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Caritas Australia Urges Government To Do More About Climate Change

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Eri from Kiribati aged 28 and father of three visited Australia recently to educate Australians about what is going on in his country. Following his visit to Australia, he attended the UN climate summit in Germany to make sure that he and his compatriots had their voices heard when it comes to determining the future of climate policy. Eri says the prospect of forced relocation as a result of climate change is very real and very grim.

Australia needs to play a far greater global role

He says that each year he and his wife talk about having to leave the country because sea levels are rising. However, the couple and their children feel that Kiribati is their home, it is the language they speak and the traditions and culture that that they honour which they don’t want to lose. Eri is Caritas Australia’s ambassador for climate change in the Pacific and is using is position to urge the Australian government to play a far greater role in the global shift to a clean energy future which would mean making a commitment to not opening any new coal mines.

Rising sea levels wreaking havoc

The Caritas State of the Environment for Oceania report which was recently released shows that havoc has been wreaked on people’s lives because of the rise in sea levels combined with food and water shortages as well as extreme weather events. Negaya Chorley of Caritas Australia says that climate change is entrenching poverty and inequality across the pacific. The aid agency of the Catholic church is urging the Australian government to follow the example set by many Pacific Island nations who have adopted some of the strongest renewable energy targets in the world.

Australia is totally unprepared for the future

Ms Chorley says that Australia is wholly unprepared for what is to come. She adds that tens of thousands of people are likely to be made homeless as a result of climate change and there is no comprehensive government policy in place that will adequately deal with climate change and tackle its consequences. Ms Chorley says that Australia needs to be far more proactive and strategic in its long-term planning when it comes to this issue.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Three Things We Should Know About Australian Generosity

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Every year the tax authorities delivers revealing insights into the generosity of Australians courtesy of a report titled Taxation Statistics which details every deduction made by individual tax payers claiming charitable donations. Whilst the report does not detail every contribution made towards a good cause it is an extremely rigorous study of the country’s altruism. Here are three takeaways from the latest ATO report.

1. Individuals don’t give away a very big share of income

According to analysis of the most recent tax data undertaken by Queensland University of Technology, during the 2014-15 financial year, tax-deductible donations made by individuals climbed to a record high of $3.1 billion. Whilst that is a lot of money, unfortunately the share of income that is being donated is falling. On average individual taxpayer donations made up just 0.4 per cent of their taxable income which is lower than what it was prior to the Global Financial Crisis.

 2. Charities depend heavily on the super rich

There is an elite group of taxpayers comprising just 6,600 people with annual incomes exceeding $1 million who made more than 20 per cent of all tax-deductible donations during 2014-15. This is obviously down to the fact that wealthier people have more discretion to give. Despite this fact, high income earners, i.e. those earning $180,000 or more per year are more sensitive to gyrations in the stock market and economic shocks than other income groups. So it comes as no surprise that tax-deductible charitable donations slumped in the aftermath of the financial crisis and has never really recovered.

3. Even so, the rich don’t necessarily donate the biggest share of their incomes

What is truly surprising is that middle and low-income neighbourhoods tend to outshine wealthier people when it comes to the proportion of income that people are donating. The NAB Charitable Giving Index shows that people who live in the suburbs and have modest incomes donate the biggest share of their income. The latest tax figures suggest that approximately 40 per cent of those earning over $1 million in taxable income claimed no tax deductions whatsoever during 2014-15. It is shocking to learn that people with that kind of income do not claim anything, particularly when they are the type of people who keep their receipts or have someone do it for them.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

JB Hi-Fi Helping Hands Workplace Giving Program Benefits The Company’s Bottom Line

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Richard Murray, CEO of JB Hi-Fi  isn’t talking about quarterly profits, instead he is discussing what he considers to be one his greatest achievements as leader of the retailer which has managed to deliver for its investors over the last 15 years despite huge shifts in the retail environment. Mr Murray prefers to talk about running one of the most engaged Workplace Giving programs in Australia which is known as “Helping Hands”. The program is so successful that nearly 80 per cent of JB employees donate to charity from every pay packet.

6000 employees participate

Every week over 6000 JB Hi-Fi employees including senior executives donate part of their pay to one of nine charity partners and those donations are matched dollar for dollar by the company. Mr Murray believes Helping Hands has made a meaningful difference to the company’s bottom line. He believes in the project so much that he has commissioned research to prove his thesis.

