Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Australian bushfires: the communities who have lost their homes and livelihood, the animals injured by the destructive infernos, and the volunteers who continue putting their lives at risk each time they attempt to put out a fire. As of January 2020, an estimated 18.6 million hectares of land has been burned to the ground, while over one billion animals—including iconic Australian species such as koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies—have sadly lost their lives.
Though donating goods and supplies will go a long way, giving money is the fastest and most effective way to help rebuild the nation. Instead of worrying about where to store or how to transport and distribute donated items, generous financial contributions allow organisations to provide emergency support for communities that need them the most. The much-needed funds give residents the chance to choose where to allocate them and aid in their community’s immediate recovery.
Discover where your money goes if you give these organisations a monetary donation:
1 Australian Red Cross
For as little as 2 AUD (tax deductible), your donation to the Australian Red Cross will provide practical, local support to people during and after an emergency. Funds are broken down into training, equipment, logistics, and coordination of Red Cross volunteers, and, more importantly, to setting up emergency assistance and long-term recovery programs for disaster-stricken communities. The international humanitarian group also gives emergency grants to people whose homes were “destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable” by the bushfires. Read more on how they’re allocating the funds received.
2 Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) welcomes financial donations to help animals threatened by bushfires. Mobilising its staff, volunteers, and resources, the RSPCA assists in keeping pets and animals safe, providing emergency care and boarding to those who need it, and giving much-needed supplies and equipment. Injured animals from affected bushfire areas will be identified, assessed, and nursed back to health in the next few months.
3 The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army reaches out to people who are overwhelmed by the aftereffects of the bushfire disaster. Working with federal, state, and local government, the organisation offers support at three stages: 1) emergency response during and immediately after the crisis (such as providing meals, giving care packs, and counselling people) at emergency centers; 2) initial assessment and provision of emergency funds; and 3) recovery through financial assistance to those severely impacted by the bushfires such as initial cash grants, special housing grants, transitional accommodation relocation grants, and school assistance. You can make a one-off or a regular tax-deductible donation here.
4 World Wide Fund for Nature
Make a donation to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) so they can care for injured wildlife and help restore the native bushlands of Australia. Different amounts can instantly provide koalas and other animals with the assistance they so badly need. From vital veterinary care on ground (50 AUD) and sustenance to starving animals (75 AUD) to rapid assessment of bushfire-impacted areas (100 AUD) and habitat restoration (150 AUD), your contribution will go a long way.
As the only non-profit food relief organisation that operates in every state and territory in Australia, Foodbank is able to use its extensive network to efficiently give essential supplies to people that need it. For every 1 AUD donation, the charity manages to arrange for 6 AUD worth of relief supplies (roughly equivalent to two meals) due to their partnership with food and grocery companies. Aside from selecting the amount to give (25, 50, 75, 150, or whichever amount you choose), you can pick which state will receive your contribution.
6 NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.
Short for WIRES, the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc. offers assistance to groups working with wildlife gravely affected by the bushfires. Through a tax-deductible donation of at least 2 AUD for a one-time or monthly basis, WIRES will be able to rescue native animals, provide nourishment and shelter, and rehabilitate injured and orphaned creatures.
7 Rapid Relief Team
Families who have lost their homes due to the catastrophic bushfires can get instant assistance from the Operation Fire Relief created by Rapid Relief Team (RRT). The initiative brings hope to its recipients by presenting a 1,000 AUD gift voucher, an RRT Family Food Box, and a Cookie the Kookaburra plush toy for each child. As of December 2019, RRT has supported three fire-ravaged communities from Taree and Wauchope.
8 GIVIT Listed Ltd
Though GIVIT is known for accepting new or used items in good condition, it also welcomes monetary donations in any amount. One hundred percent of the money you donate is used to purchase essential supplies, with the non-profit supporting local businesses whenever possible. The website works as a platform that posts items needed by vulnerable community members, then obtains these from individuals and businesses without the need to store, sort, and dispose of unwanted items.
9 Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Supporting bushfire-affected communities in rural areas, the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) wishes to help various towns rebuild and recover long after the national emergency relief money is expended. FRRR gives grants to local, non-profit organisations, so its leaders can spearhead projects unique to their community. Rebuilding community infrastructure and giving psychological support are just some of the ways FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund can help.
10 Humane Society International Australia
Humane Society International works globally to create a humane, sustainable, and safe world for all creatures—humans and animals alike. Since November 2019, the Australian chapter has helped wildlife carers through the collection of the Wildlife Emergency Response Fund. The group has provided water and food for rescued wombats, kangaroos, and flying foxes throughout the region, and deployed a response team to South Australia’s Kangaroo Island (48% of whose land mass has been affected). It aims to build more rehabilitation enclosures for injured koalas and other animals.
These are just a few of the groups that you can make a contribution to. If you’re thinking of helping another organisation, check out these lists from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and ABC to make sure it is officially registered to assist with bushfire relief and recovery.