Neither the traditional stresses of the final days before Christmas nor the ongoing economic downturn are affecting Australians' generosity, according to new data from leading social enterprise Our Community.
Our Community's 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 and almost $100,000 up on the November 2006 figure, despite the current global economic crisis.
The centre is also on track to top last December's total of $143,000, with over $115,000 having been donated in the first two weeks of this month.
The Giving Centre allows people to donate online to their choice of more than 1300 community causes nationally and has received more than $8 million in donations since its inception eight years ago.
Our Community CEO Dr Rhonda Galbally AO says it is important to keep things in perspective at this time of year.
"This is the time for giving, but too often the emphasis is on the price tag and not on the act itself," Dr Galbally says.
"Choose the right gift - or way to give - and a ripple effect means that someone other than the recipient gets a tangible benefit from that gift.
"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.
"It can be as life-changing as a new well for a drought-stricken African village, as simple as a new home for an abandoned dog or as easy as giving up some of your time to brighten another person's day.
"Donations are really great, but if you're feeling the pinch financially, you can still be generous in other ways."
A full list of appeals you can donate to at the Australian Giving Centre, gift ideas for individuals and businesses and Tips on Giving Wisely are available from the Our Community website - www.ourcommunity.com.au
Dr Rhonda Galbally AO is available for interview and comment. Please contact (03) 9320 6800 or email to email@example.com