Devastating scenes are unfolding from the Ukraine and Australia’s record-breaking floods. Here’s how fundraising is stepping up to the challenge.

In the short space of two weeks, our world has changed beyond measure. A warning from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) on 23 February foretold record-breaking rain and flooding that has, so far, claimed 17 lives and damaged or destroyed over 22,000 homes. The very next day, Russia launched a full-scale assault on neighbouring Ukraine.

To date, almost 800 civilian lives have been lost in the country, including scores of children, although the actual toll is thought to be considerably higher. Any kind of accurate number relating to deaths amongst the military has been hard to come by, with Russia claiming 2870 Ukrainian troops have been killed and the Ukraine reporting 9,000 Russian soldiers have died fighting – with both sides disputing each other’s claims. Whatever the numbers, this a humanitarian crisis of scale that Europe has not witnessed since the Second World War.

It is a sobering reminder that peace and daily routine can exist on a knife edge. Crises can escalate at break-neck speed. Fortunately, there are nonprofits in our midst who are primed to respond to emergencies as they unfold.

Here we provide a summary of the fundraising response to date.

Ukraine humanitarian response

Humanitarian nonprofit collective, the Emergency Action Alliance (EAA), is currently driving donors to the appeal pages of nine member organisations responding to the crisis.

Women’s rights organisation, ActionAid, is on the ground working with local partners in Poland, Hungary and Romania to provide emergency relief, dignity kits, trauma counselling and safe spaces to prevent gender-based violence. The charity is clear about how donations will be spent, stating: “As per ActionAid Australia’s emergency fundraising standards, 90% of funds raised from this appeal will go to emergency response and 10% to fundraising and administration.

“In the event that funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer term needs of the people impacted, ActionAid Australia will direct donations to our Arise Fund, which supports disaster preparedness, response and recovery for current and future emergencies.”

Act for Peace, whose purpose is “to create, together, a world where people uprooted by conflict and disaster have a safe place to belong” are supporting ACT Alliance partners in neighbouring Hungary who have already sent aid trucks with 28 tons of canned food, flour, sugar, oil, rice, pasta, biscuits, long-life milk, tea and hygiene products. This aid will be distributed at Beregszász and Uzhhorod reception centres in Eastern Ukraine. But much more help will be needed for those forcibly displaced from their homes, and so the fundraising continues.

Helping Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania to respond to the needs of incoming refugees and providing urgently-needed water, food, shelter, blankets and clothing within the Ukraine, ADRA is asking the Australian community to donate to its disaster relief fund.

Australia for UNHCR is raising funds to support aid workers on the ground delivering urgent protection and aid to refugees. With the humanitarian need escalating every day, UNHCR is working with its partners to establish and operate reception centres, provide cash assistance, and distribute core relief items such as shelter materials and blankets to those forced to flee.

With 38 partners in 17 countries, Baptist World Aid Australia is currently helping Christian partner organisations in Eastern Europe to support the influx of people seeking safety. Funds raised through their emergency appeal will help provide shelters, food, hygiene items, medicine, generators, blankets, pillows and essential items for displaced people. “We are also positioned with other Christian Partners at home to advocate for a stronger Australian government response to support refugees displaced from their homeland,” the donation page states.

Like ActionAid, CARE Australia focus on supporting women. Donations to CARE will support their partner, People in Need, to distribute food, water, hygiene kits, sleeping bags and money for supplies to displaced families in the Ukraine. They are also working with other partners to support those who have fled the conflict and made it to neighbouring countries.

Caritas Australia are operating within their partner-based ‘Accompaniment Model’ supporting Caritas Ukraine and its local partners to provide displaced families with emergency food, water, shelter and psychological support. Dollar handles on their donation page suggest that ‘$65 can provide two basic hygiene kits for a family’, ‘$155 can provide a social worker for one week to support displaced families’, ‘$375 can provide a doctor to provide medical care to support displaced families for one week’, and ‘$1000 can provide two days of emergency food and water provisions at a collection centre for displaced families’.

Working to reduce childhood poverty across the globe, ChildFund Australia is supporting German sister organisation, ChildFund Deutschland, who has worked in Ukraine for many years and is acting quickly to provide emergency aid to children and their families. Donations will help deliver relief and keep children safe as the crisis unfolds.

The last responding organisation under the EAA’s umbrella is Save the Children, who are no strangers to the many years of conflict suffered by the Ukraine’s children. They are asking for donations to help give urgent support to families in evacuation sites, distribute emergency items such as blankets, medicine and hygiene kits, and work in neighbouring countries including Poland, Romania and Lithuania to support families fleeing the Ukraine. Dollar handles include $55 which ‘can help to set up a child friendly space, giving children a safe place in the aftermath of disaster’, $96 which ‘can help provide three families with a basic set of hygiene items for a month’, $140 which can ‘can provide a displaced family with food for a whole month’, and $416 which ‘can support a displaced family to cover emergency needs including shelter’.

