Funding to LGBTIQ+ causes in Australia

A report by Our Community and GiveOUT

The LGBTIQ+ community makes up a significant proportion of the Australian population...

of Australians are of diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity (2.7 million people)

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

… and while LGBTIQ+ Australians often live happy, successful lives, a long history of injustice has resulted in an LGBTIQ+ community with complex needs that must be addressed.

of LGBTIQ+ people have experienced homelessness (vs 13.4% of heterosexual people). Family conflict and rejection because of sexual orientation or gender identity has been identified as a major cause of homelessness for LGBTIQ+ communities.

Source: GALFA LGBTQ Homelessness Research Project

of LGBTIQ+ people hide their sexuality or gender identity in public (and 33.6% when accessing services) for fear of heterosexist violence or discrimination.

Source: Private Lives 2 Report

of homophobic bullying involving LGBTIQ+ young people occurs at school. This has a profound impact on well-being and education.

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

We know the problems are eminently fixable…

of LGBTIQ+ young people at schools with protective policies in place feel safe


of those at schools who don’t have these policies.

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

LGBTIQ+ employees who are ‘out’ to everyone at work are:

more likely to
innovate than workers who are not out to everyone

more likely to
work highly effectively in their team

more likely to
provide excellent customer/client service

Source: Out at Work: From Pride to Prejudice - Synopsis

… and most Australians are already on the side of equality.

of Aussies voted yes in the marriage equality postal vote.

The number of donations to LGBTIQ+ projects through GiveNow is increasing year on year.

The resources are available to create change…

An estimated

in grants is given away to Australian community groups each year.

… but only a small proportion of that big pile of cash is given to LGBTIQ+ projects.

Local Governments (using SmartyGrants) approved

grant applications for LGBTIQ+ causes out of 45,155 approved applications


State Governments (using SmartyGrants) approved

grant applications for LGBTIQ+ causes out of 23,188 approved applications


Philanthropic Organisations (using SmartyGrants) approved

grant applications for LGBTIQ+ causes out of 8,338 total approved applications


The Federal Government (using SmartyGrants) approved

grant applications for LGBTIQ+ causes out of 2,882 total approved applications


Source: SmartyGrants (2013-2018)

The Australian philanthropic community could do much better in funding LGBTIQ+ projects.

or only $1.5m of the $374.5m in philanthropic funding shown on Philanthropy Australia’s Foundation Maps went to LGBTIQ+-specific projects, of which $1.4 million (93%) was dedicated to the marriage equality campaign.

LGBTIQ+ groups* are surviving on the smell of an oily rag.

of LGBTIQ+ groups have an annual budget of less than $10,000

Most of them are primarily ‘self-funded’

Source: National LGBTIQ+ Community Impact Report
*includes registered charities and other types of not-for-profit groups

So the question is, why is so little funding going to LGBTIQ+ groups? Well, here’s what we know:

The Australian LGBTIQ+ community is not highly formalised.

In 2016, there were only

registered charities dedicated to serving the LGBTIQ+ community in Australia.

Source: Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission

Most philanthropic organisations can only fund registered charities...

Which means the funding is only going to a few LGBTIQ+ charities, or to charities that run LGBTIQ+ projects but are not community-led.

Percentage of charities mentioning a particular group in the ACNC 2016 Annual Information Statements.

LGBTIQ+ projects are not well targeted by any funder, which may discourage LGBTIQ+ groups and those running LGBTIQ+ projects from applying.

Percentage of grant programs mentioning a particular group in FundingCentre (2013-2018).


or 17 grant programs specifically focused on LGBTIQ+


or 30 grant programs specifically mentioned LGBTIQ+

Source: SmartyGrants (2013-2018)

Perhaps as a result, LGBTIQ+ projects are underrepresented in the number of grant submissions that are lodged each year…

Percentage of grant applications mentioning a particular group in SmartyGrants (2010-2018).

or 431 grant applications specifically focused on LGBTIQ+


or 973 grant applications mentioned LGBTIQ+

at least one application Source: SmartyGrants (2013-2018)

And most grants programs receive only 1 application for an LGBTIQ+-focused project.

Source: SmartyGrants (2013-2018)

GiveOUT is growing the pot of gold under the rainbow and changing the way Australians experience gender and sexuality – for the better! Find out more.

This report has been prepared by Our Community's Innovation Lab, which is home to a social sector-specific data science lab; helping the not-for-profit sector to collect, distil, understand and act on data like never before.