We all see from the media the terrible wildfires in Australia.  Some Canadian donors or charities have wanted to assist with the relief and recovery efforts as well as research and prevention.  Here are a few thoughts specific to the wildfires in Australia.


PM Justin Trudeau encouraged people to donate to the Australian Red Cross. That is one option.  Now the Canadian Red Cross has an Australian Wildfire Fund.   If you are giving $5 and don’t really care about tax receipts then you can give to the Australian Red Cross.  If you are a corporation and are doing a sponsorship arrangement you can also get a deduction for advertising/sponsorship if the funds are provided to the Australian Red Cross or Canadian Red Cross and it will not make much difference.


If you are a Canadian donor who wishes to receive an official donation receipt then it is probably best to give to the Canadian Red Cross’s fund.  As well if you are thinking in terms of research, teaching etc you might want to consider if you are a Canadian donor or charity (assuming it is within your objects) making a gift to one of the following Australian universities that are qualified donees.


Date Received Qualified donee statusDate Received Qualified donee statusDate Received Qualified donee status
AdelaideAdelaide UniversityRegistered (2012-01-01)
CanberraAustralian National UniversityRegistered (2012-01-01)
CooranbongAvondale CollegeRegistered (2012-01-01)
VictoriaMonash UniversityRegistered (2012-01-01)
ParkvilleUniversity of Melbourne, TheRegistered (2012-01-01)
HobartUniversity of TasmaniaRegistered (2012-01-01)
BrisbaneQueensland University of TechnologyRegistered (2015-01-01)
CrawleyUniversity of Western Australia, TheRegistered (2015-01-01)
MaroochydoreUniversity of the Sunshine CoastRegistered (2018-01-26)

Here are some suggestions for donating to a Canadian charity in a disaster:

Select charities that are:
a) reputable (usually there is strong name recognition)
b) experienced in disaster relief operations
c) ideally have done past work in the disaster area
d) have people on the ground in the disaster area because often it is difficult to get people in.

Also you may want to consider organizations that perhaps have the capacity to move from relief to development work.

Generally, avoid telephone solicitations – good disaster relief organizations when dealing with disasters are generally too busy to be calling you – you either have to go to their website or call them to donate.

If you do receive a telephone solicitation or someone knocks on your door be very skeptical and suspicious and be aware of sound-alike organizations – best is to go to the internet, do your research and donate directly on their website or send the organization a cheque.  Best not to give cash to a door-to-door solicitor.

Avoid newly formed organizations set up to deal with the disaster – by the time they get going, months will have passed.

Donate funds, generally not goods.  Airlift of goods is very expensive, goods are often not appropriate or don’t get donated in appropriate quantities – not to mention that one wants to try to support the local economy by buying locally the goods instead of dumping our goods on a country which undermines business in that country.

Beware of social media – allow it to inspire you but do your research.  Because someone says on Twitter or Facebook that a charity is great does not make it so.

Beware of organizations that make deceptive or misleading marketing claims.  For example, you should be wary of an organization that claims to have no overhead or administration costs.

Is the organization listed as a registered charity on the CRA website?  Most organizations that are based in Canada and do disaster work will be registered charities, however, them being a registered charity almost guarantees nothing other than that they can issue an official donation receipt.


Cross border giving especially in disasters can be as simple as donating to a Canadian registered charity or it can be quite complicated.  Our firm has helped donors and charities with international work including disaster assistance.