“TIME is money” might be a phrase uttered by the supposed bigwigs among us, but local charities and volunteer organisations have found people are increasingly stingy sharing the former.
A recent report by Roy Morgan found the number of people who donate cash to charities has plummeted in the last decade.
In March 2018, 61 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over reported giving to charity at least once over the past 12 months, a total of 12.3 million Australians.
This was a steep drop from the 70 per cent of Australians who donated in September, 2011, and the follow-up September, 2015 figure of 66 per cent.
The annual average amount given by donors has only increased marginally from $462 in 2011, to $469 in 2018.
Local charities belive people are still willing to donate when they feel the money is helping a local cause.
But there is a sense more people are crying poor when it comes to giving their time.
Tamworth State Emergency Service (SES) unit controller Jeremy Bridges said 95 per cent of volunteers in his branch worked full-time on top of volunteering.
“It waxes and wanes, but we’ve had a steady increase in volunteers that have joined, ” Mr Bridges said.
But compared to the size of the city of Tamworth, Mr Bridges suggested there was a need for a bigger base of helpers.
“The weather-events we have in the region can be quite severe, so we can get stretched,” he said.
“Everyone is very time-poor and busy with normal jobs to give up their time.”
He also said there were misconceptions and confusion in the community about the roles undertaken by the SES and there were more flexible pathways to volunteering in for the service.
“People like to have their own time and, what little time they have, choose to use it however they like,” he said.
“There’s people who didn’t understand we didn’t fight fight fires in the summer, that’s the Rural Fire Service, we do floods, storms and tsunamis and we can help police in land searches for people.
“There needs to be a bit of educating in terms of what we do.”
Serendipity Tamworth president Liney Manning said the cash would still flow for local causes.
“Some organisations have a lot of activities, like the Cancer Council and it’s necessary to have a lot of functions,” Mrs Manning said.
“They need that extra income to keep them going.
“Serendipity gives assistance on a much smaller basis, but we continue to get local support.
“We don’t have any admin costs and our overheads are minimal.”
She understood people were raising families and had “legitimate commitments” and it could be difficult for people to donate time.
“There’s generally a reluctance to put back into the community, but we’re understanding of the pressures on families and small businesses,” she said.
“We’re very mindful of community needs and what people are able to do, while not being judgemental and recognising things have changed.
“Things are getting bigger and harder to address.”
Roy Morgan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michele Levine said a drop off in donors had usually been offset by a rise in the amount donated; however, this wasn’t the case anymore.
“Unfortunately for charities across Australia, the pool of potential donors they compete for is shrinking quickly, and while historically this has been counterbalanced by increased dollars donated, this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” Ms Levine said.
“When it comes to charity spending, there are multiple indicators which can help charities understand changes in consumer behaviour, allowing them to refine their strategies and make the most of the generosity of over 12 million Australians who donated within the last 12 months.”