Small Charities Deliver Massive Community Value

By Andrew Heaton

(image of Dimond Creek Mens Shed via Bendigo Bank)

Small charities throughout Australia deliver significant value to local communities, the latest report has found.

In its latest report published in coordination with the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission analysed data for extra small charities based upon the Annual Information Statement which these charities submit each year and looked at a number of case studies demonstrating how these charities delivered strong community value.

According to the report:

  • Extra small charities (those with an annual income of less than $50,000) numbered around 19,000 and accounted for 37 percent of all registered charities in Australia.
  • More than two third of extra small charities were run by volunteers only, against a portion of 39 percent for all charities.
  • Compared with larger peers, extra small charities were less dependent upon government grants and more dependent upon donations. In 2015, extra small charities received just 5.7 percent of their income from government grants (against 41.4 percent for all charities) but received 38 percent of their income through bequests and donations (against 8.8 percent for all charities).

Through the case studies, the Commission highlighted the impact associated with some of these charities.

The Diamond Creek Mens Shed in Melbourne’s north-east, for example, conducts a range of activities including bike riding groups, woodworking programs and regular days out for its members – most of whom are retired and looking for friendships with those of similar age.

Arguably its most important function, however, is its Tuesday lunches which create a safe and trusting environment for men and encourage conversations about issues which impact their personal lives or health.

Another charity known as the Brave Foundation supports teenage parents and those teenagers who are set to become parents.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said the report demonstrated the value of extra-small charities within the Australian community.

“These charities in particular often provide more specialised, locally-focused services – and those communities appreciate their hard work and dedication,” Pascoe said.

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