Australians' generosity shows no sign of abating despite the current global economic downturn, according to new figures from community support organisation Our Community.
Latest figures from the Australian Giving Centre - Australia's only commission-free online donations portal, which is operated by Our Community with the support of Westpac - topped $408,000 in the first four months of this financial year, up 28% on the previous year's figures.
The number of donations is also up (from 3873 to 5536 - a 40% jump) and the number of appeals listed at the centre has grown by more than 20% in the past year, to more than 1280.
More than $8.3 million has been collected for community groups using the Australian Giving Centre since it began in 2001.
And donations are expected to surge again during Australian Giving Week, which is being held around the country from 1-7 December. Now in its fourth year, Giving Week is an initiative of Our Community and aims to help people take action and make a difference to their community in the lead-up to Christmas and beyond.
The Giving Week website - www.givingweek.com.au - provides a huge number of ideas about how you can give. There are lists of 50 ways for individuals and businesses to give to the community, tips on where to buy Christmas trees and gifts that will benefit a community organisation, volunteering ideas, examples of ways you can engage better with your neighbours and the wider community, and much more.
Our Community CEO Dr Rhonda Galbally AO said that while there was a lot of attention at the moment on the global financial crisis, people should not lose sight of what they still had, and what they could contribute.
"There are so many ways you can give to the community. Donations are really great, but if you're feeling the pinch financially, you can still be generous in other ways," she said.
"Community groups need support all year round but Giving Week is a great time for everyone to get started.
"Meaning doesn't have to be tied into a price tag, nor should a tighter economy mean you stop giving. The key is choosing what to give, where and how."
More information about Australian Giving Week can be downloaded via the Media section at www.givingweek.com.au. Media are also invited to download and reprint (with attribution) the lists of '50 Ways for Individuals/Businesses to Give to the Community this Christmas' - available on that website as well.
For other information and comments about Australian Giving Week please contact (03) 9320 6800 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org