Media Release

101 ways to give at Christmas - online donations, christmas giving, community help tips

Make a difference
- 101 tips to help your local community.

This list has been compiled by to provide people with ideas that they can help to strengthen their own local communities over the Christmas break. While often people think of giving either time or money at this time of year, we also encourage you to support groups in your interest area or geographical area at any time of year.

You can also make a donation using your credit card to one of 160 community group appeals that have been listed online at the at the National Community Giving Centre. Click to vist the Centre.

We have also set up another list of Christmas and New Year appeals whch can be found at

We encourage people to email the link to this page to friends or family or ask their boss to put a link on the office intranet or business  internet site to encourage others to think what they can do at this time of the year.

We have only scratched the surface of ideas for helping local groups - so if you have some ideas on ways people can help, please send to and we will happily add them to the list in time.

The Australian Giving Centre is proudly sponsored by Westpac Bank. 

The Top 101 Giving Tips

1. Donate to a community group online at the National Community Giving Centre (
Donate to a community group online - There are already 160 appeals you can donate to online at the National Community Giving Centre at Or search online for a group or cause you support. Make a quick, safe and secure donation without leaving your chair.

2. Send in a cheque or money order to your favourite group
Donate to your group by cheque - if you don't have a credit card or feel more comfortable signing your name on your donations, post a cheque to your favourite community group. Many community groups send out appeals to their members and supporters in the lead-up to Christmas and appreciate any gift, no matter how small. 

3. Donate blood.
Short on cash? It doesn't have to be a gift of money. You can give an even more precious gift - your blood. Red Cross is always looking for blood donors and Christmasand the New Year holiday period  is no exception. Giving blood is safe and easy. See for all the details on what you need to do before donating blood and - importantly the locations and times when you can donate.

4. Sign up for organ donations
Go a step further and make this Christmas the time to sign up for organ donations. Each year thousands of Australians wait for the gift of life. Why not ensure that if you die, your organs will help someone else to live a full life. To join the Australian Organ Donor Registry phone 1800 777 203 or visit the Health Insurance Commission website at

5. Drop your unwanted (but still okay) clothes in a clothing bin
Drop items of clothing that you no longer wear into donation bins which can be found outside many churches, convenience stores and shopping centres around Australia. You may think they are horribly out of fashion but everyone has different tastes! And if the Eighties can come back into fashion, then there's still hope for all those fashionable purchases that you never got around to wearing.

6. Volunteer to help a community group you admire
Consider giving your time by offering to volunteer to help a community group. It may be manual work, or putting your own expertise to work for a community group. Australians provided more than 704 million hours of unpaid volunteer work during 2000 (not including the Olympics) and many groups could not survive without that support. Visit  If you're struggling for ideas, visit  or for thousands of opportunities from across the country visit Volunteering Australia's site at

7. Don't volunteer alone - Grab your workmates to give a hand!
Spread the load and make community work a team effort by organising your workmates to volunteer as a group. Apart from the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile, making a valuable contribution to your community is a great exercise in boosting office morale and a team spirit. It also forges closer links between your organisation and the community. You can either decide as a group of a local non-profit organisation you would like to help or visit  for projects that you could take on as a team.

8. Get all the family involved 
Volunteering as a family is a great way to help out and bringing your family together in the true spirit of Christmas. Think about ways you can help local groups in your area or again visit tin find a volunteer project that you could enjoy doing as a family unit.

9. Go on - Join a community group today!
Join up! Don't just be a supporter, be a member of your local community groups. While community groups love donations, many survive on the annual subscriptions from dedicated members. Find a cause or a group dedicated to something you are interested in and sign up today! It might range from the Collingwood Football Club (well...everyone's different) to the Armidale Women's Housing Group or Darwin Toy Library.

10. Donate your old computers to a good cause
If you are upgrading your computers, there are organisations that will take your old PCs, refurbish them and distribute them to disadvantaged schools, families and community groups. Even if the computer has had it, many of the components can often still be recycled. Contact groups such as greenpc at Computerbank Australia at

11. Don't put it off - renew your membership for 2003 today.
And if you are already a member of a local community group, now is the time to renew your membership to ensure that your group starts 2003 with some money in the coffers - and doesn't have to waste some of it by chasing up its members.

