Australia’s charity regulator is urging people to be cautious when they make a donation to help people impacted by the disastrous floods in south-east Queensland.

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner Dr Gary Johns recommended donors check the ACNC Charity Register to verify that organisations claiming to support flood victims are real charities.

“Our hearts go out to everyone in south-east Queensland, many of whom have been devastated by the floods around Bundaberg, Gympie and the surrounding region. We see images on the news of people who have lost everything and we want to help,” Dr Johns said.

“Unfortunately, we know scammers will often try to take advantage of our goodwill and generosity following a natural disaster. So, it is important to quickly check the Charity Register to make sure you are giving money to a legitimate charity, rather than someone pretending to be one.

“The Register will show you information including that a charity is officially registered, the kind of work it does, where it operates, its ABN and a link to check if donations are tax deductible. That means you can be confident that your donation is going to a really deserving organisation doing great work. Charities provide essential support to people at times like this and, in turn, rely on the community to support their work.”

Before you make a donation the ACNC recommends you:

  • Look for established, registered charities running verified appeals.
  • Do a quick check to see if the organisation is on the ACNC Charity Register and details about its main work.
  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails and social media posts which may take you to a fake, scam website. Find the charity’s website in a search engine or on the Charity Register.
  • Don’t give your credit card and bank account details on social media and be cautious online.
  • If you get a call claiming to be from a charity, say you’ll call back. Search the Charity Register and call back on the number shown there.

Dr Johns said cash donations are often of most value to charities, rather than material goods, as it allows them to provide the particular type of assistance most needed. He said many may also need extra volunteers at this time as the pandemic is creating extra pressure on volunteer resources.

The ACNC has also announced that charities operating in the declared disaster zone will be granted an automatic extension on annual reporting deadlines. Affected charities can find more information here.