Donating in emergencies

Donating money

The best way to help individuals and communities is to donate money. This allows people to buy exactly what they need. If they spend this money within their local community, it also helps local businesses to recover.

Various appeals may be organised after a disaster. Check the credentials of any organisation asking for donations to avoid illegitimate collectors or scammers. Also check whether donations are tax deductible.

State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF)

You can donate to the State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF) if it has been activated for a particular disaster. 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 to the SERF can be made in a number of ways.

  • electronic funds transfer
  • credit card
  • cheque.

Electronic funds transfer

State Emergency Relief Fund
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
BSB: 065 266
Account: 10020160
Description: donation (this needs to be stated)

Credit card

Visit the BPoint payment website for SERF at or call 1300 276 468 (1300 BPOINT) and enter biller code 1002359.


Send cheques to:

State Emergency Relief Fund
DHS Financial Compliance and Accounting Services
GPO Box 292
Adelaide SA 5001

Tax receipts

Email and ask for a receipt

Include your name, details of your bank and branch, and the amount donated.

Donating goods

While donating second-hand goods and clothing may seem generous, it takes time and resources away from the important work of helping those affected by disaster when charities and recovery workers have to administer, store, distribute and dispose of such donations.

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

Corporate donations

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

For corporate offers of goods and services, companies are invited to contact the State Recovery Office (email or call 8415 4302) 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 State Recovery Office 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 websites

How to help after an emergency factsheet - Australian Red Cross

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Page last updated 7 November 2019

Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
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