12. Buy Christmas cards from a community group stall or online marketplace
Buy your Christmas cards from one of the many charities and community groups that raise funds by selling their own cards. This is an easy way to helping out a local group and giving something different to family and friends. For example, Vision Australia produces Braille Christmas cards and the Lost Dogs Home sells dog and cat Christmas cards and giftwrap. Most of the church groups and major community organisations also produce their own cards.

13. Give a donation as a gift to a friend - lasts longer than chocolates or flowers
Instead of giving a present to a friend, consider making a donation on their behalf to their favourite community group and then giving them a card telling them that you have made a donation and provide the receipt. The benefit will last longer than a box of chocolates or a pair of socks!

14. Consider giving your experience by joining a Board or committee
Consider becoming a board or committee member of a community group that you are involved in and have a say in how the group runs and what it does. You can make a lasting contribution and make a difference by become actively involved in something you are truly passionate about.

15. Buy your Christmas presents from a community group.
Buy your Christmas presents from a community group. At this time of year many local groups and schools hold Christmas fairs offering a wide range of goods that have either been donated or produced specifically for Christmas. Larger groups sell online at sites such as the Oxfam Community Aid Abroad shop at

16. Show your support by getting out and attending a local community event
Lots of schools, kindergartens and local groups choose the start of summer to hold fetes, fairs and other fundraisers. Offer your support by going along and help out by buying fairy floss, a snag from the barbeque, raffle tickets, or a turn at the lucky dip.

17. Buy your Christmas tree from from a local community group
Consider buying your Christmas tree this year from a local Scouting group or community organisation selling trees. Real trees are also more environmentally friendly than artificial, plastic ones, and after Christmas they can be recycled by being cut up for garden mulch (remember to take off the decorations first!) Think Green. Think Community.

18. Prepare a budget for giving to your favourite groups in 2003
Prepare a budget for giving in the New Year. Make a list of the groups you would like to donate to and figure out how much you can afford to give to each and when. Stick to it! It will help to ensure that you support the groups you really want to support or have a true affinity with.

19. Ask your employer if they will match staff donations dollar for dollar
Ask your employer if they are prepared to provide a matching gift for whatever your workplace can raise in a special Christmas fundraising effort for a local community group. Many businesses now are moving to a situation where they prefer to support those groups that mean something to their staff vote rather than the Board dictating the giving.

20. Provide some form of "in-kind" support
Consider whether your business can provide "in-kind" support to a local group. Do you have excess office supplies, furniture, advertising space, transport, or some sort of expertise or product that you could provide a community group. You might even have a spare desk and a telephone that a local organisation could put to use.

21.  Provide pro bono advice or expertise
Consider whether you or your business could provide probono assistance to a community group in the area of legal advice, acounting, auditing, marketing or public relations or IT knowledge. The list is endless and it is a way of providing significant expertise that the group would find costly otherwise.

22.  Give equipment that is still in good working order to a community group
If you are having a pre-Christmas clean-up, think twice before you throw items out that are still in good working order. Is there a community group that could benefit from using them or could they sell them at their next trash and treasure stall?

23.  Buy and extra toy/present to donate to a group
Buy an extra toy or present this Christmas and put it in the collection box where available at  your local shopping centre, office or church. Many department stores such as K-Mart (under the Wishing Tree) collect presents to be distributed to disadvantaged groups by community organisations such as the Salvation Army, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Charity Link and the Smith Family. 

24.  Donate some non-perishable food
During your weekly grocery shopping, put an extra can of non-perishable food in your trolley and place it in the donation bin at your supermarket. The Salvation Army hopes to hand out 150,000 food hampers to families in need from food left in donation bins in all Coles supermarkets until Christmas Eve.

25. If you're an animal love, donate some petfood
Similarly, why not buy an extra can of pet food at the supermarket and donate it to the local animal shelter. Shelters also need items like blankets and are always on the lookout for new members and volunteers to cope with the increased number of animals abandoned post-Christmas.

26. Keep an eye on next year's date with a community group calendar
It's almost time to toss out that 2002 calendar. Why not update your 2003 calendar by buying one of the ones on sales through your favourite community group. It's a good way to support a group and you can then mark on it some of the dates of the groups' fundraising events during the year.

