, accounting for 55.2% of total expenses.

The percentage of employee expenses to overall expenses were greatest for larger charities.

Extra small charities reported only 9% of expenses going towards covering employee costs, which is unsurprising given that 88% of these charities are volunteer-based.

For extra small charities, ‘other expenses’ (which can include interest expenses) represented the largest expense type as a proportion of their overall expenses.

Table 32: Charity expenses as a percentage of total expenses by charity size

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

All charities

Employee expenses%

9.3

23.1

41.4

52.5

56.9

55.8

55.2

% change

0.8

-1.8

-2.8

-2.1

-1.6

-1.1

-1.3

% change over 3 years

-0.8

-0.7

-1.2

-1.3

Unchanged

1.5

0.7

Interest expenses%

0.4

0.8

1

0.9

% change

See note

Unchanged

0.1

Unchanged

% change over 3 years

See note

-0.1

0.4

0.2

Grants and donations within Australia%

35.2

19.5

12.6

7.8

4.4

4

4.8

% change

-2.7

-0.4

2.9

0.4

Unchanged

1

0.6

% change over 3 years

5.5

0.8

-0.1

1.1

0.6

0.2

0.3

Grants and donations outside Australia%

4.4

4.7

3.3

2.4

1.5

0.6

1.2

% change

-0.2

0.1

0.7

-0.6

0.1

-0.1

-0.1

% change over 3 years

0.2

0.8

0.6

0.8

0.1

-0.1

Unchanged

Other expenses%

51.1

52.7

42.8

37.2

36.4

38.6

38

% change

2.1

2.0

-0.8

2.8

1.5

0.2

0.9

% change over 3 years

-4.8

-0.9

0.7

Unchanged

-0.6

-1.9

-1.1

Note: Due to changes in the charity size thresholds in 2022, accurate comparisons for large charities cannot be made.

To find out more about charity revenue and expenditure visit our Charity Data Explorer.

A charity subtype is a category of registration that reflects a charity’s particular purposes. A charity’s purpose is the reason it has been set up, or what its activities work towards achieving.

Our analysis of charity subtypes provides an insight into the subsectors that make up the charity sector. We can learn more about the composition of these subsectors, the financial patterns within them, and how they compare with other subsectors.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) sets out 14 charity subtypes. These include the 12 charitable purposes set out in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth), as well as the categories of Public Benevolent Institution and Health Promotion Charity.

  • Advancing health (health)
  • Advancing education (education)
  • Advancing social or public welfare (social welfare)
  • Advancing religion (religion)
  • Advancing culture (culture)
  • Promoting reconciliation, mutual respect and tolerance between groups of individuals that are in Australia (reconciliation)
  • Promoting or protecting human rights (human rights)
  • Advancing the security or safety of Australia or the Australian public (security)
  • Preventing or relieving the suffering of animals (animals)
  • Advancing the natural environment (environment)
  • Any other purpose beneficial to the general public that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the spirit of, any of the purposes mentioned in the subtypes above (other)
  • Promoting or opposing a change to any matter established by law, policy or practice in the Commonwealth, a state, a territory or another country (law)
  • Public Benevolent Institution (PBI)
  • Health Promotion Charity (HPC)

Charities can either be registered with multiple subtypes or can choose not to be registered with any subtype.

In addition to the 14 charity subtypes, our analysis includes two extra categories:

  • charities registered with more than one subtype – for example, a charity with two subtypes is included in this category rather than in the two separate categories of its two subtypes
  • charities with no registered subtype.

Basic Religious Charities that did not provide financial information were not included in this analysis, as were charities that reported as a group.

The analysis of each subtype in this report is limited to charities registered solely with that single subtype.

If a charity has more than one subtype, analysis will only be included in the ‘Multiple’ category. Because of this, each subtype analysis in this report is not a complete picture of the subtype as a whole.

About 30% of charities that submitted a 2022 Annual Information Statement were registered with more than one subtype.

