Australian bushfires donations
Every state and territory in Australia has experienced fires this summer. The biggest fires burn along stretches of the eastern and southern coasts, where most of the population lives.
According to BBC News, more than 6.3 million hectares have been burned so far—one hectare is roughly the size of a sports field. This year, a natural weather phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole has brought a hot, dry spell across the country, which scientists believe caused these fires.
Bushfires are very difficult to fight as authorities often have to focus on stopping the spread before putting the fires out. Australian firefighters and volunteers are working to control the flames with help from the US, Canada, and New Zealand.
According to Scientific American the fires have threatened more than 800 million animals in the state of New South Wales alone. BBC News also states that the koala population is declining with as few as 43,000 left in the wild.
People across the world are putting the fate of these animals in their own hands through social media. A model, also known as the naked philanthropist, went viral for offering nude photos in exchange for donations to Australia, she has raised an estimated $1 million. Authorities said that donating and fundraising can be the most helpful thing to do.
“Donating blankets and other sorts of goods can overwhelm charities,” says Krystian Seibert, an industry fellow at Swinburne University’s Centre for Social Impact in an interview with The Guardian. “Unless you are responding to a specific request for goods or services, the best thing that somebody can do to help is actually donate cash,” Seibert advises.
If you are unable to give cash, but still want to assist in some way, contacting a major charitable organization to offer your time is a good alternative. It’s important to research the organization you are donating to so it is clear where your money will go.
Some first-time donors mistakenly donate to scam accounts. An influx of posts on social media about the Australian bushfires have caused authorities to question wether these donation links are credible or fraudulent. There are more than 3,000 GoFundMe campaigns alone, but they may not all be legit.
“I think donations will help, at least I hope they do, but I think there are definitely scam websites trying to take advantage,” Adriana Burger (’22) said. “I feel there is more good than bad in the world, and a lot of influencers I know would most likely not post a scam on their stories so I would normally donate to that website.”
WUSA, a CBS affiliated news outlet, published an article to inform people on how to verify a donation campaign.
“First make sure to check how the campaign organizer is related to recipient. Next, research what the purpose of the campaign is, and how the funds will be used. Be wary of any photos that show gruesome or emotional photos. Third, check to see whether the recipient is in control of withdrawing the money. If there isn’t a clear path for the funds to reach those affected, you might want to rethink giving,” author Eliana Block said.
If you see a charity you haven’t heard of, make sure it’s an official nonprofit before donating. You can search Australia’s charity database at acnc.gov.au/charity .
“I love when I see things on people’s Instagram stories. I think it’s incredible how everyone from all over the world is coming together to support Australia,” Burger said.
When donating through Instagram campaigns, it’s important to determine their credibility. Credible donation organizations include: Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief , Salvation Army Disaster Appeal, Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, GIVIT, RSPCA New South Wales and, Wildlife Information and Rescue Service.
Australia needs the help of everyone. Animal habitats and lives are being destroyed, communities and houses are being burned, and authorities are looking for help. Donating money can be the most helpful way to stop the fires. Making sure to donate through a credible organization is essential. Researching the organization and following the steps above to verify the fundraiser’s credibility will help Australia stop the fires.