27. Find a good use for Aunt Molly's last birthday present
Everyone has a couple of unused or unopened presents given to them during the year that just sit in a cupboard (the one with all the socks and hankies or the shocker that Aunt Molly gave you!). Instead of letting them gather dust, why not donate them to a community group to use as a prize in a raffle, auction or fundraiser?

28. Give a community group the gift of music .... yes even Gomer Pyle records qualify apparently
Go through your old record and CD collection and donate any old ones that you don't listen to anymore to one of your local community groups that are  holding a fete or to the local op-shop. Amazing as it is, there is always someone else out there who thought Gomer Pyle was a star.

29. Donate your old printer cartridges to be recycled.
How many times have you thrown out your old computer printer cartridges and ribbons? You can actually get money for them and a number of schools and community groups are now collecting old cartridges to raise money. Find one near you that is, and either donate the cartridges or get the refund yourself and donate it to a local group.

30. Be a mentor and pass your knowledge on
Pass on your expertise to a young community leader coming through. We talk about time and money, why not give your experience by working with young leaders and mentoring them. It gives them the chance to bounce ideas off someone with experience and also can save community groups from wasting time and money by working out a more efficient and effective solution.

31. Volunteer to help welfare agencies serve Christmas lunch 
Not everybody has the chance for a big Christmas lunch with family. If you are looking at being home on your own why not volunteer to help prepare and serve lunch at one of the many events held to offer a good meal, good company and good wishes to disadvantaged or homeless people in your area on Christmas Day.

32. Volunteer to help deliver Christmas parents to disadvantaged families 
Groups such as the Smith Family are always on the lookout for volunteers to help deliver hampers and boxes of Christmas toys. See the joy that giving really does bring to people.

33. You want fashion - tried pre-loved or re-loved gear
Consider buying some of your original fashions from a community organisation. some groups like the Brotherhood of St Laurence now have a fashion outlet Hunter Gatherer   and many other community groups now produce merchandise and clothing carrying their message and logo.

34. Make your Kris Kringle count
Many workplaces organise a Kris Kringle gift to a Christmas Party. Instead of buying a $5 or $10 gift, why not everyone nominate their favourite community group and the person who draws them in the Kris Kringle makes a donation on their behalf.

35. Trade in the treadly and donate your old bike
If you are buying a new bike for the kids this Christmas (or even for yourself) don't throw out the old one with the rubbish. Give your old bike to an organisation that repairs bikes and donates them to disadvantaged children.

36. Hang onto your milk tops (use the milk first)
Many schools and community groups save the milk tops from Paul's milk that offer community groups 10c or 20c for each one. If you use it at home or at the office, collect the lids and donate to a local school or group nominated by staff. 

37. Sign up a friend as a member of their favourite community group
Sign up a friend as a member of a community group as a Christmas present. Pick a group you know they will benefit from or a cause they already support. Not only saves them money but provides an ongoing connection to a community organisation.

38. Haven't got time to leave the office? Consider virtual volunteering
Consider virtual volunteering. If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organisations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work online.  This might take the form of giving free legal advice, typing an essay for a person with a disability, or simply keeping in contact with someone who needs a friend. Virtual volunteering can be a way for you to help if you have limited time or mobility or if you simply enjoy computers and want to employ your computer skills in your volunteer work.

39. Donate a gold coin at your next party
At your Christmas party this year, ask everyone to throw in a gold coin to go to a nominated community group. If you can't all agree on the group to help put the names of the groups in a hat and then draw one (or two) and split the money between them.

40. Read everything in your bookshelf? Donate the contents and start again
Clean out your bookshelves. Book stalls are a staple of any fete or fair and some groups will collect books year-round to stockpile for a big annual sale.

41. Take a stall at a market and donate the takings
Take a stall at a market. Instead of donating all your retro gear, signed Peter Andre CD, favourite Barbie or platform shoes, why not take a stall at a trash and treasure market and donate the takings to your favourite community group. 

42. Send a card to say Thanks
Ask your children to make their own special Christmas cards and post them to community groups thanking them for their help during the past 12 months. Think of groups that have helped you or your family or that deserve a thank-you for their work this year. If you don't have kids, make the cards yourself!