Credible business case for charitable giving

The Australian Charities Fund which is the brains, driver and thought leader when it comes to Workplace Giving (WPG) or pre-tax payroll giving in Australia is collaborating with JB Hi-Fi to prove there is a credible business case for promoting Workplace Giving. The non-profit is seeking to establish which metrics can be used to show the bottom-line benefits for employers to embrace the policy as a fundamental part of their overall community contribution.

Engaging employees

Mr Murray who is the chairperson of the Australian Charities Fund Employer Leadership Group says the business case for his company and other business leaders is that everyone is attempting to engage with their employees in authentic and meaningful ways. He adds that the millennial generation has high expectations of themselves, the community and their employers. Mr Murray says that because Workplace Giving is so transparent, it is a choice made by the individual that ticks a lot of boxes.

Employees prefer working for ethical companies

Jenny Geddes, chief executive of the Australian Charities Foundation says the first stage of the organisation’s research project found that Workplace Giving resulted in an employee base that is more engaged. The research also suggests that young Australians, millennials in particular prefer to work for ethical companies, or companies who seek to have a positive impact on the world.

Important to be proud of giving

Ms Geddes says now is really the right time for this because a younger group of leaders are beginning to establish themselves. She adds that philanthropy tends to be an extremely private thing and continues to do so. People really tend to shun any publicity associated with it, however when it is a giving program that includes all employees, it is important to be part of it and proud of the fact.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

British Rugby Player To Run More Than 1000 Miles Across Australia For Chairty

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A former player with the York rugby team is preparing to run more than one thousand miles across Australia in order to raise money for charity. Robbie Dolan has played for both rugby teams in York as well as for Huddersfield and Bedford where he currently plays. Mr Dolan has timed his charity run to coincide with this year’s Rugby World Cup and will run between Melbourne and Brisbane over a period of 42 days and cover a distance of 1,118 miles whilst carrying a rugby ball. Mr Dolan calls the charity challenge, “The Longest Try”.

Financial sponsorship has been difficult to obtain

Mr Dolan says he has attempted to obtain a financial sponsor but has been unable to do so, which means he will foot most of the bill for the endeavour. Some sponsors have been drip feeding his funds but thanks to many generous donations made, Mr Dolan has been able to train in the UK and is able to afford a motorhome that his girlfriend will drive in order to support him on his run.

Individuals have made generous donations

Mr Dolan says he is very grateful because to purchase a motorhome would have cost thousands of dollars and to rent it for the time necessary would not have been much cheaper. The donation has saved him a lot of cash and has made the trip financially possible. Mr Dolan says he has been partnering with a cartographer in New South Wales in order to work out which would be the best route for his journey and he is also trying to drum up interest in the Australian media.

Carrying a vintage rugby ball

Mr Dolan says he has picked out a vintage leather rugby ball that dates back to the 1950’s that he will carry whilst he is on his run as tribute to his grandfather. He will also be running in memory of his grandmother who passed away whilst he was in Australia in 2016 on a scouting trip. Mr Dolan said the main reason he got in to rugby league was because of his grandfather so he says it will be nice to hold a ball like the one he used to play with.

Raising money for both British and Australian charities

Mr Dolan will be raising money for The Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity which provides assistance to children with life-changing disease. He will also donate part of the proceeds of the run to The Children’s Tumour Foundation of Australia as well as the Miracle Babies Foundation.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Man Treks Thousands Of Kilometres Across The Desert To Raise Money For Caritas Australia

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How many people who walk thousands of kilometres across the African desert by themselves with nothing more than an iPod and football for company? Very few of us would every think about attempting such a feat. However, that is exactly what Matt Napier an adventurer from Canberra did to raise money for Caritas Australia.

Helping people who live in poverty

Mr Napier trekked thousands of kilometres to raise money to help people who are living in poverty. He walked for 1,900 kilometres across the Namib Desert and started the trek in Southern Namibia and finished his journey in Angola. Mr Napier said he had to deal with 250 metre sand dunes along the way as well as handle wildlife threats from animals such as lions. Isolation was another difficult Mr Napier had to deal with. Fortunately for him, his wife Wendy played a supporting role. Mrs Napier drove a backup vehicle, prepared meals and treated her husband’s blisters when they appeared.

