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  • Writer's pictureSam Joel

What causes do charities help with?

Updated: Mar 3

Charities help with a wide range of issues around the world and in our local communities every single day. There are many different charitable causes for you to choose from and different organisations who can assist you with your donations may approach the definition of the various causes in different ways. So, for example, the United Nations (UN) defines its seventeen sustainability goals differently from The Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) which in contrast defines twenty eight categories of charitable causes with significantly different titles.


The 17 UN Sustainability Goals
The seventeen UN Sustainability Goals

The seventeen UN Sustainability goals:

  1. No Poverty

  2. Zero Hunger

  3. Good Health & Wellbeing

  4. Quality Education

  5. Gender Equality

  6. Clean Water & Sanitation

  7. Affordable & Clean Energy

  8. Decent Work & Economic Growth

  9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

  10. Reduced Inequalities

  11. Sustainable Cities & Communities

  12. Responsible Consumption & Production

  13. Climate Action

  14. Life Below Water

  15. Life On Land

  16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

  17. Partnerships For The Goals


There is no right or wrong way to define the causes important to you, there are just different ways of organising the same information. So, for example, here is how the ACNC has chosen to structure their category system for charitable causes:


The ACNC's twenty-eight charitable causes categories:

  1. Children - aged 6 to under 15

  2. Environment

  3. Families

  4. General Community in Australia

  5. Migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers

  6. Overseas communities or charities

  7. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  8. Adults - aged 65 & over

  9. Early childhood - aged under 6

  10. Females

  11. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex persons

  12. Males

  13. People at risk of experiencing homelessness/people experiencing homelessness

  14. People with disabilities

  15. Victims of crime (including family violence)

  16. Animals

  17. Financially disadvantaged people

  18. People in rural/regional/remote communities

  19. People with chronic illness (including terminal illness)

  20. Pre/post-release offenders and/or their families

  21. Veterans and/or their families

  22. Youth - aged 15 to under 25

  23. Adults - aged 25 to under 65

  24. Other charities

  25. People from a culturally and linguistically diverse background

  26. Unemployed persons

  27. Victims of disaster

  28. Other


Which do you prefer? I think the ACNC categories are much more specific and have been refined over the last ten years based on customers' (charities and donors) feedback so I think they will most likely have a lot more accuracy than the broader more loosely defined UN goals although they are both good in their ways. I have noticed though that some people and organisations seem to be using the seventeen UN sustainability goals to gain an economic advantage for themselves in different regions around the world which I don't think is in line with the intended purpose of charitable giving and solving the world's problems. In any case, it's nice to see that there are different groups all around the world at least in theory attempting to solve the world's problems by organising our resources more efficiently.



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