43. Don't waste water. Wait for a community car wash. 
With the drought affecting all communities, water is a precious commodity so if you need to clean your car for Christmas, why not wait till you see a community group car wash?  Car washes are a favourite way for groups to raise money.

44. Attend Carols by Candlelight
Attend Carols by Candlelight, either the major one in your capital city or one of the many thousands of events scattered around the country. Hopefully the insurance companies, buoyed by the success of their public liability campaign, are past playing Scrooge this year and will provide insurance to allow these events to go ahead. Make sure you take your family and encourage friends and neighbours to go.

45. Better still, help organise Carols by Candlelight
Better still, volunteer to help organise your local Carols by Candlelight or to help out on the night. Maybe you could type up song books, help set up the stage or audio equipment or hand out candles to people as they arrive. Or you could show up the next morning to assist in the clean-up operation.

46. Get your gifts wrapped by a community group stall
If you are getting your Christmas gifts wrapped, look for a gift-wrapping service run by a community group at your shopping centre. If there isn't one, ask the centre management why not.

47. Double up for luck. Give two gold coins instead of one
If you do find a community group gift-wrapping service, consider giving two gold coins instead of one or a small donation on top of the cost.

48. Attend a local Christmas concert
While on the entertainment bent, attend a Christmas concert run by your local school or community group. Clap loudly and make a donation

49. Email this list to your friend and family or to your boss!
Email this list to your friends or family or ask your employer to post it on the office or work intranet as a way of encouraging people to think of their local communities at this time of year.

50. Volunteer to help out at a local seniors club or group
Find out if there is a community group that supports older people in your community who would appreciate someone to help with their Christmas shopping, or hanging their Christmas lights.

51. Check to see if your elderly neighbours need some help
Or even closer to home, if you know elderly friends or neighbours that you know are now either house-bound or struglgle to get out and carry groceries etc, offer to help them out.

52. Provide a much-need break for a carer
If you have a friend or a neighbour who is a full-time carer, offer to step in and help for a couple of hours so they can get out and do a bit of Christmas shopping or just have a break for a couple of hours.

53. Sponsor a local community event
If your business is in a position to do so, why not sponsor an event held by a community group in your area. It doesn't have to be a major event but helps build a relationship with your local community (and local customers).

54. Give your tickets away to someone who needs them more
If your business already sponsors an event or a major event that involves getting free tickets to a show or sporting event, why not ask the committee or Board to consider donating some of their usual allocation to a community group to either raffle or auction as a fundraiser or to reward some of their hard-working volunteers with a day/;night out.

55. Organise Christmas drinks for your neighbours
Organise Christmas drinks or a barbeque for residents in your street. While it doesn't raise funds for a group, it does promote a sense of community and that's what it's all about.

56. Use your own Christmas lunch to raise money as well as laughs
Hold a fun fundraiser during your family's Christmas lunch. Put a jar in the middle of the table and have guests donate $1 for every bad joke, "blooper" or extra helping of Christmas pudding. At the end of the day let the family choose a community group or charity to donate the money to.

57. Anyone who thinks the old photocopier trick is still funny pays $20 
Try the same thing at your work Christmas party and imagine how much you could raise just with the bad jokes from your boss' Christmas speech. Anyone who attempts the old photocopier trick is up for an automatic $20 fine as well as a well-deserved counselling..

58. Set up a Christmas tree at your workplace
Set up a Christmas giving tree at your workplace and ask colleagues to bring gifts to put under the tree. Find a community group or charity that distributes presents to underprivileged children and give them the gifts before Christmas. Maybe you could help hand them out so you can see your efforts at work

59. Buy from businesses that support groups in your local community
Where possible, buy Christmas presents or supplies for your Christmas festivities from retailers or companies that donate a percentage of their profit to charity. Companies usually promote if they give funds to a major charity but read newsletters and ask your treasurer to find out who supports your local group - you should try to support the local retailer who donated the hamper for your latest raffle or auction.  

60. Buy a cake or pudding from a local community group
Often Christmas cakes and puddings are sold specifically to raise money for certain community groups. If you're not making your own or you're adding one to a hamper for friends, try and target one of these.

61. Got a bonus. How about sharing it around?
If you've had a good year and receive a Christmas bonus, consider giving a portion of it to a community group that you think deserves support.

