Which charity is the best at helping disadvantaged Australians?

Updated June 20, 2019. Subscribe now to stay informed.


Most Australians have benefitted from decades of economic growth and rising average incomes, but some in the community continue to be 'left behind'. Disadvantage manifests in many ways, including poverty, deprivation of opportunity, limited capabilities and social exclusion. Dishearteningly, around 5 per cent of adult Australians are estimated to have experienced deep social exclusion at some time in their life.*

Which charity best helps those at risk of being left behind?

The Good Cause Co. has evaluated some of Australia’s most well known charities to help you understand who will make the most of your donation: The Smith Family, Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Berry Street, The Benevolent Society and Barnardos Australia.

Note that this group of charities is secular (non-religious, or not spiritual), unlike our religious charity category, which lists charities that have a religious motivation for supporting disadvantaged Australians.

Which charities stand out?

Our analysis has identified outstanding charities from this list:

  • The Smith Family - The Smith Family is "create opportunities for young Australians in need by providing long-term support for their participation in education."

  • Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) - AIME works with Australian Indigenous high-school students to help them finish school and continue on to further study, training or employment. They run a mentoring program based at various universities.

These charities stand out for a number of reasons. They are clear about how they are governed and are transparent with their finances. They have a logical strategic direction and focus, and use evidence to inform the types of activities they undertake.

Importantly, they evaluate their programs and demonstrate a commitment to improving the outcomes of their services. For these reasons we recommend you “Donate with Confidence” to these charities, sure that your money will be used strategically and effectively to achieve their mission.

What about the rest?

The other charities we evaluated achieve our “Donate” recommendation. This means they are likely to be trustworthy and effective, but we need to see more in order to recommend them with confidence.


Still not sure which charity is right for you? Contact us and we will help guide you in the right direction.


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The Good Cause Co.’s “Should I Give To…” provides independent evaluations of Australia’s largest charities. Our reviews are comprehensive and consider both the trustworthiness and effectiveness of each charity. We update our recommendations annually to ensure we provide relevant advice. We do this to help you feel confident about giving.

*Productivity Commission (2013). Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia. Australian Government. Available at https://www.pc.gov.au/research/supporting/deep-persistent-disadvantage