‌Table 33: Number of charities registered by subtype and charity size

Subtype category

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

Total

Number

Change from previous year

Change from 3 years earlier

Health

403

172

72

66

17

1

731

45

53

Education

2,065

1,296

1,196

1,056

492

53

6,158

95

1

Social welfare

762

368

240

182

21

1,573

74

119

Religion

2,009

2,481

1,216

423

42

7

6,178

314

611

Culture

764

383

261

169

33

1,610

174

327

Reconciliation

26

16

14

6

62

2

4

Human rights

17

12

5

5

1

40

2

2

Security

79

34

14

16

143

19

-15

Animals

259

251

72

24

12

618

39

105

Environment

359

171

157

93

22

2

804

96

178

Other

1,711

1,050

639

451

86

7

3,944

211

470

Law

17

6

3

7

33

14

27

PBI

564

453

507

947

385

35

2,891

-48

-179

HPC

151

81

65

90

45

1

433

-13

Multiple

4,637

2,795

2,279

2,797

939

86

13,263

919

1,519

No subtype

2,377

1,228

770

554

100

5

5,034

211

-189

‌Employees and volunteers by charity subtype‌‌‌

Collectively, charities with the environment subtype reported volunteer numbers topping 1 million. This is despite charities with this subtype comprising less than 2% of total charity numbers.

Unsurprisingly, charities with the subtypes of education and PBI reported having the highest paid employee numbers.

Table 34: Employees and volunteers by subtype

Subtype category

Employees (number)

Change over 1 year (%)

Change over 3 years (%)

Volunteers (number)

Change over 1 year (%)

Change over 3 years (%)

Health

4,163

-22.3

-72.9

26,907

4.9

-39

Education

329,904

0

-9.2

178,408

4.5

-12.2

Social welfare

9,147

-4.7

6

26,628

7.4

-2.9

Religion

50,891

2.3

1.2

525,004

6.8

-4.4

Culture

16,926

9.8

20.4

52,506

18.2

-21.8

Reconciliation

162

-5.8

-13.8

1,996

46.9

52.4

Human rights

170

14.1

-9.6

420

6.6

-57.1

Security

204

11.5

4.6

13,923

-0.2

9.5

Animals

3,616

5.1

8.5

46,347

23.4

20.6

Environment

4,541

18.3

36.8

1,003,667

22.9

19

Other

18,437

2.9

12.7

88,693

1.9

-6.3

Law*

94

32.4

30.6

580

102.1

100

PBI

209,788

1

7.5

293,309

5.7

-14.5

HPC

10,182

1.7

1.4

23,600

0.3

-36.7

Multiple

495,700

-1.3

14.3

879,759

6.2

-1.8

No subtype

39,256

32.3

-11.3

130,769

0.5

-38.5

* Because of the small number of charities with this subtype, outliers can significantly affect the analysis.

Note: Charities report employee numbers based on their last pay period before submitting their Annual Information Statement. Volunteer numbers are based on the entire reporting period.

Revenue breakdown by subtype

Charities registered with multiple subtypes generated the most revenue – more than $68 billion – in 2022.

This was followed by charities registered with the Education subtype.

Trends varied between subtypes with revenue increasing across all subtypes, except the Health and Human rights subtypes.

Charities with the Reconciliation subtype reported the sector’s lowest revenue at $19 million – although this figure was up by $2 million on the previous reporting period.

‌Net income ratio‌

A charity’s net income is its total income minus its total expenses. The ‘net income ratio’ provides the ratio, of a charity’s net income to its total income. In this report, the ratio is expressed as a percentage: Net income ratio (%) = net income/total income.

A positive ratio indicates that there is a surplus – the income received was more than the charity’s expenses for the year. The higher the ratio, the greater the surplus.

A negative ratio indicates that there is a deficit – the income received was less than the charity’s expenses for the year. The larger the negative ratio, the greater the deficit.

