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You are here:   News > Christchurch quake
 Donating to quake recovery

If you are asked to donate to help a disaster recovery, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your donation gets to the people who need it. 

Remember -most collectors are honest and genuine and will be pleased to answer your questions. If you are in any doubt about the validity of the collector, don't give.

Our advice for donors

It’s best to give to large, well-known charities - we suggest that you give your donations to the larger, well-established and well-known charities, who are accustomed to dealing with crisis recoveries, and equipped to deal with them. Well established aid agencies have better networks, infrastructure, expertise and systems in place to respond quickly to disasters.

Registered charities can be found on the Charities Register or you can donate to one of the collections launched to help relief and welfare listed on the Stuff and New Zealand Herald websites.

  Door-knock collectors - don't be shy about asking to see identification, or asking them to call back after you have had an opportunity to phone the charity.

  Phone/telemarketing appeals, on-street collectors, and spam emails - many phone callers or on-street collectors asking for donations represent profit-making agencies who keep part of your donation for themselves or charge fees for their fundraising services. Find out if the person works for a telemarketing or fundraising company, or whether they are a volunteer or employee of the charity itself.  You may prefer to donate directly to the charity.

Phone collectors and spam emails may ask for your credit card number or bank account details. If you do prefer to make a donation over the phone, make sure the charity is well known.  Look up the charity's number, and call them back yourself, especially if they contacted you by phone or email. Don't reply or click on links sent to you in spam email. Some of these emails may contain a virus.

  Is the charity registered with the Charities Commission? - You can ask collectors for the charity’s registration number, and either check the number on our website or call 0508 CHARITIES (our staff can check the Register for you. The Call Centre is open 8.30am - 5pm workdays). If the organisation is not registered it may not really be a charity, even though it may be supporting a good cause. Or, it may be bogus.

Remember to ask how your donation will be used - the Charity Commission has powers of investigation where misconduct and wrongful use of charity money is suspected.

Our advice for charities

Depending on your charity's rules and size, you may or may not be able to run a disaster appeal.  

Even if it is within your charity's rules to run a disaster appeal, you should first think about whether you are best placed to organise and run an appeal, or whether other charities are in a better position to do so.

Please ensure your charity’s rules allow you to fundraise for the disaster before you launch an appeal. For example, if your purposes are to provide sports facilities for young people, it might not be appropriate to fundraise for a disaster.

It’s also worth thinking about the practicalities of providing support and aid to a disaster. If your charity does not have the capacity to provide the services required but wants to assist in raising funds, other options such as re-directing donors or volunteers to a charity who is better able to help, or raising funds on behalf of another charity might be better.

The Commission strongly advises careful consideration before starting a new charity in response to a disaster. Well established aid agencies have better networks, infrastructure, expertise and systems in place to respond quickly to disasters. We suggest that if you want to help, it's best to contact an established aid agency to volunteer your time and expertise instead.

(This advice is based on information developed by the UK Charity Commission).