Gumtree for givers

PEOPLE are more willing to donate if they know where their funds are going, says the WA head of “middle man” charity Givit.

Sarah Visser, who started in the role in January this year as Givit looks to expand west, said the recent response to bushfires in the eastern states showed the spirit of giving was alive and well in Australia.

But there was criticism over the roll-out of donations, while comedian Celeste Barber was left with a headache when the rules of her wildly successful $50 million fundraiser made it almost impossible to share the money between charities.

Ms Visser said this was where Givit’s unique online platform comes to the fore and it experienced rapid growth during the bushfire crisis. Funded partly by the federal government, it’s now been adopted by the NSW, Victorian, ACT and Queensland governments.

• Givit’s Sarah Visser (left) with Weststar Football Academy star Sam, who was keen to donate some footy shoes so underprivileged kids can get out and participate.

With over 3000 charities and service providers registered nationwide, including 350 in WA alone, Givit has been described as a Gumtree-esque network that allows the organisations to request funds and items, ranging from football boots to kitchen appliances. 

Ms Visser says support services and social workers submit requests for items or cash, which can then be seen by potential donors on the Givit website.

Alternatively, donors can submit an item for donation, along with photos to ensure legitimacy and condition, and be contacted when a suitable recipient is found. 

“It is a unique and effective way to get donations right where they are needed,” Ms Visser said.

The flipside to the generosity shown during the bushfires is that local charities are now feeling the pinch: Givit’s Back to School fundraiser has struggled to attract donors and Ms Visser says people would be shocked if they knew the extent of poverty in WA. 

“There are literally families with kids sleeping on the floor.”

Recently the organisation has donated goods to Hilton’s PCYC.

For more info head to givit.org.au

by KIRBY SHEPHERDSON  and ALEX BUCKLAND

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