What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?
Think about the causes you want to support and find out about the charities working in these areas.
- Focus on the nature of the charity's work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
- Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
- Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
- Is the charity being transparent about its activities?
If a charity is registered with us, it has met the requirements under the ACNC Act. Its listing on our register contains information that may help your decision, such as a charity's purposes, past and future activities, where it operates, who it helps, and financial information. Many charities also have more information on their websites about their objectives and the work that they do.
You may donate:
- goods – canned food, clothing, and furniture are commonly accepted.
It is a good idea to contact a charity directly and ask what help it may need. Some charities will need specific goods and some may have a surplus of particular goods. Each charity is different and it is worth asking what they need most as a way of making sure your donation is effective.
If you want to make a big donation, or leave money or gifts through your will, consider getting professional advice, such as from an accountant or lawyer, to make sure your donation or bequest gets to the right place.
How to make a tax deductible donation
Only organisations that have been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as deductible gift recipients (DGRs) are able to accept tax deductible gifts and contributions. If you donate to a DGR then you may be able to claim a tax deduction for any donations you make of $2 or more.
You can use the ACNC Charity Register to find out if a charity is a DGR. From the charity’s listing on the Charity Register, click on the button in the top right-hand corner that asks the question about whether a donation is tax deductible. This will take you to information about the charity's tax concessions, including DGR endorsement, on the Australian Business Register (ABR).
Not all organisations endorsed as DGRs are charities. Non-charitable DGRs are not listed on the ACNC Charity Register.
Volunteers help charities in many ways - from preparing food or visiting elderly people, to being a board member. If you want to volunteer, make sure:
- the charity's purpose and the way it works matches your values
- the charity needs the skills and experiences you can offer
- you are realistic about what you can contribute and understand what is expected before you commit.
If you are a volunteer, your charity has a responsibility to ensure a healthy and safe environment. You can ask whether the charity has insurance cover for volunteers.
Here are some external websites that aim to match people with volunteering opportunities:
- Australian Volunteers program, an Australian Government initiative with opportunities for Australian volunteers overseas
- Goodcompany, a not-for-profit skilled volunteering portal
- GoVolunteer at Volunteering Australia, the national peak body for the volunteering sector
- Volunteer Match at Pro Bono Australia.