Which charity is the best at helping disadvantaged Australians?

This analysis reflects our 2018 recommendations. Subscribe now for updates.


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:

Note that this group of charities is secular (non-religious, or not spiritual), unlike last week, where we focused on charities that supported disadvantaged Australians due to religious motivations.

Which charities stand out?

Our analysis has identified three outstanding charities from this list:

  • 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.

  • The Benevolent Society - The Benevolent Society “empower and educate for personal and societal change” by supporting families, and delivering home care and support services. They also undertake community development programs and advocate on behalf of children, families, the elderly and people with disabilities.

  • Smith Family - The Smith Family is “a children's charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves”.

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 demonstrate basic signs of trustworthiness and effectiveness, but we need to see more information about how they monitor their performance and evaluate their programs in order to recommend them with confidence.

The Good Cause Co.’s “Should I Give To…” provides independent evaluations of Australia’s largest charities. We will be publishing over 50 critical reviews of charities that are seeking your donation. It’s time to find out which Australian charities are the star performers!


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