ACPNS/FIA Alumni Anniversary Breakfast – Oh what a day!

The Broncos Leagues Club played host to this morning’s ACPNS/FIA Alumni Anniversary Breakfast and what a morning it was! 

The breakfast brought together three Millennials, from academia, fundraising and philanthropy to share their experiences with engaging Millennials.

Marie Balczun, Senior Research Assistant at ACPNS presented some key data from Giving Australia 2016 including millennials’ lack of differences with non-Millennials in terms of motivations and cause areas for giving and volunteering. She explained how the differences that do exist are much more to do with age, life stage and capacity to give and volunteer than some fundamental difference with this generation. She also showed how traditional methods of fundraising are not reaching Millennials and the importance of online giving in the future. “Online giving is not going away and it is no longer a Millennial specific issue. Our data showed that non-Millennials were actually more likely to give via mobile devices than Millennials when they gave via the organisation’s website.” She highlighted that organisations need to give opportunities for Millennials to participate in ways that appeal to them – giving online, supporting on social media and providing time-specific volunteering opportunities. “Millennials can be very loyal but this is to a cause, not an organisation”, she said.

Queensland young fundraiser of the year, Will Kirsop, highlighted the importance of thinking about Millennials as employees, not just donors. “Millennial employees are looking for purpose in their work, flexibility feedback.” In terms of donors, Will stressed that “you need to communicate the impact of your work, target your message and innovate to deepen your relationships with Millennials”.

Finally, Prue Pateras of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation discussed the role of peers and collective giving for high-net-worth Millennials. “Impact investing and collective giving are becoming increasingly important and relevant to many givers, millennials included. Millennials are expecting more from charities and want to see them stepping away from reliance on single funding streams and becoming more innovative and creative in the way they engage funders.”

View Marie Balczun’s the Giving Australia 2016 slide presentation

View Will Kirsop’s slide presentation

View Prue Pateras’ slide presentation

Download the Giving Australia reports and factsheets

Stay tuned for some more key takeaways from the breakfast!

ACPNS HDR students win big!

We have two ACPNS champions to celebrate this week!

Students, Alexandra Williamson and Kylie Kingston won best abstract awards for their papers at the School of Accountancy Higher Degree Research Colloqium held on 1 November 2017.

Have a read of each winner’s abstract below.



An exploration of evaluation as a mechanism for enhancing participation and accountability in not-for-profit organisations by Kylie Kingston

Traditional constructions of accounting and accountability, which are typically embedded in neoliberal logics, privilege the needs of some stakeholder groups ahead of others, and therefore are contributory factors for societal inequalities. From within a critical epistemological position, this research challenges the dominant economic ideology with an aim of creating social change.

Informed by theories of agonistic democracy, dialogic accounting, and transformative participatory evaluation, the motivation of this research is to support the empowerment of marginalised groups by developing participatory evaluation frameworks, for use within not-for-profit organisations. In doing so, service delivery will be strengthened, social justice promoted, and accountability to the beneficiaries of the service increased.

Qualitative case-studies of two not-for-profit organisations will provide the context to explore current practices of beneficiary involvement within accountability and evaluation processes. Data sources will include interviews with three stakeholder groups (board, staff and beneficiaries), secondary data from publicly available documents and publicly available data concerning the legislative environment, of each case. Based upon the analysis and findings, an evaluation framework to be used by the organisation, will be drafted. Beneficiaries will also have a forum to provide feedback upon the draft.

The development of an evaluation framework aimed at giving voice to beneficiaries and increasing accountability to them, has potential societal and practical impacts through the formation of the instrument, the improvement of organisational performance, and the empowerment of beneficiaries through participation within decision-making processes. The research will also contribute to theory development through extending literature on dialogic accounting, accountability and evaluation.


