The Meeting Place

Where is the money that is donated to bushfires going?

I've heard a rumour that the Red Cross take 20 per cent for administration costs. Does anyone know anything about this?

Also Celeste Barber's $30 million donation will be going to the RFS which is the NSW Rural Fire Service. Apparently the donations are held in trust for the RFS only.



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Maybe all charities normally take a cut, but I think 20% is a bit rich.


Some charities keep 40% of donations for their administration. 

Facebook and PayPal Giving Fund Australia have vowed to “expedite the process” of releasing money donated through Celeste Barber’s record-smashing bushfire fundraiser.

The actress and comedian launched the appeal on Facebook last Friday, urging people to “please help any way you can” and support The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund.

It is understood the hold up is caused by a legal roadblock, with experts telling The Australian the Brigad­es Donations Fund, the RFS’ trust which manages donations, bars cash to be spent on any other causes apart from training, resources and fire equipment for the organisation.

That means the donations can’t be spent on the firefighters themselves or be sent to volunteer firefighting groups in other states..................





I think 20% is really low. Without naming names, the actuals that get to the cause of needy in charities is more like < 10%. The other 90% goes on overheads, and to be brutally honest, these charity CEO's live life pretty high on the hog. Even their lobbyists wine and dine in the finest establishments on the company account. 

Remember, Love Hurts (TV Series 1992–1994) - IMDb with with Adam Faith and Zoë Wanamaker? I think that is much closer to the truth, from my research there are few that are transparent or open about this. Some major names in Australia are absolute shockers.

As an example, I did the public tour of The Garvan Institute of Medical Research recently, and you really should take a look at how their "foundation" offices are setup to see where the money you donate really goes. You can also request a copy of any charities annual report before donating to know how your money will actually be used.


Having thought about it, I agree 20% is pretty low Stewie when you think of all the paperwork needed to get the money to the right people, it just sounds bad and maybe turns people off giving.  We obviously need a federal donation website set up for national disasters where a check can be made on all monies spent.  Like it's going to happen, as if.

I read years ago that the head of the Red Cross gets a salary of $500.000 a year, makes you wonder what it is now. So many different organisations running donation appeals, I am bombarded with emails every day, wouldn't it be better to all go into one big pot to be dished out from there?.


All Churches and Charities should pay Tax.

Darn right they should SUZE -- it would take the world from poverty -- they are absolute rorts! 


So, now we are taking a rumour as fact and, using that rumour, are tearing into a charity. Red Cross has made this statement, inter alia, on its website; "We commit that all funds donated to Disaster Relief and Recovery from July 2019 will be used only for our emergencies work in Australia. " So, do we believe a rumour or do we believe a public statement that can come back and be used against Red Cross if it is incorrect.

Celeste Barber's action are deserving of at least an OAM but her efforts show a naiveté in that she wasn't aware of the conditions of the use of donations to the RFS. I understand she is in negotiations with the RFS to try and get the funds to victims of the fires which was probably her intention from the outset. I congratulate her for her initiative and hard work.


Yes, that statement also says that only 10c in the $1.00 of donations goes to support costs.

But by their audited and ASIC reported annual report, 2% of  Australian expenditure goes to marketing, 3% goes to appeals fundraising, 6% goes on commercial operations, 7% goes on retail operations, 9% goes on fundraising, 9% goes to International programs, although the sub heading is Australian Operations, and 12% goes on administration. Been a while since I went to school, but that does suggest that 90% of 52% donated goes to emergencies work. So for every $1.00, 46c goes into the appeal fund.

 "We commit that all funds donated to Disaster Relief and Recovery from July 2019 will be used only for our emergencies work in Australia."

But note it does NOT commit the funds to the fire zones or the people affected by them. In fact the donated amount could well be spend on some other 'emergency' entirely.

I pointed this out some time ago when I said that people need to be aware that their donation may well not be spend on the people for whom the donation was made, particularly when it is made to an organisation. I also said this was not a reason to withold donations, just be aware of where it will go.

Most people think that their cash donation will make its way in cash to those needing it. It won't!

