Perpetual’s 2021 Australian Philanthropy Insights Report


Perpetual Private Insights

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Each year, Perpetual gives not-for-profit (NFP) organisations the chance to apply for funding through our IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP). In the 2021 financial year, the generosity of our clients saw $22.6 million distributed through this process. 

In FY21, Perpetual clients distributed more than $102 million – in total - to the charitable sector.

This year’s IPAP round received over 1500 applications from around 1000 organisations. More than 140 charitable foundations and endowments committed their funds to the process. As a result, the IPAP process is a rich source of data about the trends that are influencing both NFPS and philanthropists.

We've pulled all this data - plus in-depth insights from our philanthropy team – into a report on Australian philanthropy in 2021

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The report covers a wide cross-section of issues – everything from funding and revenue raising, future risks and alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Here are some highlights.

Short-term crises, long-term thinking 

In 2021, COVID-19 dominated the thinking both of NFP leaders and of philanthropists. We saw a real commitment to adapting to the needs of our communities in a time of crisis. But COVID-19 won’t be the last urgent test the sector faces. 

“For all of us in the sector, the lesson from COVID-19 is that we need long-run funding and long-run thinking,” says Jane Magor, Perpetual Private’s National Manager of Philanthropy. “To invest in programs that focus on underlying issues and prevention. And to create a more resilient community sector.”

Where’s the money coming from?

Due to the impact of the 2020/21 pandemic – and associated lockdowns - the trends in NFP revenue have shifted sharply. Some of the key points are as follows.
  • Government funding is at its lowest level in four years. 
  • Corporate sponsorship has dropped over the past two years.
  • Enforced dividend cuts and a low-interest rate environment reduced  the investment contribution to NFP coffers. 
  • Some of this fall has been offset by inflow from philanthropic trusts and direct donations. 

With event income down and likely to stay down due to the lingering fears and unpredictability caused by COVID-19 and lockdowns, digital fundraising will become increasingly important. Digital skills will be at a premium – but organisations will also need to manage some of the risks and challenges associated with digital fundraising. 

Where the money went in 2021


funding per sector

2022 challenges 

Through the IPAP process, we ask NFPs to identify some of the risks and challenges their organisations are focused on. 



Now what?

“NFPs have been dealing with immediate COVID-19 effects for nearly two years,” says Caitriona Fay, Managing Partner, Community and Social Investment at Perpetual Private. 

“From 2022, they’ll be managing longer running issues such as youth mental health, the educational disadvantages caused by school closures and the hollowing out of small business in regions hard-hit by COVID-19, lockdowns and closed borders. Where possible, government, corporate sponsors and philanthropists may need to switch their focus, funding and support towards these issues.”

2021 Australian Philanthropy Snapshot

If you'd like to see more of our 2021 Australian philanthropy snapshot - more on the funding trends, NFPs employing a gender lens, or focusing on indigenous-led organisations - why not download the report? And get in touch with Perpetual if you have any questions.;

Download Report

More information on IPAP

You can find more about applying for funding through Perpetual’s IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program in this article. It features resources designed to help organisations apply more successfully.

Perpetual Philanthropic Services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo), ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This publication has been prepared by PTCo and may contain information contributed by third parties. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with advice or take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided by PTCo in good faith. You should consider, with a financial adviser, who can provide you with the relevant Financial Services Guide, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage because of any reliance on this information. PTCo does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any wording in this document which was contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this document are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.