November 22, 2012
As the summer bushfire season approaches in many regions across Australia, giving website GiveNow.com.au is urging Australians to become better disaster givers.
The call has been made as GiveNow prepares to launch its the seventh annual celebration of giving, GiveNow Week (November 26 to December 2), which is held each year in the lead-up to Christmas.
"Unfortunately the festive season tends to correspond with floods and bushfires and other natural disasters," said GiveNow Executive Director Kylie Cirak.
"Fingers crossed that we will have a disaster-free holiday period but sadly there will always be another disaster sometime.
"I'd urge every Australian to use GiveNow Week as an opportunity to think about how you give, rather than waiting until emotions are high and the need is urgent."
Ms Cirak said Australians were generous and eager to help in times of trouble and trauma, but often what they donated was not what was needed.
"Some people think that any type of giving is good, but in fact some types of giving turn out to be a hindrance rather than a help," she said. "If you know what and how to give, you can truly make a difference."
GiveNow has developed a plain-English fact sheet to help guide people's thinking when it comes to disaster giving. The fact sheet is based on the National Guidelines for Managing Donated Goods, which were funded by the Federal Government and launched by the South Australian Minister for Emergency Services in April.
The promotion of better disaster giving is just one of a number of activities that are taking place during GiveNow Week, Australia's biggest annual celebration of the community spirit.
The event is anchored by a website - www.givenow.com.au/givenowweek - which provides inspiration and ideas that will help turn people into better givers, as well as listing around 2500 great causes that are ready and eager for donations.
"Any one of those great groups could do with your support in the lead-up to Christmas," Ms Cirak said.
"The GiveNow Week website also offers tips for enjoying a sustainable Christmas, and how to best use your money when buying Christmas trees, food and gifts."
GiveNow Week activities are being coordinated by the Our Community Foundation, which runs the GiveNow.com.au giving service, providing access to commission-free online donations for community groups of all sizes right across the country. Both GiveNow Week and GiveNow.com.au are supported by Westpac.