More than $20,000 donated

Mr Napier is donating more than $20,000 raised by the walk to help support Caritas Australia’s Integrated Community Development program in Zimbabwe.  The program which lasts for three years will provide assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe by giving them access to clean water and sanitation as well as engender food security.

Giving back feels good

Mr Napier said that giving back makes him and his wife feel much better on the inside as individuals. He adds that he believes as individuals where we are born should not matter and everyone should be given all the basics in life. This means they should have access to food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. Mr Napier concludes by saying the trek was an opportunity for him to make a difference.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Young Aussies Should Avoid Volunteering At Overseas Orphanages

Syrian Refugees

Every year thousands of young Aussies journey overseas to donate their time to people in need. World Challenge a school-based volunteer travel company has said it has decided to end trips to orphanages in developing countries after research has revealed that the practice is actually harmful to vulnerable children. So, the question is if that is the case what are your options if you want to volunteer overseas?

Donating time ethically

There are ways to donate your time in an ethical manner. For a start if your efforts involve children, you should consider the impact you have. Leigh Matthews of ReThink Orphanages who conducted the research into volunteers at orphanages says you really need to be careful when it comes to children. She adds that it extremely difficult as volunteers to correctly evaluate the potential harm that you could cause as a result of your involvement. The short version is if you don’t have the qualifications, then don’t do the job.

Look beyond orphanage placements

Potential volunteers should look beyond orphanage placements. Ms Matthews says there are a wide variety of other opportunities for young people. She advises working with organisations that are involved in the education process. Volunteers can also participate in community development projects or environmental projects both of which are safer options than working with children. Alternatively, potential volunteers should asses the cost of the trip compared to making a donation.

Donate money

You should think about the total cost of being a volunteer overseas which includes flights, travel insurance and vaccinations and instead make a donation. Vanessa Brown of Red Cross Australia says it is a good idea to support charities that already work in communities. You should undertake research to learn which charities are involved in the type of work and locations you are passionate about. Ms Brown adds that some amazing work is being done around the world mobilised by local communities that are best placed to respond to local needs. This means your support for their growth is the best way to have a positive impact.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Fewer Australians Are Donating To Charity

Australian Charities Would Befit Hugely If People Left Bequests

Are you someone who donates their time to a charity? If you are someone who does this, then it should come as no surprise that you are probably more likely to donate money to charity as well. According to a report published by the Giving Australia 2016 project, whilst the total amount of money donated to charities in Australia has increased, the actual number of people making donations is falling. During the 2015-2016 financial year $12.5 billion was donated to charity by Australians which is up from the $10.1 billion donated during the 2005 financial year.

Some cause for concern

Nicholas Hookway of the University of Tasmania says the percentage of people donating has dropped from 87 per cent to about 80 per cent. According to Dr Hookway there are lots of good things happening in the charity sector however there are also some things that are cause for concern taking place.  He adds that people who donate their time to charities are also more likely to give donate money as well. It is estimated that approximately 43 per cent of Australians volunteer.

Australia now lower on World Giving Index

Dr Hookway says his research suggests that Australians like to think of themselves as being kind and agree that it is important to be kind to one another. He adds that the country has a reputation as being a kind and generous place. Despite these facts, the decline in the number of people giving money means that Australia’s ranking in the World Giving Index (WGI) has dropped. In 2016 Australia was ranked number 3 in the WGI. However according to the latest report, its position has fallen to number 6. The report highlighted the fact that giving had decreased all over the world last year.

Australian charity sector is huge

Despite the fall in the number of people who are donating to charities, the charity sector in Australia continues to be a big business Dr Hookway says. There are more than 50,000 registered charities in the country and the sector is valued at over $154 billion in total income. That figure means it is larger than the electricity, gas and water sectors.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Project Compassion Raises $11 Million For Caritas Australia This Year

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Caritas Australia was able to marshal thousands of supporters ranging from generous individuals, school children and parishes throughout Australia. All the supporters expressed their solidarity with the poor of the world by donating a whopping $11 million to Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion Lenten campaign.

Annual fundraising exercise

The campaign takes place every year over the six weeks of Lent. Project Compassion aims to help put an end to poverty as well as promote justice and uphold dignity. This year’s theme was “Love your Neighbour” Over the years Project Compassion has been very successful and is now one of Australia’s largest fundraising and awareness campaigns. Paul O’Callaghan, Caritas Australia CEO said that he was overwhelmed by the extremely generous response to this year’s appeal which was delivered by supporters from every Australian state and territory.

