With thousands of charities and projects competing for your support, it’s important to do some research to make sure your money will go where you want it to
Here are some things to think about before you decide to donate to a charity or contribute to a crowd funding project.
1. Choosing a charity to donate to
Things to check before you donate
a. Check it’s a legitimate charity
Call the charity directly to verify their contact details and be sure to cross check their phone number in the telephone directory.
b. Check if the donation is tax deductible
A donation is only tax deductible if it is given to a charity that has been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) organisation.
To receive a deduction the donation must be $2 or more and must be claimed in your tax return for the income year in which the donation was made. In some circumstances, you can elect to spread the tax deduction over five income years. For more information visit the ATO’s gifts and donations webpage.
You can check if an organisation is a DGR by visiting the Australian Business Register or phoning the ATO on 13 28 61.
2. Ways to donate
There are a number of ways you can donate to a charity.
• One-off or ongoing – You may decide to make a regular, set donation or you may prefer making a one-off donation following a particular fundraising campaign or an urgent need, like a natural disaster.
• Workplace giving – You can support a charity through automatic deductions from your salary. If your
employer has a workplace giving scheme your donation can be deducted from your pay and sent directly to your preferred charity.
• Leave a bequest in your will – Another way of donating is to leave a bequest in your will. Contact the charity directly to discuss your plans.
• Get involved – Instead of a cash donation, you could contribute to your favourite charity by donating goods, your time or even your skills or expertise.
3. How to complain about a charity
You can complain about a charity to the relevant state or territory regulator. To find the regulator in your state visit the ATO: State and territory government requirements – fundraising. You can also complain to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission if the charity is registered, see the ACNC: Raise a concern about a charity webpage.
Australian charities working in the area of overseas aid, who get funding from AusAID, must be members of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and must adhere to the ACFID Code of Conduct. For more information about the code, including its signatories and how to register a complaint, see the ACFID: Code of Conduct webpage.
Be wary of giving credit card details
If you’ve been contacted by phone do not give out your credit card or banking details. There will be other ways of donating if it’s a reputable charity.
Ask about these options and make sure you check the validity of any website or social media page you’re directed to.
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To find out about the latest charity scams see the ACCC’s SCAM watch charity scams webpage.