Well mine went where it was meant to!  I put my donation directly into the Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter's BSB and Acc.No.  - for their tireless and ongoing 24/7 work for our native wildlife  - especially the Koala's!

Happy where mine ended up!    :)

Good on you Foxy, I donated to Wildlife Victoria, the wildlife rescuers are doing an amazing job and many are using their own money to do it. I hope more money from all these charities go to helping animals as well, they cannot fend for themselves when their habitats have been destroyed.

Good on you too musicveg!  :)

 Well least people will get a lot of help - animals can't "buy" food - don't have "insurance"  and can't "care" for their own injuries -  bless them!  That's where my money always goes as it's heartbreaking to see what happens to the animals!

Anyone with a spare $2 upwards (all helps) - here's the info:

Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter

BSB. 062 649   Acc. No. 101 261 46

Least it goes into the Shelters own bank acct.    :)))))



I agree with you, putting it in direct to their bank is a much better option, I am sure they will be spending it wisely, I would suspect that the wildlife shelter staff do not get paid. Though I do prefer to donate via websites which I did with Wildlife Victoria.

Foxy you haven't said which bank?.


Misty, it is the Commonwealth Bank  -- google the BSB and it tells you,  see below

However, you can make a deposit at any bank as they will go be the BSB and the account number -- or you can do it on line.


Commonwealth Bank Merimbula branch BSB 06 2649. How to reach us. open hours icon. We're open till 5:00 pm today. Find out what our public holiday trading hours are or simply download our app to ...



Thanks PB!  :)  Yes - online banking shows the actual bank the minute you type in the BSB #  ....... I can't remember the last time I actually went into a branch - thank heavens! lol  ........miserable places!  


Thanks for that info PlanB

The NSW Member for Bega Andrew Constance slams Red Cross, Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul for bushfire relief delays.

• The Australian Red Cross has received $95 million to date and today announced they have allocated $30 million to victims.
• A spokesperson said the organisation has paid out 559 grants but has 1,492 open applications.
• St Vincent De Paul has raised $12.5 million and spent close to $1.1 million through financial packages for eligible households.

"The money is needed now, not sitting in a Red Cross bank account earning interest so they can map out their next three years and do their marketing," Mr Constance said.

Red Cross director of Australian services Noel Clement said there was an absolute commitment to getting money in victim's pockets. "We must manage the money so we aren't scammed … we want to make sure we are protecting donor's funds," he said.

Yeah right Noel Clement ... what about the needy recipients????

Full ABC story.

Was afraid, this might happen.

Although they are charity organisations they need at least onevery  large office, all funds in and out have to be recorded and be audited. I don't know if they have to pay GST or not. They are probably allowed to claim GST they pay - more involved accounting. Those records also have to be audited. Each charity has at least one phone in each state which is essential. Unfortunately those essentials would not be free. They would also need various types of insurance

The charites are probably verifying information supplied by people before releasing support payments. There has already been false claims made. I believe one person already has court proceedings which may or may not have been before the court yet.


Most of the appeals are national. Every state has been involved in busfires.


If I intend to donate I ring up and enquire the basis for distributed monies. On several occasions I found that money will only be going to those who were NOT insured. Who would live in a fire prone area without insurance.??

Whilst I admit that these people need support, the people who lost assets that were not covered by their insurance should have first priority because they at least tried to be responsible. !!

Well that is the $26B question Fready, by the same token I could not afford health insurance so dropped it. Now I am older and need more care than the public system can provide I am not covered. These people would be in a similar situation, and need out support for essentials.


"The Australian Red Cross has received $95 million to date and today announced they have allocated $30 million to victims.

A spokesperson said the organisation has paid out 559 grants but has 1,492 open applications."






... great info. Suze - thanks  :)

Didn't the "Big 4" Banks all make donations also?

How much did that comedienne women on Facebook get in the end for people???  Millions wasn't it?   Plus all the Relief Concerts - and Hollywood and Pop stars that donated?  Millionaires that donated etc?

That list is the tip of the iceberg surely? 




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