Demonstrating faith and generosity

Mr O’Callaghan said that Project Compassion continues to demonstrate the faith and generosity of its supporters and has allowed Caritas Australia to deliver assistance to millions of people, enabling them to change their lives. The money that has been raised this year will ensure that Caritas will continue to be able to work with the most marginalised people in more than 29 countries around the world including Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific and with Australia’s First People’s.

Alleviating poverty

Throughout this year’s appeal, Project Compassion reiterated its theme of “Love your Neighbour.” In the spirit of that theme, Caritas Australia sought to emphasise the impact of working hand in hand with the most vulnerable communities in the world so that it can continue with its ambition of alleviating poverty.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Caritas Australia Supports Women For The World Events

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Women from across Australia are joining hands as part of a global sisterhood that is seeking to raise funding and awareness for women living in poverty all over the world. In September Caritas will be supporting Australia’s Women for the World fundraiser. The fundraiser will bring together thousands of women from across the country who will host their own Women for the World events. The events will range from just a plain morning tea, to an elaborate dinner party or perhaps a movie night.

Caritas Australia works globally

Caritas Australia is part of one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks and the agency is present in over 29 countries working at the community level. Caritas Australia also works with the First Australian communities so that their girls and women can also participate. The funds that will be raised by Women of the World events will go towards financing Caritas Australia’s work in the countries it operates in across Asia, Africa, Latin America and of course with First Australians.

Women suffer disproportionately

Michelle Fernon who is one of the founders of Women for the World and is a long-time advocate for Caritas Australia thinks now is the time to take action given the fact that it is women who disproportionately bear the brunt of extreme poverty globally. Ms Fernon says that women play an important role in society’s fabric however, 55 per cent of word’s poor are women. Many women have to put up with systemic discrimination that deprives them of education, access to healthcare or employment. Ms Fernon adds despite the gloomy picture, we can do something about it.

Bringing together people

Ms Fernon says that Women for the World events are about bringing together people who feel very strongly about social justice, especially when it relates to women. She goes on to say that hosting a fundraiser is a fantastic way to have a good time with friends and family whilst also making a huge difference to women’s lives all over the world. When hosting a Women for the World even, the most important thing is that people have fun, so she advises people to choose something they like to do and include friends, family and colleagues.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Leading Australian Humanitarian Aid Agencies May Form Coalition

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has backed a plan to better enable Australians to help people in need by combining various Australian charity groups into a one stop donation shop. Apparently plans are being made to follow other developed countries such as the United States to simplify the donation process for charities and aid groups. The plan is to get the various groups to act as a single entity by establishing a joint appeal mechanism for humanitarian responses.

Simple idea

The idea is very simple, by pooling resources and funding, charities and aid agencies will be better equipped to fight drought, famine and disease. If the plan works then a coalition of charities and aid agencies would also raise the profile of the disaster, collect more in donations and keep overhead costs down. Supporters of the idea say they think it would result in more money, food, clean water and medicines to reach the people that need it the most.

Australian government supports the idea

The Foreign Minister made a statement saying that the Turnbull Government supports the idea, but how exactly the various charities and agencies collaborate is a matter for them to decide. Aid groups immediately welcomed the response. Just last month a Global Emergency Response Coalition was created by eight major humanitarian aid agencies based in the United States. Similar coalitions have been established in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

A single point of contact for donors

In practice, what the plan would mean is that single portal would be created as well as single phone line and website to manage solicitations for donations to a response to a humanitarian disaster. There would of course be governing mechanisms for groups who participate, and accountancy firms would be brought in with the funding to be distributed according to a fixed percentage. Participating organisations would have a say in how the money is to spent based on their ability to use the cash collected efficiently on the ground.

Not all plain sailing

Whilst the plan does simplify the process of donations, smaller agencies could wind up with the short end of the stick because they may see their brand diluted. Alternatively, there could be competition problems if major agencies decide against participating and not all agencies are likely to trust each other. Over the short run the public may find themselves unaware of the coalition and this could result in a drop in donations. Whilst the proposal has gotten close in the past, it has failed at board level with several agencies, hopefully with the backing of the Government this time it may cross the finish line.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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