The most reputable charities in Australia are… 89



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At a time when Shane Warne’s charity is offering the “giving” industry a bad name, there is some light in the tunnel with the release of the Charity Reputation Index showing we should still have faith in the goodwill of mankind.

It’s good news to see that the Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor service (RFDS) has again confirmed its place as the country’s most reputable charity, ranking first in the 2015 Charity Reputation Index for the fifth year running.

The annual giving index showcases the reputation of strong charities and shows how they have moved in people’s reputation

Another well-loved charity, Guide Dogs also maintained its strong reputation, coming in second place for the second year running.

Other charities to fare well include the Fred Hollows Foundation which climbed two places to rank third overall this year, and Medecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders), which ranked fifth overall in the first year it has been included. Beyond Blue has also seen a steady improvement of its overall reputation; in 2012 it ranked 17th overall, and has strengthened its reputation each year since. This year, it ranks fourth overall.

The Charity Reputation Index surveys Australians to measure the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities and ranks them accordingly using a scoring system. The measurement also includes a range of dimensions such as Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management.

AMR’s Managing Director,the consultants behind the Index, Oliver Freedman said: “The results continue to show the immense trust Australians have for the charity sector as a whole across a breadth of causes. The top 5 charities now include those focused on the mental and physical well-being of individuals within Australia as well as across the globe. Freedman said the Royal Flying Doctor Service also ranked highly across the individual dimensions measured (Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management), coming first in all categories except leadership, where the Fred Hollows Foundation took line honours.

“The RFDS has now ranked first for the fifth year running. The consistent level of trust, admiration and respect highlights the emotional connection felt by Australians. Their reputation continues to be built on a broad foundation with the Royal Flying Doctor Service ranking first on six of the seven underlying reputation dimensions,” said Freedman. “What a terrific acknowledgement for our front line health and aviation staff. But the Flying Doctor is only as good as the clinical care given to the next patient seen by any of our health, dental, or mental health professionals,” Mr Laverty, RFDS CEO said in response to the RFDS being ranked Australia’s most reputable charity.

Several other leading charities improved their rankings this year; Starlight Children’s Foundation rose four places to rank 8th overall and Save the Children up 12 places to rank 24th overall. The Salvation Army increased from 27th to 17th but remains below its 2013 rank (10th).

WWF has broken into the Top 20, rising from 23rd last year to rank 18th overall this year. It is the first time an environmentally-focussed charity has ranked in the Top 20 since tracking started in 2012.

The Surf Life Saving Foundation dropped six places to fall outside the top 10 and rank 13th overall. Boystown and Greenpeace Australia Pacific were again seen as the charities with the weakest overall reputations, ranking 39th and 40th respectively – for the third year running. “While Greenpeace remains ranked 40th out of 40, another of the environmentally related charities WWF is showing an improvement. For the first time, we have an environmentally based Charity in the Top 20 and WWF has seen perceptions of its leadership and vision as well as its services and transparency improve significantly over the past four years,” said Freedman.

2015 Charity Reputation Index – overall results

Charity Name 2014 RANK 2015 RANK
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia 1 1
Guide Dogs 2 2
The Fred Hollows Foundation 5 3
Beyond Blue Ltd 9 4
Medecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders) 5
St John Ambulance 3 6
Camp Quality 6 7
Starlight Childrens Foundation 12 8
McGrath Foundation 8 9
National Breast Cancer Foundation 4 10
Cancer Council Australia 10 11
Australian Red Cross Society 11 12
Surf Life Saving Foundation 7 13
Diabetes Australia 16 14
National Heart Foundation of Australia 20 15
RSPCA 15 16
The Salvation Army 27 17
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 23 18
St Vincent de Paul Society 18 19
The Smith Family 24 20
Wesley Mission 28 21
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) 21 22
Barnardos Australia 29 23
Save the Children Australia 36 24
Australian Conservation Foundation 31 25
Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Formerly The Spastic Centre of New South Wales) 19 26
Multiple Sclerosis Ltd 25 27
ChildFund Australia 38 28
Vision Australia Ltd 22 29
Oxfam Australia 17 30
UNICEF Australia 26 31
The Wilderness Society 35 32
Plan Australia 33
World Vision Australia 30 34
CARE Australia 34 35
Compassion Australia 33 36
Amnesty International Australia 32 37
Mission Australia 37 38
BoysTown 39 39
Greenpeace Australia Pacific 40 40

Do you give to charity?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Yes, I give a lot to charity and I am a pensioner. My main donation is to the Ipswich Hospice where my sister was cared for so lovingly in her final days.

  2. I mainly support charities that help prisoners, and especially the families of prisoners, who are often doing it tougher on the outside than the family member who is incarcerated. I’ve been a prison chaplain, and have seen first-hand what a positive difference these charities make.

    2 REPLY
    • Great job Aileen and some would need your help that’s for sure. Id hate to be locked away form my loved ones. Thanks for giving your support.

    • Prison Fellowship, and Second Chances(SA) do a wonderful job especially for the children of prisoners, with camps, mentoring and Christmas gifts. Well worth supporting.

