How many Australian charities are working internationally?

charities report

For those in development, it is not hard to rattle off the names of the big gun NGOs in our sector.

But what about all those small charities out there, working with a specific community or on a niche topic? Are there hundreds of them, or thousands? And where are they sending their cash?

A new report [pdf] released this week from the Curtin University Not-for-profit Initiative gives us some insight into the scale and profile of the Australian charity sector, including those organisations sending money or working overseas.

The report, which bills itself as the first comprehensive report on charities in Australia, is based off the Annual Information Statements submitted to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for the 2013 financial year. It has been supplemented with 2012-13 data from the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Business Register, with a total sample size of 38,341 charities.

The report tells us the following:

Charities could indicate that they were involved with countries outside of Australia in three ways; by nominating ‘international activities’ as one of their activities, by nominating ‘communities overseas’ as one of their beneficiaries, or by advising that they operate outside of Australia.

In total, 6,476 charities or 17% of all reporting charities indicated they were involved in some way internationally. This could include sending donations or other aid or more active involvement.

… 2,402 (6%) specifically reported one or more country outside Australia where they were active and most of these are developing countries.

The countries where these charities work are listed in the table below:

From the above, we can see that countries in our region fare best (though some developed countries are also receiving similar attention, a reminder that not all of the charities working overseas are involved in aid and development work). Uganda and Kenya are the African countries …read more

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