Mother Nature can be cruel and with climate change, the world has seen more incidents of extreme weather in recent times. Then there are the humanitarian crises arising from the conflicts, droughts and other disasters, both natural and man-made, that break out across the globe.
Whether a crisis is at home or abroad, the overwhelming desire is to extend a helping hand and do what we can. That might include volunteering to coordinate relief efforts, gathering non-perishable goods and clothing to donate to families who have lost everything, opening your home to those who have lost theirs or making a financial contribution to community groups and for-purpose organisations who are delivering grassroots relief.
Here at Equity Trustees, we encourage our philanthropists to give with thought and purpose; to have a vision and a clear strategy around the outcomes you seek to achieve with your giving. So it may seem that donating in response to a crisis flies in the face of the whole premise of ‘structured giving’ and having a strategy.
SO WHAT TO DO WHEN DISASTER STRIKES AND THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE NEED FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT?
Giving strategies can be flexible and evolve over time. They should be reviewed regularly and will develop as you become more confident and knowledgeable around your giving. While your Mission, Vision and Values may stay the same, how you execute your strategy may change over time.
When creating your giving strategy as a family, you should discuss how you will manage ad hoc requests and situations such as relief for natural disaster victims. Some of the questions you may wish to consider are:
- If work colleagues or family friends are undertaking a challenge in support of their favourite charity (e.g. Movember, fun runs), do we support it?
- If the impact of the disaster does not align with our areas of giving focus, do we support it?
- Should we be funding short term or long term recovery efforts and if so how much should we give?
You may decide as a family not to respond to crises or ad hoc requests because they do not align with your current areas of interest, and that decision is perfectly rational. However, if you choose to support a cause, there are different ways you can structure your donation.
You could consider allocating a portion of your annual distribution (e.g. 20%) to any ad hoc requests or crisis donations.
As we write this edition of Horizon, bushfires are still burning across Australia. Already, millions of hectares of land have been left ravaged by more than 200 bushfires. Lives have been lost, properties destroyed, and a catastrophic number of wildlife injured or killed.
There are many DGR1 organisations supporting the community in the aftermath of the bushfire crisis. Many of these fundraising appeals you will be aware of via the media, with millions of dollars already donated. We have included smaller, lesser known appeals for your consideration as well.
For further information on disaster response, your Relationship Manager can help you find the right organisation to support.
FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS
- CFS Foundation Volunteer Support Fund (SA) – Financial assistance and care to CFS volunteer firefighters and their families to offset suffering and distress caused in the line of active duty.
- Country Fire Authority (VIC) – Donations can be made to support the work of CFA or a brigade of your choice. CFA also have a separate fund supporting community members affected by the fires in East Gippsland and Hume.
- NSW Rural Fire Service – Donations can be made to the RFS or local brigades and will directly benefit volunteer firefighters.
- Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland – For the provision of essential firefighting equipment, construction of fire stations, training and other vital items.
- BlazeAid – Volunteer-led organisation that supports rural families to rebuild fences and other structures after natural disasters.
- Habitat for Humanity – To build housing for families who have lost their homes in the fires.
- Landcare Australia – Supporting producers and landowners affected by the fires.
- Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife – Assisting to those groups most impacted by the fires through targeted funding for first aid and rescue equipment for injured animals, as well as providing support for wildlife carers.
- RSPCA – Donations can be made to support each state’s initiatives by supporting animals (pets, wildlife, livestock) impacted by bushfires.
- WIRES (NSW) – For the rescue and care of wildlife affected by the fires in NSW.
- WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund – Emergency funds to care for injured wildlife and, when the fires clear, help restore forest homes.
EMERGENCY RELIEF AND RECOVERY EFFORTS
- Australian Volunteer Support Trust – Business Council of Australia, AFR and Equity Trustees (pro bono support) have created a perpetual trust to support families and children of emergency services volunteers who have died in the course of their duty.
- Australian Red Cross – Supporting people in evacuation centres in NSW and Victoria as well as providing emergency assistance.
- Community Rebuilding Trust – Another initiative set up by Business Council of Australia, AFR and Equity Trustees to support the community effort by helping to support the rebuilding of community assets.
- Foodbank Australia – Food relief for affected communities. Donations are state directed.
- FRRR (Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal) Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund – Grants to local community-led projects that address needs that emerge 12-18 months after a disaster event.
- GIVIT – Connecting donated items to communities needing assistance. Financial contributions are used to purchase essential items.
- Good360 – Connecting brand new goods with communities in need. Businesses have donated goods but they need philanthropic support to cover shipping, handling and logistics.
- Rural Aid – Provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire.
- Salvation Army – Disaster appeal has been established to deliver support to evacuees and frontline responders.
- St Vincent de Paul Society – Supporting people in evacuation centres as well as providing emergency assistance.