Australian donations at record high in 2020, report shows


Fundraising platform GoFundMe revealed that 1.3 million donations were made by Australians in 2020, a 30% increase compared to 2019.  

GoFundMe’s report revealed that the record-breaking fundraising efforts spread through close-knit communities during the Black Summer bushfires, COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. 

The report, 2020 Year in Giving also showed that everyday Australians stepped up in record numbers to support their local communities during times of need. On GoFundMe Australia this year. 

Unsurprisingly, the Black Summer bushfire recovery funds topped $31 million donated in January alone raised by 450,000 donors.  

Donations to Indigenous rights causes also tripled in 2020 (221%) compared to 2019. Over $6 million was raised to fund independent inquiries into Aboriginal deaths in custody, close the gap initiatives and support Indigenous communities impacted by bushfires.  

As for the pandemic, the response to COVID-19 varied across Australia from support to local small businesses, PPE for frontline workers, meals for international students, quarantine fees for stranded travellers returning home, financial hardship for families stood down from work and beyond.  

Local business survival was at the forefront of fundraising efforts. Australians backed small business owners and staff during COVID-19’s economic uncertainty. Over $2 million was raised to cover overhead expenses. Over half of donations were in support of Victorian businesses.  

Another noteworthy effort was Australians to strengthening ties to international neighbours with millions donated to the Beirut explosion, Typhoon Vamco’s devastation in the Philippines and Vietnam and the economic impact of COVID-19 on Indonesia’s tourism industry 

Nicola Britton, regional manager at GoFundMe Australia said the response of ordinary Australians “has been nothing short of remarkable.” 

“At the heart of the response is community. Community means something different for each and every Australia, we have seen community generosity in ways not witnessed before. Students backing their international friends, migrant communities rallying to help rebuild the place they call home, and locals helping keep their favourite businesses afloat,” Britton said.  

The trends seen on GoFundMe can often be an early warning sign of emerging societal issues, of a group of citizens falling through the cracks. This year saw more Australians turn to crowdfunding for needs that fall outside of traditional government or charitable support from stranded travellers covering quarantine fees to return home, to bushfire-impacted farmers in need of fencing and PPE for frontline medical professionals. 

The GoFundMe pages launched this year that received the most donations in Australia are: 

  1. Help save Kangaroo Islands Koalas and wildlife ($2.69 million) 
  2. CLOSED: Fire Relief Fund  First Nations Communities ($1.88 million)  
  3. Aussie Influencers for Australia ($580,132) 
  4. Australian Bushfire Appeal ($382,055) 
  5. Save Lentil As Anything ($373,985) 

The Year in Giving report comes as GoFundMe announces over US$10 billion raised globally over the past ten years.