In the 2022 reporting period, the net income ratio for the sector was 3.5%, a significant decrease from 11.1% in 2021 and 6.7% in the 2019 reporting period. Interest rate rises and cost of living issues (which increase expenses for charities) likely contributed to this decline.

Table 35: Net income ratio by subtype and charity size

Subtype category

Extra small %

Small %

Medium %

Large %

Very large %

Extra large %

All sizes %

All sizes 1 year earlier %

All sizes 3 years earlier %

Health

-127.1

-2

-4.8

7

7.6

2.1

4.9

11.8

5

Education

1.2

3.2

0.7

4.2

6.6

-0.6

1.8

11.7

5.7

Social welfare

-17

-6.6

-4.5

5.4

1.7

1.8

14.2

13.6

Religion

31.2

4.5

15.5

12.6

1

6.9

8.2

-3.7

8.5

Culture

-14.3

4.5

4.9

6.6

3.9

4.8

14.5

9.4

Reconciliation*

3.9

12.2

14.7

6.7

10.2

27.1

21.4

Human rights*

60.8

-8.2

27.4

7.1

-7

1.2

9.3

1.7

Security*

5.9

9.2

17.9

-59.8

-44.6

-23.4

2.6

Animals

-10.5

4.7

20.3

4.3

7.1

7.3

13.3

8.3

Environment*

-179.3

14.3

3.2

13.9

1.9

8.3

6.2

13.4

3.6

Other

-112.9

-21.7

-7

0.4

27.4

21.0

17.4

31

21.8

Law*

-0.9

23.4

-1,118.9

5.6

-

2.3

45.7

7.1

PBI

-26.3

6.2

8.6

Unchanged

1.5

9.0

4

6

3.8

HPC

-8.5

11.2

-3.5

3.6

1.7

-1.1

1.8

8.6

2.9

Multiple

-29.6

8.3

3.1

5.7

6.2

-0.7

2.9

10.1

6

No subtype

-94.6

-21.9

-37

4.6

8.5

8.4

3.5

30.2

12.3

All subtypes

-30.2

0.2

1.2

4.6

6

1.5

3.5

11.1

6.7

* Because of the small number of charities of this subtype, outliers can significantly affect the analysis.

‌Asset ratio‌

In 2022, the asset ratio for the sector decreased to 2.9%, slightly less than the 3% ratio reported in 2021. This means that total assets were just under three times the total liabilities for the sector. Charities can draw on these net assets to absorb negative net income ratio (where total expenses exceed total income).

Only large and very large charities reported an improvement in the asset ratio in 2022. While extra small to medium charities reported a drop in the asset ratio compared to the previous year, the average for these charities was still greater than the sector’s ratio of 2.9%. Extra small charities reported a drop in the asset ratio in 2022, reporting a ratio of 6.8% versus 8.5% in 2021.