62. Buy a pet from an animal shelter
If you're looking for a new pet for Christmas, visit an animal shelter instead of a pet shop. Unfortunately, there are plenty of animals looking for homes. But if you're buying an animal, remember that a pet isn't just for Christmas, it's for life.

63. Play Santa - help to sponsor or organise a special day for children
Special Children's Christmas Parties are held in many locations for children who have disabilities or are disadvantaged and might otherwise miss out on Christmas festivities. These big events need sponsors and volunteers to help out on the day - find out if there is one near you and offer your time.

64. When Opportunity comes knocking
If your company is having a fancy dress or "themed" Christmas party, why not buy your outfit or some clothing accessories from a community opportunity shop.

65. Raise a guide dog puppy
Instead of buying a new dog for Christmas, raise a guide dog puppy. Foster families can take a young Labrador into their home for 12 months before it is ready to become a seeing-eye dog for the blind. Raising a pup requires a lot of work and the dogs have to be properly fed, groomed and given lots of exercise. But it is very rewarding and great fun. Visit or  or similar groups in your state/territory.

66. Don't eat them all - tempt your workmates
A chocolate drive is an easy way to raise money for your community group, and your friends or workmates will find it even harder to resist the temptation at Christmas. Suggest the fundraiser to your group and take the chocolates to work to sell.

67. Ask guests to donate a gift rather than a bottle
If you're holding a Christmas party at home or at work, ask guests to bring a gift that you can donate to a local community group or put under a giving tree to be distributed to disadvantaged children in your area.

68. Lend a hand at a Christmas party
Is your community group holding a Christmas party? If they are you can help organise it or help out on the day (could you fit into that Santa suit?).

69. Make a toy or gift with your own hands
Make a toy or a gift and donate it to a community group that can give it to a child at Christmas or sell it to raise funds.

70. Set up a collection box in the kitchen
Set up a charity box in a corner of your kitchen or living room which any family members can put something when they feel generous - when it gets close to Christmas find a community group to donate the items to.

71. Don't throw coupons away - save them for a local group
Newspapers often run promotions asking readers to collect coupons which they can cash in for items such as books and computers for schools or community groups. If you are not involved in a group yourself, you can still cut out the coupons from your paper and give them to a local group to help them meet their target faster.Or ask friends at work if their group is collecting them.

72. Donate on behalf of your clients or customers
If your business normally sends something out to thank your valued clients, customers or employees for their support why not do something different this year and say that you have made a donation to a local community group on behalf your clients and customers.

73. Support the crisis and help lines.
Crisis telephone lines need volunteer counsellors to answer phones and, unfortunately, Christmas can be a time of high demand. Find out about helplines in your area and offer to help or to undertake the training required to man the helplines so you can help out next Christmas..

74. Buy a ribbon. Buy a badge. Buy a pen
If you see an organisation selling ribbons, pens or badges for a fundraising appeal go out of your way to purchase one. And wear the ribbon or badge to show your support.

75. Fancy yourself as a sales guru -  run a charity auction
Make an added attraction for your office Christmas party by finding companies who will donate items for an auction - if you can get celebrities or sportspeople to sign items, even better. Donate the proceeds to a nominated charity or community group. 

76. Don't like the spotlight - help behind the scenes
If you don't feel confident enough to help a community group in public, see if they would like a hand behind the scenes. Every group needs people to help type letters, answer phones and do countless other jobs like filing and photocopying - especially at Christmas.

77. Sizzle up to a snag.
You've been resisting them every Saturday morning all year, but why not stop at the local sausage sizzle and grab a snag to support your local group.

78. Stop talking. Get together and make a project happen
Get a group together and do something practical for a local community group, such as giving a community facility a new coat of paint

79. Put your old Christmas decorations to good use
With your workmates or friends help decorate a local shelter, refuge or community centre for Christmas. Make a few phone calls to see who needs a hand and if they need you to bring your own decorations. Maybe you could get your children to make some for you to hang up or you could just donate these to a shelter to add to their decorations if they are already in place

80. Drop some of that unwanted spare change
Give some spare change (or more, if you can afford it) to buskers or Christmas carollers at your local shopping centre raising money for a community group.