  3. It is very interesting that two community groups Lions and Rotary are not mentioned because they are not Charities and yet they do more humanitarian work worldwide than all the others put together. And at NO COST administratively.

  4. Interesting to see that MSF is the only ‘internationally involved’ charity in the top 10 or so. Although we must not forget our obligations to developing countries, it seems we are being more supportive of ‘in country’ charities and recognising the great work that they do.

    1 REPLY
  5. I mainly give to animal charities like PETA, RSPCA and a lady who collects food for all the animals she rescues because people who love animals usually don’t cheat the animals and spend the money on fancy dinners.

    1 REPLY
    • Not sure about PETA or RSPCA. Both do a lot of TV advertising which is not cheap and they also have a large paid staff. i would prefer to buy & then donate food to animal shelters.

  6. Volunteer bush fire brigade in our area. Not a charity but very deserving of recognition. Yes RFDS support them

  7. As an after thought my husband and I went to a charity fundraiser for the Salvos last Friday night. The evening raised $17,000. Not a bad effort for a country town. The Salvos do some wonderful work with schools in our local community.

  8. I would like to see high wealth individuals (say income over $1 million) compelled to donate 5% of their income to charity (of their choice), Where this was not done, the money could be deducted through the tax system, and given to charities on a government list (St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army) We do not have a culture of philanthropy in Australia and perhaps we need to build one, rather than just rely on our social security system.

    9 REPLY
    • To donate means to give willingly. An enforced “donation” is just another tax. I think you will find that many high wealth people give very generously, they just don’t advertise it .

    • If they do already give generously, then they will not pay what would certainly be a new tax. Research shows that the rich in Australia do not contribute to charities. They avoid tax saying that the government misuses the money. Then use their own initiative and spend the charity money they way they want to.

    • Nothing you have stated Noel is based on facts. The high wealth sector in Australia is actually the most philanthropic in the world. They don’t need to make public donations to make you happy – most run their own charitable trusts that support charities across Australia.
      Interesting that the article above only uses a “reputation list” to quote from when it could in fact have utilised the Charities Register on that lists every registered charity in Australia including their constitutions and their financials.

    • Nothing you have stated Noel is based on facts. The high wealth sector in Australia is actually the most philanthropic in the world. They don’t need to make public donations to make you happy – most run their own charitable trusts that support charities across Australia.
      Interesting that the article above only uses a “reputation list” to quote from when it could in fact have utilised the Charities Register on that lists every registered charity in Australia including their constitutions and their financials.

    • Last time I looked we were living in a reasonably free country . How dare we think it’s ok to force someone with high earning to donate a portion of their wages . This money is theirs , often worked very hard for . To suggest the government FORCE people to donate a % of wages is basically communism .
      It is up to individuals to donate as they wish or not .

    • Now THAT is one stupid idea HOW ABOUT ALL BUSINESSES CHARGE REASONABLE PRICES FOR THEIR GOODS AND SERVICES 10 minutes and 3 fillings later and my dentist was $275.00 richer last week. Nd Ergon will be $700.00 richer when I pay my a/c this week plus Elgas will be $545.00 richer lower prices MEANS RICHER POOR PEOPLE.

    • I totally agree Noel, and if they have donated and remain very wealthy then they haven’t given sufficiently. From each according to their means, to each according to their needs, easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle etc

    • Gaye Cruickshank Charity does mean to give voluntarily but we live in difficult times. Private Health Insurance was once just that – you choose to pay more and take out insurance so that you could get into a private (better) hospital. BUT now those on high incomes are forced to pay for this insurance, or the equivalent of the insurance cover is taken from their salary of additional tax. Only 32.76% pf CEO’s made any charitable donations – donating only 1.04% of their income. Even the lowly paid personal care givers donated more than this (some 36% giving). It is true that these figures are based on taxation returns but I find it hard to believe that CEOs who scam the tax system so much choose to pay more tax by not declaring donatins.

    • Karina Karina You may know personally one or two high wealth individuals who are generous. However, my comments are very much based on fact. The higher one’s income the less likely they are to donate to charity. Only 32.76% of CEOs made any charitable donations at all. This compares with 45.54% of clerks and even 36.36% of the lowest paid workers – personal carers. And donations by CEOs were lass than generous, averaging only 1.04% of their incomes. These figures have been taken from QUT research using data from tax returns. There are two years out of date. But I suggest that few CEOs who so aggressively minimise their tax would choose to donate and not claim the tax deduction. It is also unlikely that COEs have suddenly been overtaken by a fit of generousity.

  9. One of the problems with some charities is that they bombard you with phone calls and letters once you show an interest. Sometimes they become very aggressive in their demands. I’m not sure what can be done re this as it tends to turn me off that charity even if they are reputable and worthy of support.

    1 REPLY
  10. The gift of giving to these worthwhile charities is a noble thing for a person to do.

    My only issue with many of these charities is that a large portion of ones donation goes in administrative costs. I do not begrudge people being well paid for their job in administrating the collection and processing of these donations but I often wonder how much of my donation will actually reach the ground to the person in need.

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