Panel Abstract

The Political Preferences of Charity Givers

As response rates have been declining across surveys many studies now offer a range of incentives to encourage participation. In a national survey conducted in Australia respondents were offered the option of either receiving a gift voucher or they could opt for the equivalent amount of money to be paid to a set number of charities.  As the survey was focused on political attitudes and voting behavior following the 2019 federal election the recording of preferences on charitable donations provides us with an opportunity to examine how this behaviour relates to political preferences. There is a significant body of work on why and who gives to charities but links to political preferences is much less well known.


This paper examines the political opinions which underpin charity donations. Moving beyond the left/liberal versus right/conservative political divide, the analysis evaluates the role of broader political opinions in driving donations. These include views of democracy, support for social and economic policies, and feelings about political parties. Confirming other research, the results show that older people, those on the left and the better educated and more likely to donate. We also find that anti-elitism, lack of political interest and support for the Liberal Party are strong disincentives to donate. These results complement and extend the research on the political views of charity givers and show how data collected as a by product of the methodology can be substantively utilized.  

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