Table 36: Asset ratio by subtype and charity size

Subtype category

Extra small %

Small %

Medium %

Large %

Very large %

Extra large %

All sizes %

All sizes 1 year earlier %

All sizes 3 years earlier %

Health

20.7

73

25.2

5

2.5

1.4

3.6

3.3

3.2

Education

17.7

17

5.7

4.3

3.6

3.2

3.3

3.3

3.3

Social welfare

3.2

9.3

3.9

6

1.8

2.6

2.9

5.4

Religion

13.3

5.5

7.6

3.4

1.7

2.1

2.7

2.5

2.3

Culture

6.9

7.3

7.2

7.1

2.9

4.8

4.8

10.9

Reconciliation*

54.6

21.2

8.4

3.6

7.7

6.5

11

Human rights*

5.2

8.7

4.3

9.3

1.3

2.9

3.7

2.9

Security*

24.3

41.7

16.6

6

7.3

9.8

5.6

Animals

10.6

15.7

8.5

13.2

7.2

8.3

8.1

8.8

Environment

0.8

4.1

5

3.2

1.7

4

2.2

1.9

1.8

Other

18

83.2

26.7

17.8

6.5

4.2

8.5

9.5

10.4

Law*

63.8

29.7

47.8

4.5

5.3

5.5

3.4

PBI

7.9

14

5.9

3

2

1.6

2

2

2.1

HPC

71.8

0.1

6.4

3.3

2.7

7.6

2.4

3.3

3.8

Multiple

3.7

6.5

4.7

3.9

3.1

2.2

2.8

2.8

2.9

No subtype

5.5

30.9

11.1

8.7

5.4

3.7

6.9

7.6

7.7

All subtypes

6.8

7.4

6.9

4.5

2.9

2.5

2.9

3.0

3.2

* Because of the small number of charities with this subtype (refer to table 34), outliers can significantly affect the analysis.

‌Asset holdings‌

Charities with the Education subtype continue to hold the most assets. These charities – which include schools and universities – held assets of $128 billion in 2022, an increase of 8.2% from 2021.

Table 37: Total assets by subtype and charity size

Subtype
category

Extra small

Small

Medium

Large

Very large

Extra large

Total

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

$
mil

%
change

Health

109

4

208

4.6

200

-25.4

1,762

-0.1

1,957

0.8

47

-77.2

4,283

-4.4

Education

466

-3.6

678

-0.8

1,724

2.3

8,372

8.2

27,991

3.1

89,264

10.1

128,495

8.2

Social welfare

141

3.6

342

23

481

-1.4

1,256

-18.7

2,474

18.6

-100

4,694

3.5

Religion

969

10.4

2,480

11.3

4,252

-2.5

5,522

0.7

6,355

-9.8

6,096

19.2

25,674

2.3

Culture

140

11.6

213

14.4

414

31.5

1,289

-3.4

1,061

20.5

3,117

9.7

Reconciliation*

1

-49.7

11

238

13

-28

8

45

33

15

Human rights*

0

49.8

5

0.4

1

-41.8

24

8.0

16

42.2

46

18.8

Security*

4

-3.2

16

45.6

21

-42.3

123

-18.0

164

-18.6

Animals

17

-30.9

61

14.9

35

-23.9

146

51.5

548

2

807

3.6

Environment

46

9.1

46

3.4

199

13.4

390

-1.2

925

6.7

204

13.3

1,811

6.2

Other

775

-20

1,566

-1.7

2,086

-19.1

6,392

3.7

5,607

-5.2

4,828

-5.2

21,255

5.7

Law*

0

77.1

1

-71.7

10

-50.5

56

157.4

-100

66

54.4

PBI

132

7.1

326

0.9

900

-12.5

6,593

0.5

20,268

1.2

13,129

6

41,348

2.2

HPC

21

-32

29

27.1

71

-4.5

407

-6.6

2,360

5.5

556

7.6

3,444

3.9

Multiple

709

-11.6

1,573

9.7

4,310

-2.7

21,661

9.9

48,887

9.5

46,820

0.3

123,960

5.3

No subtype

761

41.6

1,865

55.7

2,413

2.7

6,113

2

7,430

18.4

1,422

0.7

20,004

12.5

* Because of the small number of charities with this subtype (less than 80), outliers can significantly affect the analysis

Charities with significant obligations to other regulators

Many charities need to fulfil obligations to other regulators in addition to those they have to the ACNC.

The proportion of charities that provided the ACNC with their state/territory incorporated association number increased by 0.7% from 2021. A similar increase was reported for charities that provided the ACNC with their state/territory fundraising license number.

The ACNC continues to work with other regulators to remove duplicated reporting obligations and streamline the way charities report to government.

Our progress in reducing red tape for charities can be tracked at acnc.gov.au/redtapereduction.

Table 38: Proportion of charities with reporting obligations to other regulators

Type of charityOther regulator

% of charities reporting to other regulator

% change compared to previous reporting period

Non-government schoolsDepartment of Education (Commonwealth)

2.4

-0.2

Indigenous charitiesOffice of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (Commonwealth)

2.1

0.2

Ancillary funds (both private and public)Australian Taxation Office (Commonwealth)

5.3

Unchanged

Incorporated associationsState or territory regulator

37.3

0.7

Charities that fundraiseState or territory regulator

13.8

0.7

Aged care providersDepartment of Health (Commonwealth)

1

Unchanged

Higher education providersTertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Commonwealth)

0.2

0.1

Notes: The percentage of incorporated associations is based on charities that voluntarily provided us with an incorporated association number.

