So, for those seeking how to best donate, there is a couple of things to consider. Australian charitable entities are legal, registered structures, with stringent governance and legal requirements in place. When you make a charitable donation during your lifetime, for which you may receive a tax deduction (for donations over $2), it is irrevocable, and they are no longer your funds. As such, while you as the donor (regardless of the size of the donation or your profile) can make recommendations to the charitable recipient as to how the funds are distributed, you have no legal ability to directly control how the funds are actually distributed.
Looking at the bushfires, interest in aiding the plight of our native Australian animals has seen a surge in financial and physical goods donations to animal charities. When donors physically deliver needed supplies, they know those supplies will be dispersed to their local community. It makes sense then for additional investigation to be undertaken when people make a digital donation of funds. This can be undertaken by making sure the charity’s registered address assists donors and sees that their donations reach the communities or purposes they intend – whether that is the local grassroots organisation or the larger charity that might be based in another state.
There is no denying the current call to action to support those impacted by Australia’s bushfires is not only critical but urgent. Before opening your wallet (digital or otherwise), take the time to carefully consider what you are hoping to achieve, who you are seeking to assist, and whether selected charitable recipients of your funds can actually use the funds in line with your expectations. This research does not need to be time-consuming, and for families it can provide unique opportunities to connect, learn and share information and ideas, which further contributes to the evolution of strong, values-based communities.
The reality is that once funds have left a donor’s bank account the donation is not reversible and no matter how large the donation, the donor does not have direct control of the donated funds. All giving is essentially good giving but to ensure we are having the biggest impact, do the research first to help make sure your donation is reaching those you are seeking to assist.