South Australia is a strong community, and many of us want to help out when we see people suffering after a disaster. Here are some ways you can support those affected by disasters. Please remember the best way to help individuals and communities affected by a disaster is to donate money.

The best way to help individuals and communities affected by a disaster 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.

Check the credentials of any organisation asking for donations to avoid illegitimate collectors or scammers. Also check whether donations are tax deductible.

Wildlife Recovery Fund

In partnership with the Nature Foundation SA, National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia has launched the Wildlife Recovery Fund.

This fund will be used to re-establish habitat for wildlife, particularly threatened and vulnerable species, in bushfire-affected regions in South Australia.

Donate to the Wildlife Recovery Fund

Avoiding scams

During a major disaster there are usually a wide range of appeals raising funds for those affected by the event. Unfortunately, some of these are scams.

You can make a report on the Scamwatch website or find more about where to get help.

If you wish to make a donation, protect yourself with the following information:

  • Scammers pretend to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names, and impersonating people negatively impacted by the disaster.
  • Scammers use cold-calling, direct messaging and fake websites and pages on social media to raise funds.
  • Don't donate through fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.
  • Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.
  • If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is registered and that you are on its official website by searching the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
  • If you think you have paid money to a scammer, please contact your bank immediately.

Understanding your donation

When donating to a charity or fundraiser, it’s important to know exactly where your donation is going and what it will be used for. Make sure you check the details of the organisation and what they plan to do with the funds.

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 are coordinated by the Government of South Australia. Companies are encouraged to donate cash where possible.

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

Please contact us 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.

When there is a disaster, you may be interested in registering to lend a hand during recovery operations.

If you want to volunteer, visit the Volunteering SA&NT website to see what emergency volunteering opportunities are currently available. You may or may not be contacted to take part, depending on need.

What happens after you register?

Volunteering SA&NT will refer potential volunteers to emergency services organisations like the Country Fire Service (CFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) or humanitarian organisations like Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity or Samaritan's Purse.

If you don't hear back straight after you register, don't think you aren't needed. By far the biggest need for volunteers occurs in the weeks, months and years following a disaster.

What to expect when you volunteer

As a volunteer in post-disaster recovery operations, it is expected that you will:

  • support the work of the team
  • be flexible and reasonable in accommodating team requirements where possible
  • treat those in need, other volunteers and workers with respect and courtesy
  • be open, honest and fair in your volunteer role
  • take responsibility for your own health and safety and not put the health and safety of others at risk
  • participate in training, briefings or coaching necessary to your voluntary duties
  • take responsibility for staying informed
  • use information gained in the course of your volunteer work with sensitivity and discretion and observe confidentiality and privacy requirements
  • help to maintain a harmonious workplace and recognise the value of diversity.