As the Syrian refugee crisis continues to unfold, the national charity regulator is urging the public to donate to established humanitarian charities.
Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Susan Pascoe AM, said the Australian public’s response to the refugee crisis has been extraordinary.
“The Australian public are inherently caring and generous, and are often willing to give their time or money to support those facing a crisis,” Ms Pascoe said.
“I know that many Australians have been deeply impacted by the heart-wrenching images and stories we have seen and heard recently.
“To ensure that their valuable contributions are used to full effect, I encourage the public to donate to established humanitarian aid charities that are registered with the ACNC.
“Those seeking to donate can find registered charities on the ACNC Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity.”
Ms Pascoe also warned the public about scams.
“During tragic events we tend to see an increase in scams, so I would like to encourage the public to remain vigilant and ensure they are giving to legitimate charities.”
The ACNC encourages the public to take these steps to ensure they are confident giving to legitimate charities:
- Always ask for identification from door to door and street fundraising collectors.
- If you haven’t heard of an organisation, look them up on the ACNC Charity Register to see if they are registered.
- Do not provide your personal, credit card or online account details unless you know it is a trusted source.
- Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails - delete them.
- If you think that there is something wrong, contact the charity directly and alert them of your concerns.
Marc Purcell, the Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for Australia’s aid organisations, reiterated ACNC Commissioner Pascoe’s comments about the need for the public to donate wisely.
“Australians are very generous in their responses to humanitarian appeals and it is important to make every dollar count. So there are three things the public should consider before donating,” Mr Purcell said.
“Firstly, it is important to donate to organisations who have a track record of working on the ground where humanitarian situations arise. ACFID members have been at the forefront of assisting refugees from Syria since the conflict began and have established channels and relationships that can direct aid to those who need it most.
“Secondly, it is important to donate to organisations that are not only registered with the ACNC but abide by the ACFID Code of Conduct that ensures their fundraising efforts are transparent and accountable.
“Finally, we encourage Australians and Australian companies to donate cash, not goods, as sending goods in kind to remote overseas locations is usually costly, complex and can sometimes lead to unintended consequences.”
ACFID members with appeals can be found at acfid.asn.au/aid-issues/humanitarian-response/syria-crisis.
The ACNC Charity Register is available at acnc.gov.au/findacharity