The percentage of charities that fundraise is based on charities that voluntarily provided us with a fundraising license number. Not all charities that fundraise are required to have a fundraising license – depending on where a charity undertakes fundraising activities, it may be exempt from the requirement to hold a fundraising license. The percentage of charities that are aged care providers is based on a charity’s legal name.

Data for ancillary funds, aged care providers and higher education providers are from publicly available datasets.

Table 39: Proportion of charities with reporting obligations to other regulators by size

Type of charity

Small (%)

Medium (%)

Large (%)

No size (%)

Non-government schools

2

16.5

80.9

0.6

Ancillary funds (both private and public)

70.4

17.4

6.2

6

Incorporated associations

70.7

16.5

6.3

6.5

Charities that fundraise

56.3

24.6

18.9

0.2

Higher education providers

4.3

16.4

72.8

6.5

Note: Size categories are based on a charity’s most recent Annual Information Statement. Depending on when the last Annual Information Statement was submitted, a different charity size threshold may now apply due to threshold changes in 2022.

‌Newly registered charities by subtype‌

Each year, we receive thousands of applications from organisations that want to be registered as charities.

From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, we registered 2,622 charities. While 41% of newly registered charities were registered with multiple subtypes, this figure was down by more than 5% on the previous year.

The percentage of newly registered charities with a subtype of Advancing culture increased by 2.6% on the previous year.

Table 40: Approved subtypes for newly registered charities and as a percentage of all registered charities

Subtype category

Number of newly registered charities

% of newly registered charities

% change from previous financial year

% of all registered charities

Health

47

1.8

-0.3

1.5

Education

212

8.1

1.1

12.4

Social welfare

155

5.9

0.4

3.3

Religion

409

15.6

2

26

Culture

238

9.1

2.6

3.3

Reconciliation

10

0.4

0.3

0.1

Human rights

4

0.2

-0.1

0.1

Security

7

0.3

-0.3

0.3

Animals

54

2.1

-0.2

1.3

Environment

108

4.1

0.7

1.6

Other

220

8.4

-0.7

7.5

Law

1

0

-0.2

0.1

PBI

41

1.6

-0.3

6.6

HPC

6

0.2

-0.3

0.9

Multiple

1,073

40.9

-5.1

27.2

No subtype

37

1.4

0.3

8.1

Total

2,622

100

100

Note: This information is taken from ACNC data from 2022–23 financial year, not from data in the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Voluntary revocation of charity registration

A charity can apply to have its registration revoked. This is what we call a ‘voluntary revocation’.

When a charity applies to have its registration revoked, it must provide a reason. There are four possible reasons a charity can choose from:

  • the organisation intends to continue operating but not as a registered charity (continue operating deregistered)
  • the organisation is no longer operating (ceased operating)
  • the organisation has merged with another one (merger)
  • the organisation is no longer entitled to be a registered charity (not entitled).

From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, we processed 1,543 voluntary revocations.

‌The most common reason given for voluntary revocation was that charities were no longer operating (60%). This represented an increase of 6% in comparison to the previous year.‌‌

For the 2022–23 financial year, the percentage of all voluntary revocations due to mergers (around 32%) increased from the 2021–22 financial year (13%). This represented a return to levels reported in the 2020–21 financial year.

Small charities were most likely to seek voluntarily revocation – 60% of all voluntary revocations were sought by small charities.

Small and medium charities were most likely to seek voluntarily revocation on the basis that they had ceased operating.