The accountability of public philanthropic foundations by Alexandra Williamson

Accountability, particularly through transparency, is currently of great interest in philanthropy with a focus on best practices, measures and standards.  This paper explores the phenomenon of nonprofit accountability in the context of Public Ancillary Funds (PubAFs).  PubAFs are interesting entities to examine as they share a legal form, but vary widely in internal factors such as mission and identity; and balance their accountability to external stakeholders including donors and beneficiaries.

Nonprofit organisations including PubAFs receive tax exemptions and concessions, and are thus ‘subsidised’ by taxpayers.  Accountability sharpens nonprofits’ focus by enhancing effectiveness and impact, and reducing the risk of scandals and loss of public trust.  However, while PubAFs are regulated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and the Australian Taxation Office, other forms of their accountability have been assumed rather than systematically explored.

Using a primarily qualitative approach, relationships between stakeholders, identity, and accountability are examined through Mashaw’s (2006) and Ebrahim’s (2010) frameworks of nonprofit accountability. The unit of analysis is the organisation, with interviews with managers providing perspectives of PubAFs.

Preliminary findings reveal a strong focus on future sustainability.  PubAFs that support a single organisation exist in a symbiotic relationship with a shared mission yet different aims.  Those supporting cause areas or geographic communities are accountable to mission through the agency of donors.   Organisations with a religious auspice interweave accountability closely with their faith.  The theoretical contribution will be the extension and refinement of nonprofit accountability theory through a typology of relationships and forms of accountability in PubAFs.


Congratulations Kylie and Alexandra!

Watch these fab Giving Australia webinars!

Data coming out of Giving Australia – the largest ever research effort into philanthropic behaviour to understand how, why and how much Australians give to charity – is the basis of a series of webinars being held to inform businesses, nonprofits and individuals across Australia.

If you haven’t already subscribed to the Giving Australia blog, you can do so today. You’ll receive updates and notifications of report releases, as well as the details of upcoming webinars. In the meantime, have a listen to the first two webinars in the series:

Giving and philanthropy: How does Qld measure up? | 16 June 2017

Business giving and volunteering | 26 October 2017


Subscribe to the Giving Australia blog

Don’t miss this year’s ACPNS / FIA Alumni Anniversary Breakfast, 14 Nov

Understanding Millennials’ attitude to giving  

Gen Ys – also known as Millennials – are all grown up; they’re smart, they’re self-aware and they have a social conscience. So if you’re a fundraiser, you ignore them at your peril.


Get inside the mind of Gen Ys; what do they care about? What makes them tick and what ticks them off? What fundraising vehicles appeal to them and, in a world of social media, celebrities, and a whole lot of selfies, how do YOU grab their attention? And why’s it so important that you do?

Starting with data from Giving Australia 2016, (the largest research effort into philanthropic behaviour ever undertaken in Australia), and moving onto the young philanthropists’ and young fundraisers’ views, this event will bring you up-to-the-minute on how Gen Ys are changing the face of philanthropy across the country – and shaping the way fundraisers will be doing business for years to come. Be one of the first to hear the data that’s changing fundraising and get the know-how on fundraising campaigns that are working.

Speakers include:

  • Marie Balczun, Senior Research Assistant at QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
  • Prue Pateras, Trustee at The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation; and
  • Will Kirsop, General Manager at CauseForce

 The event is always a sell-out occasion so book early to avoid disappointment!

Date   |  Tuesday 14 November, 2017 
Time  |  7.00am for a 7.15am start  / 9.00am finish
Venue  |  Broncos Leagues Club / 98 Fulcher Rd, Red Hill

Cost  |  FIA Member $55  /  ACPNS Alumni/Students $55  /  Staff of Organisational Member $65  /  Non-Member $85


Australia’s wealthy make biggest contribution to giving

Deductible gifts recorded in individual taxpayer’s returns have broken through $3.1 billion in 2014‑15 (compared to $2.6 billion in the previous year). This constitutes a 15% increase or $464 million from the previous income year.

Where did this growth come from?

