in

7 actions you can take to support bushfire relief efforts

Thank you

Build a legacy with your money and time

In Australia, we’re waking up to another day of bushfires. In Canberra, New Years day was marked by the fact we were the most air polluted city in the world, with air levels 20 times above hazardous. We woke knowing that friends, colleagues and family had lost their homes or much more and some were still waiting to see if they would be next. I did not celebrate New Years Eve because it didn’t feel right.

People affected by the bushfires need our help, they need us to act. Your thoughts and prayers are welcome but now is the time to roll up your sleeves and help those who need it. I write about money so am coming to this from that perspective.

The most powerful things you can do with the wealth you create is to build a legacy.

No one will remember how many cars you owned when you’re done or how expensive your shoe collection is or how much super you managed to accumulate. They will remember the difference you made to the lives of people around you, what you stood for and the work you undertook to help others.

And it’s becoming clear that in 2020, we need to help to meet an immediate need.

If you are ready to help, here are the ways you can give to support bushfire relief efforts:

1. Register your interest in volunteering

Organisations including Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank have committed to supporting volunteers to take much needed leave to fight the bushfires. You have a duty to your community to volunteer in a time of need. Registering your interest now means that once the fires are out, the organisation will have time to train you up so that next time disaster strikes, you’re ready and trained to help.

Act now: Register as a volunteer for the following:

These will not be the last bushfires or disasters we see across Australia. Putting your hand up to volunteer means that we will have a larger trained workforce to support with future disasters.

2. Donate directly to families affected

If you’ve seen the bushfire coverage, you would have seen the tragic death of volunteer firefighters killed while on duty this fire season. The NSW rural fire service has set up created dedicated bank accounts to collect donations for the families of volunteer fire fighters who have lost their lives in the bushfires.

Act now: Donate directly to NSW firefighters families

3. Donate to support your country fire service

Many country fire services rely on the services of their volunteers. The rural fire services across the country play a huge community support role.

Act now: Donate directly to volunteer firefighter services:

4. Donate to organisations helping relief efforts

If you can’t volunteer for whatever reason, its time to put your hand in your pocket and donate. Many of us donate our money at tax time to organisations, particularly as it’s a tax deduction. If you were planning to donate this financial year, direct that donation to organisations who need support right now.

Act now: Donate towards to some of the following organisations:

5. Report scams

Some scams have been reported in South Australia, targeting bushfires victims. There are some disgusting people out there who are trying to take advantage of people at this. If you see scams like this, report them to Scam Watch, the ACCC service so that they can raise awareness of these scams.

Act now: Report a scam

6. Donate what you have

If you’ve rewatched Marie Kondo and associate donating with giving away physical items rather than donating money, please read this before donating. VIC emergency services have asked people to stop dropping off items recently because they aren’t able to store of sort them. Instead, they have specifically for financial donations, stating that these are much more effective and provide more flexibility than the donation of material items or pre-loved goods.

If you must give items rather than money, GIVIT is the vehicle to do so. They also collect donations, stating that 100% of this money will go towards purchasing essential items. It is a platform to source and distribute required items directly to those who need them. Jump on their website and see if there is anything you can contribute in your local area. Queensland NSW.

You can offer your home as free, temporary housing to those who need it. Airbnb’s Open Homes programme connects people with a free place to stay in times of need. This includes relief workers, neighbours who’ve had to evacuate and others impacted by the event.

You can also choose to donate blood or plasma via the Australian Red Cross.

Act now: Donate towards the following organisations:

7. Donate to environmental relief efforts

If you’ve seen the news reports of koalas emerging from the bushfires, you’ll know how badly our environment has been affected. Now is a great time to support the environmental organisations undertaking these relief efforts.

Act now: Donate towards the following organisations:

We haven’t seen the last of the bushfires and right now, there is an immediate need to support those who have lost their homes or more. If you are lucky enough not to have been adversely affected, please ensure that you take this opportunity to make a difference with your money.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

Money goals

Top 10 money goals for the new year

8 financial support sources available for those affected by the bushfires