Donations to charities in Austria again hit record levels in 2021 and 2022, but Fundraising Verband Austria has warned that momentum is unlikely to continue into 2023.
FVA’s latest annual Donation Report (Spendenbericht) finds that donations for 2021 reached €870m, up from €810m in 2020. This figure has risen every year since 2017. The report, published in late 2022, also estimates that donations for that year will again rise, to €900m.
The majority (80%) of the 2021 donations were from private individuals, with charitable foundations accounting for another 10%, and the final 10% coming from businesses.
Causes relating to animals, children, the environment and social affairs all experienced significant increases in donations in 2021 – and children and animals were also the most popular causes overall. Fundraising by international development organisations dropped by 5% or €8.5m versus 2020, although more than €100m was donated to alleviate the suffering in Ukraine in the first two months of 2022.
The Spendenbericht shows that the two organisations receiving the most donations in 2021 were the Austrian Red Cross (€88.5m, up from €85m in 2020) and Caritas Austria (€88.2m, up from €80.8m in 2020). SOS Children’s Villages (€49.9m) and Doctors without Borders (€27.4m) were the only others receiving more than €20m in the year.
FVA also finds that approximately 67% of Austrians (aged over 15) donated to charity in 2021. This figure drops to 59% in the country’s southern states of Carinthia and Styria, although average donation amounts are higher here. Meanwhile, 73% of those in Burgenland and Lower Austria made a donation, but average donations were lower.
Legal changes needed
In his introduction to the report, FVA chief executive Günther Lutschinger suggests that inflation is likely to make it harder for people to donate in 2023, saying:
“Forecasts suggest that in 2023, nonprofit organisations will face a fundraising decline for the first time in many years. The federal government could significantly alleviate this by improving the laws around charitable donations.
“There is an absurd situation right now in which donations to protecting wild animals or furthering education in other countries are tax-exempt, but protecting domestic animals or supporting struggling schools in Austria is not, while human rights causes are also largely excluded from tax incentives.”
FVA also argues that the operating environment and legal framework for charitable foundations is much less favourable in Austria than is the case in neighbouring Germany and Switzerland. It is calling on politicians to address these issues in order to maintain the health of the sector in 2023.
Picture by Pixabay on Pexels
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