Table 41: Voluntary revocations by charity size

Size

Reason for voluntary revocation

Total

Organisation intends to keep operating but not as a registered charity

Organisation has merged with another

Organisation has ceased operating

Organisation not entitled to be a registered charity

Small

42

108

751

40

941

Medium

12

17

32

4

65

Large

34

362

57

0

453

No size

1

4

78

1

84

Total

89

491

918

45

1,543

Notes: This information is taken from ACNC data drawn from the 2022-23 financial year, not data drawn from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Size categories are based on a charity’s most recent Annual Information Statement. Depending on when the last Annual Information Statement was submitted, a different charity size threshold may now apply due to threshold changes in 2022.

Table 42: Voluntary revocations by charity size in 2022–23 as a percentage of total voluntary revocations with changes from the 2021–22 financial year

Size

Reason for voluntary revocation

Total

Organisation intends to keep operating but not as a registered charity

Organisation has merged with another

Organisation has ceased operating

Organisation not entitled to be a registered charity

%

% change

%

% change

%

% change

%

% change

%

% change

Small

2.7

-0.2

7.0

-2.3

48.4

3.2

2.6

-26.8

60.7

-26.0

Medium

0.8

0.7

1.1

-0.5

2.1

0.0

0.3

0.2

4.2

0.2

Large

2.2

2.1

23.2

21.6

3.7

-0.2

0.0

-0.4

29.2

23.1

No size

0.1

0.0

0.3

0.2

5.5

2.7

0.1

-0.2

5.9

2.6

Total

5.7

2.5

31.7

19.1

59.7

5.7

2.9

-27.3

100

Notes: This information is taken from ACNC data drawn from the 2022-23 financial year, not data drawn from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Size categories are based on a charity’s most recent Annual Information Statement. Depending on when the last Annual Information Statement was submitted, a different charity size threshold may now apply due to threshold changes in 2022.

In some instances, formerly registered charities may not have submitted an Annual Information Statement (for example, they may have been part of a reporting group, or they may have been registered for less than three months).

‌Table 43: Reason for voluntary revocation in 2022–23 based on charity size with changes from the 2021–22 financial year

Size

Reason for voluntary revocation

Organisation intends to keep operating but not as a registered charity

Organisation has merged with another

Organisation has ceased operating

Organisation not entitled to be a registered charity

%

% change

%

% change

%

% change

%

% change

Small

4.5

1.2

11.5

0.9

79.8

27.7

4.3

-29.6

Medium

18.5

15.5

26.2

-14.1

49.2

-4.5

6.2

3.2

Large

7.5

6.5

79.9

51.5

12.6

-51.5

0

-6.9

No size

1.2

-2.4

4.8

1.2

92.9

9.0

1.2

-7.7

Notes: This information is taken from ACNC data drawn from the 2022-23 financial year, not data drawn from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Size categories are based on a charity’s most recent Annual Information Statement. Depending on when the last Annual Information Statement was submitted, a different charity size threshold may now apply due to threshold changes in 2022.

Age of registered charities and organisations that had their registration voluntarily revoked

Australian charities have been operating, on average, for 31.6 years, a slight decrease of 0.4 years from 2021–22.

Table 44: Average age of registered charities by subtype with change from the 2021–22 financial year

Subtype category

Age

Change compared to previous financial year

Health

21.5

-0.5

Education

35.8

-1.6

Social welfare

21.3

0.3

Religion

46.7

0.3

Culture

25.2

0.5

Reconciliation

14.9

-0.2

Human rights

16.0

1.1

Security

30.2

0.2

Animals

11.3

0.5

Environment

18.3

0.6

Other

28.5

Unchanged

Law

14.5

0.6

PBI

34.3

0.5

HPC

21.9

1.1

Multiple

21.5

0.1

No subtype

35.7

2.6

All subtypes

31.6

-0.4

Notes: Our analysis excludes any charity for which an establishment date was unavailable. This information is taken from ACNC data drawn from the 2022–23 financial year, not data drawn from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

‌In 2022–23, the average age of organisations that voluntarily revoked their status as charities was 38 years, a drop‌ from 43.7 years we reported last year.