81. Talk to your neighbours
Talk to your neighbours. If you don't know them very well "What are you doing for Christmas?" is an easy way to start a conversation

82. Mend bridges. Contact someone you haven't spoken to for a while
Contact someone you haven't spoken to for a long time or have fought with during the year. Christmas is a good time to heal wounds and start again.

83. Be more tolerant of others in the community
Make an effort to be more tolerant of other people in your community. While people with other cultural, religious or ethnic backgrounds might not celebrate Christmas, the whole community would function better if everyone communicated a bit more.

84. If there's a scheme that helps community groups, register yours
If you shop at a supermarket or business that offers to give a percentage of its profits or a percentage of the money you spend to a community group, make sure you register one. 

85. Support businesses that provide a percentage to local groups
Ask your community groups and schools if there are businesses that financially support them if members or supporters buy from them (i.e. fruit shops, butchers etc) and if the quality and price is right, try shopping there.

86. Help a community group with a grants submission
If you have skill putting together submissions or writing project plans, offer to write grant applications for your local community group or to review them before they are sent off to the funder.

87. Any celebrity friends? Sign them up
If you have access to celebrities or friends who are in the public eye, ask them to put their pen to work for you by signing some memorabilia that can be donated to a group to raise money.

88. Make your Christmas tree a live one
Make your Christmas tree a live one - sponsor a tree in a community garden. If there isn't a community garden near you, create one!

89. Hold drinks for your hard-working community group volunteers
Offer to hold a dinner or drinks for your local community group to thank volunteers or staff or to provide a get-together for major supporters or donors

90. Ask your friends to give money (to others) not presents this year
Ask your friends not to give you Christmas presents this year but instead to donate the money they would have spent to a nominated community group. Don't forget you can drefer them to the National Community Giving Centre at

91. Sponsor a child
Consider sponsoring a child through an overseas aid agency or helping to sponsor the education of an Australian child.

92. Don't be a spectator. Get involved!
Do you just receive a newsletter from some community groups that you are a member of but really don't know much about? Make an effort to get to know what they do and find out what you can be doing to support them.

93. Become a tutor
Your knowledge and skills can teach others how to do any number of important jobs, from using computers to managing a budget or a successful vegetable garden. Volunteer home tutors help newly-arrived migrants learn English and assist people who are hearing impaired. Your local council can provide information on groups near you that could use your help.

94. Get involved in Christmas - don't watch it pass by
Don't stay at home. Get involved in your community's local Christmas activities, whether that's singing carols, a fair, function or a community get-together 

95. See if you have something in the back shed that could grant a wish
Some groups will have a wishlist of unusual equipment or goods they would buy if they had a one-off donation. Check your local groups and see if they have a wishlist. If not, why not help them to create one. You never know when someone is going to read your newsletter or website and have exactly what you want.

96. Spread the word about how good your groups are
If you have enjoyed the support, encouragement or assistance of a local community group - or just think they have done a super job - why not let others in the community know. Send a letter to the local politicians, councillors and media to let everyone know how important and valuable the community groups are.

97. Sew what? How about some clothes?
Instead of handing over old clothes from the back of your wardrobe, make an item of clothing to donate to a local charity or homeless shelter.

98. Use your genius for good
We have had our go - now it's your turn. We know this is by no means a full list. Think of some new ways to help local community groups and let us know at and we will add them to the list. Or make contact direct with your local community group.

99. Print this out and put it on the staff lunchroom wall
Send this list of ideas on to friends and workmates to let them know all the ways they can help. Or print it out and put it on the board at work.

100. Link your intranet to this page at 
Ask your boss or the IT section of your workplace to add the link to this list on your work intranet so other colleagues are aware of ways they can help their community

101. Smile. 
Smile! (1) It's good for you and (2) if you manage to do even one of the things listed here, you've helped to make a difference.

Want to know what local organisations there are in your area? Why not look search through the 12,000+ groups that are listed on the Directory of Organisations. The most effective search method is to type in your postcode and tick the box for organisations within 10-30kms.

(i) And remember, you can search for an online appeal for a community group you support at the National Community Giving Centre at
(ii). You can look through some of the many Christmas appeals from around Australia by visiting Our list of 2002 Christmas appeals

****Could Media representatives wanting to publish this list in part or full please contact Kathy Richardson on (03) 9320 6815 or by email at