After an emergency

Donating in emergencies

Various appeals may be organised after a disaster. Check the credentials of any organisation you donate to in order to avoid illegitimate collectors or scammers.

Donating money

The best way to help individuals and communities is to donate cash. This allows individuals and families to purchase what they need most. It also allows people to spend money in their communities and helps local businesses to recover.

You can donate to the State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF) for an event specific appeal. The SERF Committee is independent of government and is responsible for the fair distribution of 100% of the funds to those most in need.

Tax-deductible donations

All donations to the SERF are tax deductible.

If you donate to any other appeal or fund, check with that fund for tax deductibility.

Donating goods

While donating second-hand goods and clothing may seem generous, managing these goods can take time and resources away from the important work of helping those affected by disaster.

Also, donated goods do not often meet actual needs. Recovery organisers will appeal for specific items as needed.

Corporate donations

Corporate donations are coordinated by the State Recovery Office (SRO), part of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Companies are encouraged to donate cash where possible.

For corporate offers of goods and services, companies are invited to contact the SRO to discuss the details of their offer, the need for the goods or services in the affected community and delivery, storage and distribution.

Please register with the SRO if you wish to offer:

  • in-kind professional services: services commonly needed include provision of information or advice, counselling and support, engineering, project management, logistics, trades and transportation
  • use of a facility - eg a warehouse, storeroom, conference centre, gymnasium, car park or other facility
  • use of specialised equipment including appliances, instruments, implements, devices, machinery, software and tools - if ownership of the item is transferred, this is considered a donated good and if a skilled operator is supplied to operate the equipment, this is considered a donated service.

Related information

Other sites

How to help after an emergency factsheet and audio - Australian Red Cross


Recovery hotline 1800 302 787

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Page last updated 15 February 2017

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Department of Human Services
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