AIGM home  |  Our Community  |  About Us  | 
AIGM logo Australian Institute of Grants Management An enterprise

Forum    Login   Join


ACNC's grant study reveals big surprises

Australian grantmaking charities provide more than $4 billion annually in grants and donations, and hold more than $56 billion in assets, according to new research.

Australia's Grant-making Charities in 2016, a sub-report of the Australian Charities Report 2016, was produced by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

The report assessed the activities of 10,398 grant-making charities in the 2016 reporting period. It was released by ACNC Commissioner Gary Johns on March 14.

Our Community executive director Kathy Richardson said the report provided a great supplement to the work undertaken by Our Community over many years to analyse and report on the funding trends of government, philanthropic, corporate and community grantmakers.

Kathy Richardson

Our Community executive director Kathy Richardson

"Through our analysis of grants data flowing through our Funding Centre and SmartyGrants platforms, as well as our annual Grants in Australia survey, we now know so much more about the movement of grant funds than we did a decade ago," Kathy said.

"This report represents another giant leap forward. It's fantastic to see the data that charities are providing to the ACNC being set free so that we can all learn from it and hopefully use it to make grant dollars go a little further in future."

Kathy said some of the data in the ACNC report was unexpected.

"I was surprised to learn that there are more than 10,000 charities that carry out grantmaking activities in Australia - that's a fifth of all charities!

"We know there's a lot of money being distributed in grants around Australia - we estimate at least $56 billion a year from all sources, the lion's share of that from government - but we didn't know there were that many charities in the mix.

"Some other stats in the report indicate to me that many grantmaking charities are operating well below the radar. For example, 36% reported giving a majority of their grants for capacity building, rather than project-based funding. That will be surprising to many grantseekers whose major complaint is that too few grantmakers provide funds for core costs."

The ACNC report revealed that only 35% of grantmaking charities use an open application process.

"I'd love to know more about these organisations - it's in everyone's interests to know how grantmakers make decisions about who to fund," Kathy said.

The ACNC report can be downloaded from, while information about Our Community's Grants in Australia survey can be found at

Grantmaking in Australia conference 2018

The 2018 Grantmaking in Australia Conference will connect you with the people who have stared down the challenges and give you the confidence you need to take one small step for your organisation, towards one giant leap for humankind.

Prepare for impact: Suit up, strap and count down for better grantmaking. Save the date for our conference now.

How are you measuring your social impact?

There are some big players in the world of social impact reporting, with think tanks and technology companies vying to solve one of the toughest problems we face: how can organisations measure their social worth?

Are you measuring what matters?

This is a new data-driven era, and if you claim that your grants programs have had an impact, you have to back those claims with data. Anecdotes aren't good enough.

Meet the trainer: Gina Cirillo

How our SmartyGrants trainer can "save your (grantmaking) life".