Outside of the EAA, the Australian Red Cross have launched their Ukraine Crisis Appeal, Unicef Australia’s appeal aims to support the 7.5 million children caught up in the crisis, and several other nonprofits are appealing for donations.

Donating isn’t the only way to help – this Global Citizen article asks concerned people across the globe to stay informed, support local Ukrainian media and take action by joining peace protests and calling on MPs to offer refugee support. Large-scale corporate support includes airbnb’s goal to provide housing for 100,000 refugees and the shipment of humanitarian supplies by

The Australian government has committed immediate humanitarian assistance of an initial $35 million to help meet the urgent needs of the Ukrainian people, joining its allies in a monetary response alongside the provision of arms to Ukrainian military and imposing sanctions on Russia. But as the world watches on anxiously, and the plight of Ukrainian citizens worsens every day, it remains to be seen if this international response is enough.

Queensland and New South Wales floods

Back home in Australia, $434.7 million of funding from the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments will be provided to help communities clean up and remove damage and debris caused by devastating rainfall in February and March. On 6 March, QLD Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, asked Queenslanders to dig deep and donate to flood-affected families, announcing the state government will kickstart a Queensland flood appeal with $2.1 million.

The flood response involves an amalgamation of monetary, material aid and volunteer support and several charities are at the forefront of coordinating this mammoth effort.

Delivering support in both QLD and NSW, the Salvation Army has released $1 million from its Red Shield Appeal and hopes to raise $10 million in its emergency appeal. Funds will be used to provide immediate support (hot meals for emergency workers and emotional care for those struggling to cope), medium-term assistance (such as recovery cash grants and clothing and furniture vouchers), and long-term help (counselling for survivors). Similar to other nonprofits responding to large-scale emergencies, the charity has been careful to give itself room to move within its fundraising: “In the unlikely event that funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the emergency needs of people in affected areas of QLD and NSW, we will ensure the excess funds are used for broader Salvation Army emergency and disaster responses.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society has separated its response out, with NSW and QLD each having their own appeal.

Not only is the Australian Red Cross fundraising for the Ukraine, it is also running an emergency appeal for flood victims, its updates page sharing that almost 500 emergency response team members and volunteers are on the ground assisting at evacuation centres and with the organisation’s Register.Find.Reunite service.

The Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) is raising funds to support flood-affected remote, rural and regional communities, mindful that the latest devastation follows severe drought, bushfires, and COVID-19 restrictions.

Foodbank are raising funds to provide emergency food hampers to thousands of families in NSW and QLD.

And, of course, the states’ own emergency services are under intense pressure, with the NSW and QLD State Emergency Services (SES) both seeking monetary support.

Material aid

With close to 20,000 homes flooded in QLD, more than 2000 homes and businesses in northern NSW rendered uninhabitable by the damage, and over 67,000 insurance claims lodged in the seven days preceding 4 March, it is no exaggeration to say that many people have lost everything bar the clothes on their backs.

Queensland-based charity, GIVIT, are leading the material response, stating on their website that 42,277 items are currently needed, from a generator in East Lismore to a tumble dryer in South Brisbane and everything in between.

Baby Give Back have reached more than $60,000 of their $70,000 appeal goal, with funds committed to topping up the influx of donated baby and children’s items needed by the charity.

Community heroes

Perhaps it is the response from within QLD and NSW’s flood-affected communities themselves that is most awe-inspiring, with stories of heroes in tinnies rescuing the elderly, sick and a women in labour, distressed families rescued from rooftops by brave locals on jet skis and highly organised residents channelling social media to coordinate calls for help.

The community response has included dozens of GoFundMe pages, featuring verified fundraisers for families and businesses impacted by the floods.

The need is great and growing

More wild weather is on its way. On 7 March the BOM had issued a renewed severe weather warning for flooding extending from Coffs Harbour down to Merimbula (including the ACT) and west out to Coonabarabran. What follows will be a NSW and QLD clean-up operation that could last for years.

Looking further afield, the United Nations estimates that up to four million people may be forced to leave the Ukraine, and with one million fleeing in just one week, it is set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century. Caritas estimates that 12 million people within the Ukraine will need humanitarian assistance as the country sustains extensive damage to infrastructure, experiences disruption to critical medical services, and struggles to provide food, clean water, medicine, basic hygiene items and shelter.

The humanitarian crises that have unfolded over the past fortnight are devastating, and the scale of need amongst millions of people, both overseas and here in Australia, is overwhelming. So let’s find hope in the nonprofits racing to meet that need, and the caring global citizens ready to support them.


To read more about the Emergency Action Alliance, and how it harnesses the power of collaboration to raise more funds for humanitarian crises, click here.

To look back at our article about the fundraising response to the Afghanistan crisis, click here.

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