Australia’s wealthy are making the biggest contribution to giving

It was the income wealthy that made the biggest contribution. Those with a taxable income over $1 million in 2014–15 claimed average tax-deductible donations of $98,324.68 (up from $51,978.72 in previous year). This group now represents 21.1% of all tax-deductible donations being a total of $649.93m. Those in income levels immediately below the million dollar band have also had significant increases in donations. The median (the middle number when all values are aligned in numerical order) for those with over $180,000 taxable income making donations was $550 for females and $421 for males. This indicates that there may have been a few individuals claiming significant gift deductions.

Over 40% of taxpayers with over a million dollars in taxable income did not claim a gift deduction and with slightly more not claiming who had taxable incomes over $250,000.

While the higher income brackets have increased their amount given following the GFC downfall, the lower income brackets have flatlined. 

Hang-on Giving Australia didn’t show this increase of giving?

In 2016, the second Giving Australia project was conducted, examining giving and volunteering behaviours from 6,201 adult Australians. An estimated 14.9 million Australian adults (80.8%) donated $11.2 billion to charities and nonprofit organisations (NPOs) over 12 months in 2015–16. The average donation was $764.08 and median donation $200.

Some of the differences are:

  • This study goes beyond taxpayers to all Australians and by definition will return a more comprehensive review of giving (not just giving to DGRs) but, because of sampling, lacks the accuracy of the ATO returns where all taxpayers are obliged to file a return and accurately disclose their deductible gifts.
  • This study was over a year later than this ATO data, a different time with different economic and fundraising conditions.

Some considerations

If we take the ATO figures at face value can they be reconciled? Some of the possible explanations could be:

  • While overall giving may fluctuate, it may be that donors are claiming more of their giving as tax deductions.
    • Some of the the drivers for such behaviour may be:
      • Tight economic conditions driving donors to seek savings in giving through a tax deduction; and
      • Giving through internet portals and workplace giving are rising and these tend to provide a convenient and timely consolidated tax receipt at tax year end prompting more donors to claim previously unclaimed donations.
    • The impact of those in the upper income bands may not be caught by other survey methods (e.g. telephone or credit card) and thus not included in the Giving Australia analysis (and other surveys). It is reasonable to assume that a significant amount of the donations from the wealthy are placed in ancillary foundations and yet to be fully distributed to the sector.


Australian gift deductions takes a great leap forward

Australians are claiming their gifts to charity on tax more than ever, with a total of $3.1 billion donated in the 2014-15 financial year – a 15 per cent increase, or $464 million, on the previous year.

The annual report produced by ACPNS, analysed Australian Taxation Office statistics on tax-deductible giving for the period and discovered the total tax-deductible donations made by Australians far exceed inflation.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • 57 million Australian taxpayers claimed deductible gifts in 2014-2015, with the average donation $674.14, an increase of 17.11 per cent from 2013-2014
  • Queensland was third behind NSW and Victoria with $382.42 million in total deductible gifts but was the third lowest (behind Victoria, NSW, ACT, Tasmania and SA) in relation to the percentage of their taxable income donated – 0.26 per cent compared to the national average of 0.40 per cent
  • Overall, 31.84 per cent of Queenslanders claimed charitable tax-deductions, while the national average was 34.58 per cent.
  • Average Queensland donation was $458.07 (National average $674.14)
  • Women gave a higher proportion of their income than men but men gave more overall
  • The more people earn, the more they claim as tax-deductible donations while the median amount donated by men and women rises with age
  • Judges, Magistrates, Members of Parliament and medical professionals claimed the highest median tax-deductible donations of all professions
  • The Victorian suburbs of Hawksburn, Toorak (postcode 3142) topped the country giving over $100 million
  • Taxpayers in Ascot, Hamilton Central and Hamilton gave the most overall in Queensland while those in Eagle Farm claimed the largest average deductible gift in the state
  • Find out how much your suburb and occupation give here

ACPNS Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes said more than 200,000 taxpayers with an income over $180,000 had contributed nearly $1,187 million which accounted for much of the growth in the period.

