Australians have given the Red Cross more than $3 million a day in donations, but where is it going?

Dominic Giannini 9 January 2020 60

Close up top view of young people putting their hands together. Friends with stack of hands showing unity. Photo: File.

The Red Cross has received more than $25 million in donations to the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund since New Year’s Eve, but do you actually know where your money is being spent?

Red Cross teams are on the ground supporting people at evacuation centres and recovery hubs across NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, with funds being distributed to those who need support.

Support services include helping people prepare for an emergency, providing a safe place or helping people to take shelter, psychological first aid, information services, and practical support over the upcoming months and years it will take to recover and rebuild.

While the large majority of the team are volunteers, the Red Cross told Region Media that funds from the Disaster Relief and Recovery funds cover their costs, which include training, equipment and transport, as well as the coordination of teams in the community.

As of Monday, 6 January, the organisation had started providing emergency grants to people across Australia whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or made uninhabitable by the fires since July 2019.

The Red Cross will not deduct more than 10 per cent from the funds raised to cover administration costs, which include IT, human resources and finance teams, the organisation told Region Media.

“While it costs Red Cross more than this to support our operations, we are committed to maximising the direct use of funds generously donated for our emergency relief and recovery work,” it said.

Additionally, Register.Find.Reunite, a service that helps people find friends and loved ones after an emergency, has registered over 30,000 people and has taken more than 5,000 enquiries.

If you want to register for a grant you can visit and register your contact details. Alternatively, you can call 1800 268 772 during business hours.

If you have concerns about the condition or whereabouts of a loved one in a bushfire zone, you can visit to share details of family and friends you are worried about with the Red Cross.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
60 Responses to Australians have given the Red Cross more than $3 million a day in donations, but where is it going?
Watson Ian Norma Watson Ian Norma 10:34 pm 12 Jan 20

All the charities concerned should provide a clear statement to how its divided for everyone to know the outcome

    Morris Reinbear Morris Reinbear 12:35 am 13 Jan 20

    This, of course, would add to the admin costs, but if you're happy with that... have you rung and asked them?

    Watson Ian Norma Watson Ian Norma 5:22 pm 13 Jan 20

    Morris Reinbear and under these circumstances why can't these charities provide free admin services the same as our volunteer firefighters provide their services free, all money collected for the bushfire should be 100percent directed to restoration of people's loss including animals etc and not utilised by charities or Governments to feather their own nests🤔🙄😳👎👎

Jan Fisher Jan Fisher 11:25 am 11 Jan 20

Good question

Annette Lewer Annette Lewer 10:32 am 10 Jan 20

You would hope that money donated towards bushfire appeals would specifically be directed to that cause. I understand administrative costs would of course occur. Perhaps all organizations involved should be publicly accountable at the end of this process. After all substantial amounts have been donated. We should all know where the funds were allocated.

    Morris Reinbear Morris Reinbear 12:48 am 13 Jan 20

    Good idea. Of course this will add substantially to the admin costs, but what the heck!

Gail Byron Peattie Gail Byron Peattie 3:14 pm 09 Jan 20

The body established by the prime minister should be responsible for ensuring that this money is only expended on delivery and administration associated with our bush fires. Without this accountability funds could be expended on programs overseas.

    Morris Reinbear Morris Reinbear 12:50 am 13 Jan 20

    Exactly! Wouldn't want it spent overseas. Let's reject donations from overseas and tell them to spend or at home.

Beja Smith Beja Smith 9:27 am 09 Jan 20

My Daughter lost her home years ago and Red Cross were the only ones that gave immediate assistance not the salvation army.

Victor Chatyk Victor Chatyk 2:55 am 09 Jan 20

Admin and salaries of course. You are better off giving a victim the money directly rather than giving to charities.

I wish if there was a law which forces them to disclose their financial spending transactions. This rot has gone for too long unchecked

    Morris Reinbear Morris Reinbear 12:47 am 13 Jan 20

    What rot? I think you'll find there is such a law because of their tax status.

Dianne Garner Dianne Garner 10:15 pm 08 Jan 20

Why can't legislation be introduced which forces charities to show on all publications how much of each dollar is actually spent on the purpose of the charity?

Caitrin James Caitrin James 4:06 pm 08 Jan 20

The G Spot donated goods are being distributed directly from trucks to communities in need who have asked for the assistance - these donations are not being dropped to charitable organisations and evacuation centres for them to co-ordonate distribution. Andrew Dale/The G Spot are co-ordinating the whole chain from donators to recipients in need. They are not burdening any other relief efforts with their generosity. They will keep delivering as long those in need hold their hands out and those who can contribute hold their hands up. GET BEHIND THEM AND STAY BEHIND THEM.

