9 January 2020

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

| Dominic Giannini
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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 redcross.org.au/grants 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 https://register.redcross.org.au to share details of family and friends you are worried about with the Red Cross.

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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.

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

Thank you. I trust the Red Cross to get our donations to those in need quicker and more efficiently than any government bureaucracy.

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