“However just over a half of taxpayers in the $180,000-plus income bracket claimed a donation,” Professor McGregor-Lowndes said.

The ACPNS tax-deductible giving report, containing analysis of tax-deductible giving by postcode, gender, state and occupation, is available online:

Media contact:

Amanda Weaver, QUT Media, 07 3138 3151,

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901,


Have a heart for helping people? This scholarship could be for you!

ACPNS has just launched a new half scholarship to assist students undertaking business courses with the Centre. Could YOU be the first beneficiary?

The Myles McGregor-Lowndes Student Scholarship was established in tribute to ACPNS’ founder, Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes and covers half the cost of the core units of the Graduate Certificate in Business or Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies). It aims to continue Myles’ vision of fostering tomorrow’s community leaders and will be offered from 2018 onwards.

ACPNS was founded in 2001 and is the result of Myles’ vision and his 35+ years of distinguished academic and community service in the nonprofit sector. ACPNS is recognised as a dynamic education leader both here and overseas and its business courses are internationally regarded as being among the best. This half scholarship provides and ongoing legacy and fitting reminder of all Myles accomplished over his career.

You can find out more about this half scholarship and/or ACPNS courses by emailing or calling the Centre on 07 3138 1020.

A full list of scholarships and bursaries available to ACPNS students can be found here. 

Are you in a position to contribute? 

By donating to this fund you too will be part of honoring Myles in the most fitting and personal way possible; that of continuing to foster and support tomorrow’s community leaders. This is a great way to thank Myles for his huge contribution to Australia’s community sector.

Myles himself put in the first $5000 to establish this scholarship and since then many in the sector and at QUT have also donated. Meeting the target of $100,000 means the scholarship will benefit ACPNS students for the next decade or more.

Thank you in advance for your generous support and tribute.


Simply choose Myles McGregor-Lowndes Scholarship from the drop-down box and donate.

Digital Impact Conference; a HUGE success!

Who knew data could ignite such debate and emotion? Well, the speakers and attendees at Saturday’s Digital Impact Conference for starters…

The hugely successful Digital Impact Conference, presented by Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and ACPNS, brought together industry, government, nonprofits and peak bodies to discuss how technology is currently affecting civil society and how it will continue to in the years to come.

Key areas included the varying possibilities created by digital data and infrastructure for working across sectors and the demands that these relationships entail; an exploration of examples from indigenous communities across Australia that have built digital archives and cultural resources that align with and respect their longstanding information management practices; a round of presentations from sector leaders highlighting emerging and innovative organisational forms, collaborations and governance models enabled by digital data; and the role of bias in data and algorithms, strategies for addressing these biases and the broader implications for civil society.

Links to video recordings of the sessions and interviews with speakers will be available soon via Stanford’s site at

And watch this space as well; posts from key speakers and experts on digital data will soon be available via this blog. In the meantime, we welcome your questions and views and encourage you to post via the Reply link.

Professor Emeritus Myles McGregor-Lowndes

On 20 August 2017, ACPNS’ founding director Myles McGregor-Lowndes was recognised for his distinguished, important and longstanding contribution to QUT over 35 years with the title of Professor Emeritus.

In recognition of outstanding academic service, Council may choose to confer the title of Professor Emeritus on professors who are retiring from the University.

In considering awarding the title of Professor Emeritus, Council will normally take into account:

  • the Professor’s distinguished service to QUT by reference to intellectual and scholarly contributions and leadership
  • the length of QUT service, in all levels
  • any other factors relevant to the Professor’s service to QUT which may be appropriate to the recognition of distinguished service.

Myles McGregor-Lowndes joined QUT in 1982, advancing to Professor in 2002. He is the Founding Director of The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies (ACPNS), which has built a strong national and international reputation for teaching, research and impact on practice, Professor McGregor-Lowndes has written extensively on non-profit tax and regulation, non-profit legal entities, government grants and standard charts of accounts as a means of reducing the compliance burden.