    Andrew Toy Andrew Toy 7:40 am 10 Jan 20

    Caitrin James I can vouch for this

    As 1 of the delivery drivers I have seen first hand what is happening and where the goods are going

    Caitrin James Caitrin James 10:06 am 10 Jan 20

    Andrew Toy additionally what I think people didn't realise when they implicated Andrew Dale's/The G Spot Drive was that this is not one of those efforts where people just turn up with what they want to donate, [you know firsthand that] the goods being sourced and delivered are what the specific recipients are saying they need and can't get. The efforts of you and every other of the many fantastic volunteers are nothing short of amazing. So many selfless people across so many communities - thanks for being awesome human beings

    Andrew Toy Andrew Toy 10:13 am 10 Jan 20

    Caitrin James totally agreed

Marie Falconer Marie Falconer 3:35 pm 08 Jan 20

Becoming clear that money is what is needed not goods as resources are stretched trying to sort categorise, and distribute stuff. However Wildlife orgs (WIRES) need people to make knitted pouches and cotton linings, and locally set up watering stations

Victoria Pennington Victoria Pennington 2:51 pm 08 Jan 20

Rhi .... so, something maybe?

Barbs Mia Barbs Mia 11:57 am 08 Jan 20

Sponsor the G spot in Canberra they are organising trucks with donations & these trucks are travelling through dangerous roads to give all donations direct to people stranded out in the rural areas view The G Spot on Facebook page & see for yourselves how Andrew Dale has done & continuously is doing for all fire affected communities they are genuine & doing the ground work directly with no admin fees whatever you donate goes directly to these people in need & they have been doing this ever since the fires started & saved a lot of people quickly they were the first to go out.

Cassandra Inkley Cassandra Inkley 10:04 am 08 Jan 20

What about all those millions raised by a celebrity comedian? Who will administer that? Where will that go to? What regulatory body watches that 40+ million?

Huge effort and amazing to see humanity come together like this but what happens to all that money now?

    Serena Rigaletti Serena Rigaletti 11:21 am 09 Jan 20

    Cassandra Inkley, the money she is raising is going directly to the NSW Rural Fire Service, it'll then be up to whoever manages NSW Rural Fire Service's funding to administer the funding.

John Hynes John Hynes 7:03 am 08 Jan 20

More of it gets to where it is supposed to go than if you went down there yourself. How about people get as motivated to see how much of the money the public service spends on work. There is a real value for money investigation I would love to see.

Acton Acton 6:58 am 08 Jan 20

If the critics of charities were honest with themselves they would realise their criticism is just an excuse to disguise their own meanness and unwillingness to donate. Giving something is better than giving and doing nothing.

    Chris Green Chris Green 1:11 am 13 May 20

    Giving money to charities doesn’t make be nicer, or be a good person, it makes you a fool. Very little of your dollar actually gets spent on the charitable purposes, you are most likely just covering wages

Melinda Parrett Melinda Parrett 11:37 pm 07 Jan 20

Local animal rescue groups are in need!

Barb Revill Barb Revill 11:28 pm 07 Jan 20

When my parents town was ravaged by bush fire, the Salvos provided most of the meals and water to firies and residents.

the Red Cross were organising donations of clothing and money to people. They also helped with temporary accommodation.

A church group set up little ‘delis’ around the burnt areas so residents could get toiletries, non-perishable food and water for about three weeks after the fire went through.

So money does get through to those in need.

Kelley Bloodrose Kelley Bloodrose 10:46 pm 07 Jan 20

Vinnies do not take administrative fees out of donations made for disasters. They explicitly state that every dollar goes to those affected.

    Morris Reinbear Morris Reinbear 12:37 am 13 Jan 20

    The admin fees come from other donations.

Wayne Palmer Wayne Palmer 9:55 pm 07 Jan 20

After the Canberra fires, Red Cross was given a huge amount of money for local support. Interesting how a new building then popped up...

Margie Dorman Margie Dorman 9:02 pm 07 Jan 20

Thanks for all this sound advice it’s great. 👏

Christine Rusan Christine Rusan 8:34 pm 07 Jan 20

Money is best going to the community who has been passing on food, drinks gift cards and supplies. I won't give a cent to big organisations. There are many Go Fund Me pages, notifications in Canberra Notice Board or Batemans Bay pages that are asking for help. Give straight to the source.

    Barb Revill Barb Revill 11:10 pm 07 Jan 20

    Christine Rusan sorry but I wouldn’t be touching a GoFund page as it’s too difficult to tell real people in need from the scammers

    Christine Rusan Christine Rusan 12:16 am 08 Jan 20

    Barb Revill I can certainly understand this. I only donate to the Go Fund pages I know are not fake.

    Natalina Ireland Natalina Ireland 2:34 pm 08 Jan 20

    Doesn't Gofund charge an admin fee or a commission?? same/same as charities that have admin costs???

    Christine Rusan Christine Rusan 9:08 pm 08 Jan 20

    Natalina Ireland it's far less. A much bigger percentage over 90% goes to the cause.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site