Australians are refusing to let the global economic crisis affect their Christmas generosity, according to new data released today by leading social enterprise Our Community.
Our Community revealed its online Australian Giving Centre received more than $163,000 in public donations last month - an increase of over 30 per cent on the November 2007 total despite the current global economic crisis.
That total is almost $100,000 up on the November 2006 figure.
The Giving Centre allows people to donate online to their choice of more than 1300 community causes nationally. It has so far received over $570,000 this financial year and more than $8 million in donations since its inception.
Our Community CEO Dr Rhonda Galbally AO has challenged Australians to match last December's effort, when more than $143,000 was donated through the Giving Centre. December is traditionally the second or third busiest month in terms of donations to the centre.
Dr Galbally also said some of this week's $1000 federal government bonus to families should be spent where it could have the most impact.
"If you are going to use it to shop for Christmas, why not think about supporting a community group that, in turn, helps many more people?" Dr Galbally said.
"Why not shift some of the giving away from the people who have too much to the people who don't; from people who are becoming hysterical from Christmas present overload to people who are really going to be grateful; from presents that degrade the environment to presents that come from the heart."
The actual number of donations made through the Giving Centre so far in 2008-09 has topped 7200, which is in excess of 40 per cent more on the same period last year.
If this trend continues for the rest of this financial year, the centre should come close to the 22,044 donations made in 2004-05, a period that included thousands of donations towards Asian tsunami appeals.