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Australians going ‘above and beyond’ normal giving during bushfire crisis


29 January 2020 at 5:07 pm
Luke Michael
New study shows people are continuing to give to their favourite causes while also donating to the disaster relief effort  


Luke Michael | 29 January 2020 at 5:07 pm


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Australians going ‘above and beyond’ normal giving during bushfire crisis
29 January 2020 at 5:07 pm

New study shows people are continuing to give to their favourite causes while also donating to the disaster relief effort  

Just over half of Australian adults have made a donation during the bushfire crisis, new research reveals.

A survey of 1,000 people conducted by More Strategic in partnership with Fundraising Institute Australia found that 53 per cent of Australians have donated to a bushfire appeal, with the median gift being $50.

And while charities like Red Cross have come under scrutiny recently for their handling of bushfire donations, the poll found that 86 per cent of Australians were confident the organisation they supported would use their money wisely.

FIA CEO Katherine Raskob told Pro Bono News the survey was conducted to ascertain the impact of the crisis on the Australian public’s propensity to give.

Similar studies conducted after disasters like the 2011 Queensland floods and the 2009 Victoria bushfires showed that people continued to give to their favourite causes while also donating to the disaster relief effort.

Raskob said this latest research proved that this sentiment still held true today.

“These findings show that Australians go above and beyond their normal giving to give in times of crisis,” Raskob said.

“And the majority of donors expect to continue giving the same amount to the regular causes they care about as well.”

Raskob said the lesson for charities in unrelated areas was that they still needed to be actively fundraising throughout the crisis.


Read more: Pro Bono Australia launches a Guide to Giving of Bushfire Appeals

Another key finding of the research was that nearly 66 per cent of donors donated through Facebook for the first time, with 85 per cent of them indicating they were likely to give in this way again.

Raskob said Facebook donations were becoming “the new normal”.

“These platforms can have their problems, but it is an important tool. And it does appear that younger people like to donate through it,” she said.

“So it is an important one for charities to consider and I think many organisations are already using it as part of their fundraising mix.”

While almost 90 per cent of people said they were confident the charities they supported would use their donations wisely, only 36 per cent said they trusted the charity to minimise administration costs.

Red Cross came under heavy scrutiny recently after it was revealed as much as $11 million worth of donations to its bushfire appeals (around 10 per cent) could be spent on administration fees.

Despite this, 29 per cent of those surveyed said they expected 100 per cent of their donation to be used for the cause.

Raskob said this was simply unrealistic, adding that there needed to be more education around the importance of administration fees when it came to running a charity.

“I think Australian donors often don’t have a strong understanding of how fundraising works and how organisations work,” she said.

“We need to keep working on educating the public that it does cost money to both raise money and distribute money. So there is a cost and I think we have to be realistic about that.” 


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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