Consistent with last year, charities that ceased operating had the lowest age.

Table 45: Average age of charities that voluntarily revoked their status as charities

Reason for voluntary revocation

Age

Age – previous financial year

The organisation intends to continue operating but not as a registered charity

52.3

29.8

The organisation has merged with another one

61.6

48

The organisation is no longer operating

24.6

24.7

The organisation is no longer entitled to be a registered charity

30.9

78.7

All reasons

38.0

43.7

Revocation of charity registration due to investigations

The ACNC:

  • is committed to supporting charities to understand and meet their ongoing ACNC obligations
  • will not hesitate to act where there is a risk of harm to the public or serious wrongdoing.

We have a range of interventions that allow for a proportionate and risk-based approach to address risks of harm. In the most serious cases, we may revoke a charity’s registration.

In 2022–23, we revoked seven charities’ registrations due to compliance issues.

On average, these organisations had been operating for 11 years. The youngest organisation had been operating for four years, the oldest for 19.

Of these organisations, five reported as small charities, one reported as medium, and one as large. This was based on the most recent Annual Information Statement each of the charities had submitted.

At the time of having their charity registrations revoked, these organisations held assets of approximately $2.3 million.

Data sources

Our analysis is primarily based on information we collect from charities as part of their reporting. In this report, we have explained where we have used an external source of information.

Although we have a comprehensive process for reviewing as much charity data as possible, there may be errors in the data supplied by charities and used for this report.

Methodology

Where possible, this report includes financial information:

  • reported by Basic Religious Charities
  • from charities that did not conduct activities (for example, charities that may have received revenue from investments for the reporting year despite not conducting activities).

No estimated or proxy data is used.

A small number of charities have been excluded from some analyses to remove significant outliers and distortions to results.

Where a charity’s information is withheld from the Charity Register and could be identified from content in this report – for example, from tables that name specific charities – it has been removed.

There may be minor rounding errors in this report.

By charity size

Our analysis was based on 51,536 charities that submitted a 2022 Annual Information Statement.

For the 2022 Annual Information Statement, the two most common reporting periods were:

  • 1 July to 30 June 2022
  • 1 January to 31 December 2022.

In some situations, such as when one charity controls one or more charities, we allow a group of registered charities to submit a single Annual Information Statement (known as a reporting group). These are referred to as group Annual Information Statements.

Our analysis includes 308 group Annual Information Statements submitted on behalf of 1,147 registered charities during the 2022 reporting year.

For this section, we treated each reporting group as a single charity.

By charity subtype

Our analysis was based on charities that submitted a 2022 Annual Information Statement and their registered charity subtypes (as of 1 February 2024).

Reporting groups are not separate legal entities and are not entitled to a charity subtype. As a result, we have excluded reporting groups from this analysis.

Registered charities

This information was based on 60,572 registered charities as of 1 February 2024.

‌Accessing ACNC data‌‌‌

There are various ways the public can access ACNC data:

Our interactive data

We published data from the 2022 Annual Information Statement in our Charity Data Explorer. It allows you to filter the data based on a range of criteria.

You can access the Charity Data Explorer at acnc.gov.au/charitydata.

Data.gov.au

We have published various datasets, including the dataset for the 2022 Annual Information Statement, at data.gov.au.

Datasets are updated weekly and do not include data from charities that have information withheld from the Charity Register.

The analysis in this report may not match the information at data.gov.au because:

  • our analysis in this report includes all information submitted by charities (including those that have information withheld from the Charity Register)
  • additional 2022 Annual Information Statements may have been submitted after our analysis was complete.

Contact us

If you would like any further information about this report, or ACNC data in general, please contact us at research@acnc.gov.au.

Previous editions of the Charities Report

This is the tenth annual Australian Charities Report. All previous editions can be found on our website at acnc.gov.au/tools/other-resources/charity-data-hub.