Professor McGregor-Lowndes is a founding member of the Australian Taxation Office Charities Consultative Committee and the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission Advisory Board and, in June 2003, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to the community by providing education and support in legal, financial and administrative matters to non-profit organisations.”

Professor McGregor-Lowndes’ contribution to the Australian and international non-profit sector has been extensive and enduring. His research contributes significantly not only to the academy but also to policy makers and the non-profit and philanthropy sectors. His contribution to the creation of a National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) for the sector extended the non-profit accounting knowledge base, provided significant savings for the sector and reduced red tape, resulting unanimous adoption of NSCOA by the Council of Australian Governments.

Myles McGregor-Lowndes also has provided compelling evidence to Australia’s judiciary on decisions made when families challenge charitable bequests, and has presented his research by invitation from governments in a range of countries including New Zealand, China, Korea and Canada.

Advisory tools emanating from the research of Professor McGregor-Lowndes and the ACPNS are used extensively in the sector. Among the significant government and sector committees that have sought a particular contribution from Professor McGregor-Lowndes are the Productivity Commission, the Advisory Board for the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission, and the Australian Tax Office’s Charities Consultative Committee.

Myles McGregor-Lowndes’ latest book Charity Regulation – the Inside Story (co-edited with CEO of Canada’s Muttart Foundation Robert Wyatt) brings together for the first time the main actors in charity regulation internationally in order to guide policy makers, public administrators and the third sector towards possible future regulatory paths.

Congratulations Myles!

Digital Impact: What Australia’s philanthropy and nonprofit sectors REALLY need to know

Would you like to know more about how technology will affect your organisation and sector? Would you like to hear what the leaders in this area from Stanford University have learned so you can feed it into what your organisation is doing? Late this month there is the chance to have your say and hear from international and Australian leaders.


If you want to be more confident about your strategy – or know just where to start in this complex area, this day is important for you.

29 July, 2017 | EY Lvl 51, 111 Eagle St, Brisbane


Digital Impact is a one-day forum never before offered in Australia about leveraging the digital revolution to benefit Australia’s philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. The goals are to:

  • link Australian NPOs and foundations into a new international movement – and position our sector to take advantage of emerging data practices
  • learn from what nonprofit and philanthropy sectors are doing elsewhere
  • share outstanding examples of what some Australian and other nonprofit organisations (NPOs) are doing
  • spotlight existing resources not widely known across the sector, and
  • consider issues and ideas for policy and ongoing action.

It is designed to cover the basics plus extend what you know – whether you are a technology novice or more experienced.

International leaders in this area, The Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University’s Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society are delivering this forum in 10 locations around the world. QUT’s ACPNS has worked with the well known Lucy Bernholz and her team to bring  Australia into this global program. EY is providing a great venue and a range of sector supporters, such as the Department of Social Services, the Community Services Industry Alliance and its members, and QUT’s Institute for Future Environments are working together to gather attendees from across the country and Australian speakers to add to the international expertise. This is intentionally cross-sector – nonprofit, philanthropy, government, industry – to focus on the issues and possibilities.

One of the most important questions facing all sizes and types of NPOs worldwide today is how technology can support their work for the community. Australian nonprofits

spend half of what for-profit organisations do on technology training for their staff, are not prioritising technology and yet need it urgently. Disruption is already hitting organisations – and offering new opportunities.

This forum aims to enable the sector to benefit from and maximise nonprofit impact in the digital age.


Date:                 Saturday 29 July, 2017
Time:                 8:30am for a 9:00am start / 5:00pm conclusion
Venue:               EY | Level 51, 111 Eagle St, Brisbane
Cost:                  AU$120

(includes full day catering and subsidised by caring organisations who really want to see this meeting happen in Australia)

Space genuinely is limited. Register early to avoid disappointment.
Thanks again to the many supporters who have subsidised the event to made this as low cost as possible and accessible across the sector.