Culture / 31.01.2017

Trend: Become a Charity Connoisseur

Whilst December is the month of giving, January for most of us is the month of receiving. Most notably, credit card statements, and lengthy ones at that! So now that month’s behind you and you’re settled back in the office, set yourself a philanthropic goal to kick-start the year with a positive spin. Choose a charity to invest in deeply, rather than scattering smaller funds across multiple organisations and consider volunteering your time and expertise or donating money. Here are our top 5 Australian charities worth opening your pockets for:

 

Fitted for Work

Essentially, this organisation helps women experiencing disadvantage in Sydney and Melbourne get work and keep it. They may include survivors of domestic violence, single parents, women with disabilities, the culturally and linguistically diverse and young women with no tertiary education and under-developed skill sets.

It provides HR services with job hunting and interview assistance through to hands on fittings for and loans of professional attire (provided by clothing donations) in lieu of preparing women for work interviews. It also offers online and face-to-face mentoring, resume assistance and workshops so women can gain access to workplaces and professionals who donate their time and knowledge to share new skills with participants.

How to help: donate clothing, donate money, volunteer and mentor.

Fitted for work


 

OzHarvest

This nationwide organisation is the primary perishable food rescue association in Australia that collects quality excess food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 900 charities across the country to prevent hunger in Australia.

How to help: donate money directly or volunteer to collect leftover food or deliver it to those in need. You can even cook for a cause – a unique team building activity. The hands-on cooking class is open to corporate groups of all sizes at various locations across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. OzHarvest chefs get the teams busy in the kitchen transforming rescued food into meals that are then delivered directly to disadvantaged communities.

Oz Harvest


 

Camp Quality

Camp Quality was ranked as Australia’s most trusted children’s charity in the AMR Charity Reputation Index in 2015, Camp Quality is a charity that offers support and relief to families with children suffering from cancer. In 2016, it was estimated that 650 children aged 0-14 years were newly diagnosed with cancer in Australia.

They offer:
A Holiday Respite House in Salamander Bay, Port Stephens, giving eligible families some essential time together to unwind, away from the intensity of their cancer journey. This is available at no cost to families on the East Coast who have a child on active treatment, are palliative or bereaved;

A Financial Support Program providing aid for bereaved families in extreme difficulty. In some cases they will help with funeral costs for a child;

A Child Life Therapy Program teaching coping strategies to children in hospital to help them deal with their illness inside and outside of hospital;

Camps providing an essential break from the stress and intensity of the cancer journey.

How to help: donate money directly or volunteer at camps or in the administrative units.

Camp Quality


 

Lifeline

Read these harrowing statistics provided in late 2016 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

  • Suicide is a prominent public health concern. Over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, the average number of suicide deaths per year was 2,687;
  • In 2015, preliminary data showed a total of 3,027 deaths by suicide (12.7 per 100,000), 2,292 males (19.4 per 100,000) and 735 females (6.2 per 100,000). There were 2,864 deaths in 2014 (12.2 per 100,000);
  • In 2015, preliminary data showed an average of 8.3 deaths by suicide in Australia each day.

Lifeline is an Australia-wide crisis call centre for those thinking about suicide. Receiving more than 4,000 calls per year, it provides free, 24-hour Telephone Crisis Support services nation-wide conducted by trained volunteers and some paid staff. Volunteer Crisis Supporters provide suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance, not only via telephone but face-to-face and online. Some Lifeline centres also offer other support services which may include face to face and group counselling, assistance with food & utility bills, plus support for the elderly and frail.

Some callers feel overwhelmingly lonely, are suffering from addictions (from drugs to gambling), or are deeply affected by a trauma. Others have relationship issues or financial stresses (debt, unemployment etc.). Lifeline’s trained Telephone Crisis Supporters will:

  • listen to a caller’s situation
  • provide immediate support
  • assist to clarify options and choices available to them
  • provide them with referral information for other services in their local area.

How to help: donate money to help staff the call centres or volunteer your time.

Lifeline


 

I-Manifest

I-Manifest is an innovative Sydney-based organisation that Invests in the future for Australia’s youth. Founded by Jo Pretyman, it recognises that in a rapidly changing world, creativity is the new currency. Jo and her team provide pathways to empower young people (mostly disadvantaged and rural teens) by helping them to pursue creative careers.

Via real world learning, it delivers students with future ready skills as identified by the World Economic Forum, including: critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, curiosity, initiative, persistence, adaptability, leadership, plus social and cultural awareness. The cause is hands on, actively involving youths in practical forums and workshops plus mentorship programs with exemplary professional leaders and entrepreneurs including film and music producers, fashion designers, DJ’s, stylists, interior designers and lawyers. You can view the profiles of I-Manifest’s active mentors ranging from Dion Lee (Creative Director of fashion label, Dion Lee to Brandon Gion (Ceo, Good Design Australia).

How to help: dedicated teachers and do-good professionals can contact I-Manifest to volunteer their time to mentor the students or participate in future workshops and forums, or you can donate financially to assist with the running of the organisation.

I-Manifest

 

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR CHARITY:

Want to give but unsure of who to? ChangePath will help you decide which Australian charities fit your needs best. They’ve assessed the transparency and financial sustainability of 900+ not-for-profits across Australia so that you can donate with confidence.

Charity checklist:

  • For domestic charities and commercial fundraisers, ask if they’re a member of the FIA;
  • Check the charity is licensed by its state or territory regulator. Each state has different exemptions;
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria lists its registered charities;
  • Do your own calculations. You’ll need to flick to the end of annual reports for the figures. Compare fundraising revenue with fundraising costs and read the notes to financial statements to see how ratios are calculated;
  • Be cautious of charity dinners and balls, which may spend most of your money on the event.

Are you worried your financial donations may not be directly aiding your chosen cause? Then think about volunteer work. It’s the perfect way to know you’re really making a difference. More than 30% of Australia’s adult population volunteers with various non-profit organisations, including charities. If you’re interested in volunteering, check each charity’s website. Or use Go Volunteer to search for opportunities in your interest area and postcode.

Claiming tax deductions:

Charity donations can be claimed on your tax return if your charity is registered as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). This doesn’t affect the amount of money the charity actually receives, just what you’re entitled to deduct at tax time. There are conditions about what you can claim. Donations must be over $2 and you’ll need a receipt. You can check if an organisation is a DGR via the ABN lookup website. There’s also information about the deductibility of donations at the ATO.