Are events the new philanthropy driver?

The twice yearly NAB charitable giving index was recently released, showing that Australians again increased their overall charitable giving by 6.5% for the year to February 2016.

The report notes that factors such as, “…a resilient economy, strong employment growth…and lower levels of consumer anxiety helped support the charity sector and the ongoing generosity of Australians.”. It’s always welcome to see Australians continuing to increase our charitable giving, particularly with recent media reports of the widening income inequality in our country. There is no doubt that fundraising events remain a major contributor to that increase in giving. The variety of events available that charities are aligned with, or running themselves, continues to grow and this benefits our society by providing ways for people to give.

Fundraising events are a way for people to engage with charities at arm’s length via the event itself rather than with the core purpose of the charity. e.g. I’d be no good at doing the science required to actually find a cure for cancer, but I can sponsor a friend doing a bike ride for the Cancer Council and feel engaged with the work in finding a cure.

For most people this is better than a straight donation because it personalises our philanthropy, and stimulates us to engage others in doing the same. It is that level of third party engagement through events that spreads charity reach wider than just their straight up donors and contributes so positively to ongoing increases in charitable giving.

Fortunately, the events market is healthy and growing, with new and interesting events continually emerging. The more of these that are linked with charities the better for our charitable giving, the better for the success of the event, and the better for our society.

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