Appendices

Table 46: Australia’s 30 largest charities by revenue

No.Charity nameState or territory

Total revenue ($)

1.Victorian Catholic Education Authority LimitedVIC

3,269,680,738

2.The University of SydneyNSW

3,159,373,417

3.University of Melbourne GroupVIC

2,998,419,000

4.St Vincent’s Health Australia LtdNSW

2,983,130,684

5.Monash UniversityVIC

2,748,125,000

6.University of NSW GroupNSW

2,316,929,000

7.Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd GroupVIC

2,151,805,944

8.St John Of God Health Care IncWA

2,004,638,000

9.The University of Queensland GroupQLD

1,946,502,000

10.Little Company of Mary Health Care Limited GroupVIC

1,876,978,000

11.UnitingCare QLD GroupQLD

1,656,882,000

12.The Corporation Of The Trustees Of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese Of BrisbaneQLD

1,397,811,100

13.Mater Misericordiae LimitedQLD

1,386,176,000

14.Sydney Catholic Schools TrustNSW

1,280,393,000

15.Royal Melbourne Institute Of TechnologyVIC

1,265,051,000

16.Goodstart Early Learning GroupQLD

1,258,443,000

17.Catholic Education Western Australia LimitedWA

1,256,802,299

18.Australian National UniversityACT

1,235,932,000

19.Deakin UniversityVIC

1,130,917,000

20.Co-operative Bulk Handling LimitedWA

1,103,936,000

21.Edmund Rice Education Australia GroupVIC

1,089,525,466

22.Australian Red Cross SocietyVIC

1,067,698,000

23.University Of Western AustraliaWA

1,039,846,000

24.University Of Technology SydneyNSW

1,012,666,000

25.St. Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne) LimitedNSW

1,004,843,000

26.Queensland University Of TechnologyQLD

1,004,266,000

27.The University Of AdelaideSA

994,950,000

28.Uniting NSW.ACT GroupNSW

994,805,000

29.Epworth FoundationVIC

992,785,000

30.Macquarie UniversityNSW

935,299,000

Note: This table is based on publicly available information

Table 47: The 30 charities with largest donations and bequests totals in Australia

No.Charity nameState or territory

Total donations and bequests ($)

1.World Vision AustraliaVIC

291,340,000

2.Minderoo Foundation GroupWA

266,410,388

3.Australian Red Cross SocietyVIC

146,220,000

4.Salvation Army - Social Work GroupVIC

139,480,000

5.Judith Neilson FoundationNSW

138,500,000

6.The Smith FamilyNSW

125,677,000

7.The Monash University FoundationVIC

116,000,000

8.The Trustee for McCall MacBain Foundation Australia TrustQLD

108,038,610

9.L.D.S. Charitable Trust FundNSW

104,867,491

10.Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia LimitedNSW

100,685,698

11.Cloudless Sunrise Health LimitedQLD

100,000,000

12.Compassion AustraliaNSW

98,009,023

13.The University of SydneyNSW

75,195,617

14.Noongar Boodja TrustNSW

75,059,680

15.Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation GroupNSW

74,721,569

16.The Sunrise Project Australia LimitedNSW

73,809,994

17.St Vincent’s Health Australia LtdNSW

72,954,305

18.The Fred Hollows FoundationNSW

72,400,000

19.University of Melbourne GroupVIC

71,176,000

20.The Trustee For Australian Philanthropic Services FoundationNSW

56,870,039

21.The University of Queensland GroupQLD

53,826,000

22.The Cancer Council NSWNSW

53,761,000

23.Susan McKinnon Research Centre LTDVIC

51,833,155

24.Monash UniversityQLD

51,083,000

25.The Royal Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals; New South WalesNSW

50,648,000

26.Australia For UNHCRNSW

50,344,202

27.University of NSW GroupNSW

50,035,000

28.Mercy Ministry Companions LtdVIC

50,000,000

29.Australian Committee For UNICEF LimitedNSW

48,611,657

30.La Trobe UniversityVIC

47,153,00

Note: This table is based on publicly available information