8106.0 - Not-for-profit Organisations, Australia, 2006-07 (Re-Issue) Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/06/2009  Reissue
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The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from data collected from a survey of Australian not-for-profit organisations conducted as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business survey program for the 2006–07 reference year. The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

For information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

The main purpose of this survey was to measure the size and structure of the not-for-profit sector in Australia during the 2006–07 financial year. This is the first time a dedicated survey of the Australian not-for-profit sector has been conducted by the ABS. The information from this survey is an essential input to the Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account, also produced by the ABS, which provides a more detailed analysis of the economic impact of Australia's not-for-profit sector. Additionally, the information is used by government policy makers to assist in policy formulation and review in relation to the not-for-profit sector, as well as by private sector analysts.

Survey questionnaires were mailed to a sample of 2,248 not-for-profit organisations in mid-August 2007. The ABS aims to publish estimates from its business survey program within twelve months of the end of the reference period.

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses/organisations. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into collection and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing.

The identification of not-for-profit organisations on the ABS Business Register provides the opportunity for improved not-for-profit estimates from ABS business surveys. The ability to identify all not-for-profit organisations in the population, rather than relying on self-identification in the sample, allows the ABS to use alternative estimation techniques to improve the quality of its statistics for the not-for-profit sector.

Most ABS business surveys use the ABS Business Register of employing and non-employing businesses/organisations to draw a sample frame. The ABS Business Register includes only those businesses/organisations registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for an Australian Business Number (ABN). There are many small not-for-profit organisations in Australia that do not have an ABN. These organisations were out-of-scope of this survey. In addition, there are a large number of small, non-employing not-for-profit organisations and although included on the ABS Business Register, these were out of scope of this survey. Further information is available in the Explanatory Notes.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of collection analysts and efficient data processing procedures.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all organisations selected in the survey. For the 2006-07 Not-for-profit Organisations Survey, there was a 93% response rate. Data were imputed for the remaining 7% of operating organisations. Imputed responses contributed 5.4% to the estimate of total income.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted. One measure of this difference is the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all organisations had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Another measure of sampling error is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors of key estimates are available in the Explanatory Notes of Not-for-profit Organisations, Australia (cat.no. 8106.0).

Overall, the ABS considers that the survey estimates are of good quality, especially at the most aggregated level, such as total not-for-profit sector. However, some care should be exercised in the use of the finer level components. The sampling variability for estimates at the individual International Classification of Non-Profit Organisations (ICNPO) Group and data item level was generally higher than for total not-for-profit sector aggregates. Survey estimates for individual ICNPO Group and individual data items should therefore be viewed with more caution than estimates for the total not-for-profit sector (refer to Appendix 1 for details of the complete ICNPO classification and Appendix 2 for the version of the ICNPO classification used in this survey).

This is the first time a survey of the Australian not-for-profit sector has been conducted by the ABS. As such, no previous survey data are available for direct comparison.

Data for not-for-profit organisations are also published in Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account (cat. no. 5256.0). There are important differences between the statistics published in the Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account and Not-for-profit Organisations publications and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.

Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account presents data for the not-for-profit sector which were compiled from a variety of existing economic and social collections conducted by the ABS and other agencies.

Not-for-profit Organisations is a dedicated survey of not-for-profit organisations and supplements Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account statistics with a detailed examination of the structure and performance of not-for-profit organisations for the reference year of the survey.

The estimates from the Not-for-profit Organisations Survey are available only as original series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted. Although financial and volunteer estimates in this publication relate to the full twelve months of 2006-07 financial year, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2007. As such, estimates of values per person employed can be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period. Organisation counts reflect only those organisations operating at 30 June 2007.

Further information on terminology and other technical aspects associated with statistics from the Not-for-profit Organisations Survey can be found in the
Explanatory Notes, Glossary, the ICNPO classification (Appendix 1) and the ICNPO-ANZSIC concordance (Appendix 2).

Data from the 2006–07 Not-for-profit Organisations Survey are available in the following formats free of charge on the ABS website:

  • main features which include key findings commentary for the total not-for-profit sector and for each ICNPO Group.
  • a spreadsheet which contains the survey data

Inquiries about these statistics can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Julie Cole on (03) 9615 7562.